28 August 2015


 We live in a time of fake, media created "heroes".  People that do the everyday human things are often pushed forward as "heroes" by a news media, desperate to create a story.  And the real heroes are ignored.

Not much different than the "talents" that are pushed over the television on X-Factor, Australia's Got Talent, The Voice, and other television fluff.  Delta Goodrem, so talent-less that she can't even get a crowd in a shopping mall to watch her lip-sync, is "judging" other Australian singers?  

You can't make this shit up.

So in Cairns today, we salute a REAL HERO.  Ms. Charm

Quayle, a Kiwi migrant to Australia, is a very talented folk singer - and we don't need Delta to tell us that.  

But Quayle is now a hero to the Queensland motoring public for taking actions to right a wrong.  While traveling down Aeroglen Drive, she (too late) saw a member of the Queensland Police "Service" hiding behind a tree using their toll collection device on Cairns motorists.  A toll collection device also known as "speed radar".

She returned to the location and parked her car in a position that apparently made this police revenue raising operation more difficult.

She wasn't parked illegally, however.  

Nevertheless, the mental defective constable that was operating this speed camera (isn't his mother proud he's a copper??) called in another crew of revenue-raisers to tell Quayle to move her LEGALLY PARKED car.  And when she refused, they arrested her!  "Obstructing Police", they call it.

We call it police abuse.   

If there was a human rights lawyer worth his salt in Cairns, they'd grab this case and help this poor woman.  About as likely as pigs flying, knowing the level of legal talent in this town.

Local QPS apologist Senior Constable Russell Parker said: "There is nothing to be gained by abusing police on the side of the road. . ."  Nothing to be gained?  It's called FREE SPEECH, Bozo.  Despite the lack of an Australian Bill of Rights, free speech and freedom of expression are actually supposed to be concepts that are recognized for Australians.  I guess Quayle thought that the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (NZBORA) would be applicable here.

Opposition to the abusive use of speed cameras and the  blatant revenue-raising campaign by the Palaszczuk Government is growing.  Cairns has had a Facebook page SPEED CAMERAS CAIRNS that calls out the hiding locations of these grubs.  Most communities in Queensland now have similar information available.  

Quayle articulates clearly the issues that surround the abuse being inflicted on the motorists by this $300M-per-year rort.  Little enforcement of the rampant drink and drug driving while coppers are diverted to this revenue-raising.  The vast majority of these fines note being used for a new teenage driving school requirement, and refreshers for the rest of us.  Most importantly, Quayle points out the Police massive loss of respect by the public and taxpayers towards the police.  

That's why Quayle was mad.  She said what we all know and say PRIVATELY.  It's sad only that a Kiwi had the cajones to do what we ALL should be doing.  Fighting back.  If everyone asked for a trial on these bullshit hiding-behind-a-bush tickets, the courts would grind to a halt.  

Civil Disobedience is good.  The QPS using a vague law to bully Ms. Quayle is abhorrent.  

And don't give us any bullshit about "following the speed limits".  In the 12km between the city and Palm Cove, the speed limit changes 37 TIMES!  This a similar situation all across the region.  This is a consequence of roads that are poorly designed and speed limits are used to avoid infrastructure improvements.  The "bandaid" applied by Michael Trout and Gavin King to build huge kerbs at the Cook Hwy roundabouts flipped a B-Double yesterday.  The usual reaction of the police?  Let's lower the speed limit some more!  

Kudos to our Hero of the Day!  Charm Quayle.

24 August 2015


Local Cairns nightclubs are fighting against further restrictions on their ability to sell their legal drug to the public for more hours of the night.  Their tissue of lies in opposition are built on the reports of a statistically-insignificant decline in CBD assaults.

John "Cueball" MacKenzie was previously on one side of this issue - his shrill attacks on the previous Labor government revolved around the "crime-ridden CBD".  He did shows that discussed the damage done by drunken king-hits - interviewing doctors, police, and others on the front line.  After the Campbell Newman government began their smoke-and-mirrors crimefighting pogrom, MacKenzie has now changed position and is supporting LONGER liquor sale hours in the Cairns CBD - all on the mantra of tourism.  The reality is that little has changed with the liquor-driven assaults essentially unchanged.

Anyone think cruise ship passengers will be happy about CBD filled with MORE inebriated and violent backpackers? 

The reality is that we Aussies have a problem.  We drink to damn much.  From the proliferation of "happy hours" to the need to self-medicate at every conceivable event, liquor overconsumption is the Aussie way of life.  We teach it to our kids - stop by any liquor store on Friday afternoon and watch the mums and dads bringing their prepubescent kids into the bottle-o.

And apparently, our biggest social faux pas is failing to bring enough cold beers to a social function.    

Nothing served to illustrate this better than the Variety Club's 
Roadshow charity event.  These well-meaning drivers, out raising money for disadvantaged children, blew through the Daintree last Friday on their way back to Cairns and points south.  Tourists to the Daintree were treated to a small parade of noisy cars and inebriated revelers, who emerged from their vehicles at the Daintree Ferry - passengers and drivers alike holding opened stubbies.  

One tourist overheard suggesting to Daintree Ferry personnel that this was perhaps worth a call to the coppers was told "they're just having fun".

Attitudes on Aussie self-medication are broken everywhere.  

Now we're supposed to get all excited about "ice" - methyl amphetamines.  Indeed the Cairns Police reported that their testing of drivers in Cairns is finding 1 in 4 testing positive for illegal drugs!  25% of the drivers around you in giant metal killing machines have ILLEGAL drugs impairing their driving.

And our leaders are fighting for MORE medication time with our legal drugs?  Are we mad?  Does government not see the connection?

Real leaders would overhaul all of the laws related to liquor and drugs.  Why are high-range and repeat offenders given little in the way of punishment, only to get behind the wheel hammered, again and again?  Why is there virtually no resources to detox and retrain drug users and alcoholics?

Hospital Chairman (UnSir) Bob Norman goes on a rant about the elderly clogging up his hospital beds, who should be in longterm care facilities.  What about all the drug and drink-addled people in his hospital beds, and especially resident in his mental health facility.  Lots more of these freeloading mislocated patients,  but you don't see anyone trying to get a "please explain" on this costly misuse of hospital facilities.

Some say it can't be changed.  That's what they said about the use of tobacco.  But concerted efforts involving education and targeted government action has dropped the smoking rate over 50%, with teenage smokers now at the lowest rate ever - about 8%.  

Alcohol as a drug is even more dangerous to the community.

Local "leaders" argue that Cairns should not have the same regulations as being proposed for Brisbane.  They're correct.

With the drink and drugged driving rate in Cairns the WORST in Queensland, we should be closing up these nightclubs at midnight.

That would be a good start.

Today's headline in the Cairns Post says it all.  It's the most valuable thing we own.

10 August 2015


Mayor Bob "Sleepy" Manning booked some time on the 4CA vomitorium this morning in order to spruik his candidacy for a second term as the Cairns (non)Regional Council Mayor.

During his rambling, mostly incoherent statement, he stunned many listeners with the admission that in order to present a fa├žade of unity, he's organised and chaired illegal, non-public meetings of the council in order to reach a consensus - in essence debating issues outside the scrutiny of the public. 

The ratepayers.

Two solicitors have contacted the HBW independently since this shocking announcement, both offering the legal opinion that this is a straight-up violation of the Queensland Local Government Act (2009) and the requirements for Council meetings to be open.



Politicians.  They wonder why we hate them all.

With the federal parliament getting pilloried over the entitlement scandal, we're now seeing signs that the Federal LNP led by Minister for Bloggers Warren Entsch is embarking on even more stupid solutions.

Concerned by some reports of Vegemite being used to make a cheap alcoholic "beverage" in the Queensland and NT communities where alcohol has been banned by other idiot politicians, they've now had THIS brilliant idea - BANNING VEGEMITE.

Apparently unaware that alcohol can be produced from most anything containing sugar, our elected blockheads will quickly move to remove breakfast cereal, fruit, beets, and everything else deemed "hazardous".

Far North Queensland is the recipient of all the quick, easy, and CHEAP solutions from our politicians.

Traffic a problem in Brisbane? Spend Billion$ on tunnels.  Need to shore up an electorate for the next election?  Throw million$ at a new stadium for Redcliffe.  Townsville, who got a lazy $90M from the Campbell Newman crowd to improve and upgrade their port, are now getting tens of million$ MORE for an expansion.

Perennial MacKenzie favourite Ipswich has lined up funding for the Ipswich Motorsport Precinct, the $90M Ipswich Performing Arts Centre, an all-new bridge over the Bremer River, and a huge upgrade to the Ipswich Motorway, among others.  BILLION$ in money splashed out in this southeast corner bedroom suburb of Brissy, with a population almost identical to the Cairns area.

Notable is that Ipswich, like the previous Cairns Council, discovered that a PROPER new theatre is over $90M, not the shitbox Mayor Bob "Sleepy" Manning has jammed down our throats.  The few experienced people who have reviewed the plans for the Civic Theatre replacement note that the backstage and support areas are still not large enough to support a theater of this kind.  

Bob Manning, a longtime government hack, knows full well that he'll be unable to get any of OUR MONEY for a proper theatre.  So we get crap because he's too lazy to raise his voice like a Paul Pisale in Ipswich.  And he thinks that this kind of performance entitles him to another term!

So why are we still part of Queensland?  

What return does Cairns get from the tax money siphoned off by the state and federal governments?  

Main highway in conflict with bicycles?  LOWER THE SPEED LIMIT TO 40.  Main highway to Kuranda dangerously unable to support the growing population?  STATION MORE COPPERS WITH RADAR GUNS TO RAISE MORE REVENUE.  Need a new theatre?  Do it yourself, and build a $60m shitbox.  Need to upgrade your port to snag some bigger cruise ships?  GET STUFFED.  Crime in the suburbs getting you down?  DO IT YOURSELF, here's some money for coffee and cakes at your Neighbourhood Watch meetings - our coppers are too busy hiding in the bushes raising money from those going 2km over the (artificially low) speed limits.

The message Cairns is getting from our politicians on BOTH sides is the same:  NO ONE wants to make the needed, significant investments in Cairns and Far North Queensland.  We'll give you bandaids and kick in a few million in order to look good for reelection. 

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford thought he wasgoing to get kudos for suggesting that the Cairns Council should "apply" for a $3M grant to improve the tourist lookout on the Kuranda range road.  

IMPROVE THE LOOKOUT?  What kind of stupid idea is this, Craig?  In his defence, we note that an improved lookout will be large enough to accommodate medical helicopters to fly out the growing number of injured on this road.  

So why are we still part of Queensland?  

Our "leaders" encourage residents to launch petitions to ban bicycles from the range road - pitting citizen against citizen.  And some are stupid enough to take the bait - so that when bicycles ARE banned, the government can say "we did what you wanted".  

When it should be citizen against government.  A government, regardless of the leadership, that shows itself ineffectual in providing OUR SHARE for our community.  The pollies are playing the Cairns ignorance like a fiddle, led by the self-appointed conductor, John MacKenzie.  The Lord of Small Thinking.

So we end up with stupid ideas like banning Vegemite to solve the alcohol abuse problem.  When we elect small-thinkers, we shouldn't be surprised when we get small-thinker results. 

05 August 2015


Former Member for MacKenzie, and media whore Gavin King is no longer the darling of 4CA's John "Cueball" MacKenzie.  That honour now goes to Michael Trout, the one-term bungler as the Member for Barron River.

MacKenzie has begun his spruiking of Trout earlier than any previous candidate, in part because of his delusional belief that the Palaszczuk ALP government will not run full-term.  This means that the unemployable Trout is now beginning to be a regular fixture in the MacKenzie-orchestrated attacks on the ALP and our local elected representatives.

And Trout is obliging with wholesale lies and misrepresentations. . . almost a nonstop 10 minutes worth yesterday alone.

Some of these statements:

On why he announced for Barron River again:  "In 2011 there was a real push from the (Cairns) tourism sector to have somebody representing this sector in the state arena". (:41)  Well that didn't happen, as it was the ineffectual Gavin King picked by Campbell Newman to be Ass. Tourism Minister.  Apparently renting horses isn't considered very "tourist-industry" related.  

"Ann Sherry, CEO of P&O Cruises (Carnival Cruise Lines), had come to Cairns to talk about the future of home port for Carnival in 10 or 15 years time". (1:03)  Carnival, in fact, has already announced a plan to home port appropriately-sized ships in Cairns without the need to dredge the port.  And the majority of cruise ships being built now for Carnival will be UNABLE to use the port EVEN IF DREDGED AS PROPOSED BY CAIRNS PORTS!

"She (Ann Sherry) was snubbed by the Mayor at that time".  LIE.

"We have a deputy premier, Jackie Trad, who is hell-bent on making sure there is no more facility, or strategic port in Cairns". (1:41) This is a LIE.  Trad has only said that she is opposed to dumping capital dredge spoil in the ocean.

"Everyone knows that for any regional city to develop into the next 50 years, you must have airports, you must have highways, you must have rail, and most important you must have a port".  (2:04)  This is stupidity writ large.  Does Trout really believe that every city without an airport or a seaport will wither and die?  Every inland city is doomed?  HOW STUPID!  Besides, WE HAVE A PORT.  It's a port appropriately sized for a city like Cairns.

"For us to be looking into the future without a strategic port is scandalous".  (2:23) What we should be doing is moving ALL the freight shipping OUT of the Cairns Port to Mourilyan, where it belongs.  REAL midterm strategic thinking would demand the petroleum farm be relocated away from the CBD and near Mourilyan, where it belongs.  Mourilyan Harbour is almost 10m deep, and currently ships sugar (molasses), cattle, and other heavy goods.

"Curtis Pitt to have taken that $40M off the table and put that back in the general revenues, there should be an absolute outcry from the people of Cairns".  (5:15) We agree.  Hey dickhead, where was your "outcry" when you and Gavin King allowed Campbell Newman and your LNP mates to strip the budgeted $93m for the Entertainment Precinct from Cairns, along with the budgeted $35M for the CBD upgrade, and put it back into more barely-used toll tunnels for the Brisbane elite!  Hypocrite!

"There has been some criticism as to why we did not release the EIS late in 2014.  The reason why (stutter, stutter) was there was changing legislation by the federal government, the coalition government, and the timing was not right.  It went back to the Coordinator General two or three times  for changes of legislation"  (5:30)

This is contradicted by Michael Trout's previous statements where he claims the delay has been due to "federal requirements that mandate a two year study of tidal movements".  (:32).  Then he goes on with even deeper bullshit, claiming it was ready to go but they didn't want to be criticised for putting it out during the Christmas holiday!   He then goes on to confirm that HE had seen the report, as did Gavin King!  The facts are clear - the LNP promised the dredging project in order to get elected, and then failed to follow through.  

All the attempts to rewrite history now are sleazy politics at its worst.

"I believe we'll be the only tourist city in the world that will have a (nightclub and pub) lockout time".   The idea of a "lockout", which only impacts those already drunk, is a terrific compromise idea between an early closing time and a city filled with violent arseholes.  

Moron. Trouty needs to get out more. 


Bangkok                     1:00 AM
London                       1:30AM, some clubs until 4:00 AM
Paris                           2:00AM  
Singapore                   1:00AM or 2:00AM
New York                    4:00AM in the city, 2:00AM elsewhere
Istanbul                       Generally 1:00AM
Dubai                           Alcohol?  fuck me
Kuala Lumpur              3:00AM
Hong Kong                  2:00AM
Barcelona                    3:00AM

31 July 2015


We've got a racetrack that has had a $2m "upgrade" - and the work has made the track worse then before.  A search for the reasons has uncovered a hornet's nest of intrigue and dodgy relationships.  

On 21 March 2012, just prior to the ALP blowout election in Queensland, the Bligh government approved an estimated $2.2m in upgrades for Cannon Park as part of their Racing Industry Infrastructure Plan.  When Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King and his cohorts swept into power, Cannon Park management were stunned by the immediate actions taken by King to "give back" funds promised to Cairns - among them the CBD upgrade and Cairns Entertainment Precinct - over $100m in losses due to Gavin King.

While CJC management tried to get a meeting with King, backchannel word to them was that the money was pulled due to "austerity".  But an intervention by (then Shadow Treasurer) Curtis Pitt on behalf of the CJC saw the project then re-confirmed.  Treasurer Tim Nichols however arbitrarily limited the upgrade to $2m - despite costings that already showed the needed work slightly over the $2.2m original budget.

Then the amount got "chipped away" by the Newman government as they reneged on other commitments.  Only $1.6m was left for the work to be done.  King, in full LNP poodle mode, told Cannon Park to "take it or leave it". . . .and by 5 November, the Member for MacKenzie along with the Minister Steve Dickson were posing for pictures at the groundbreaking of work.  Work that the Cairns Jockey Club board KNEW would be inadequate.

So the upgrade was actually an ALP initiative, defiled by the LNP, whom then took credit for it!  This by King on his Facebook page.

Bloody typical!

Well, the work proved to be more than inadequate, as the big "grand opening" for 13 May 2013 needed to be cancelled - as the "newly rebuilt world-class track" was unable to drain 25mm of rain due to the cock-ups.

Ever the apologist, Gavin King told the media "it would have been foolhardy to have raced on the brand new surface".  Abject stupidity writ large.  Like saying you can't drive your new car in the rain.  The kind of ignorance that got him tossed by the voters.

Doesn't this kind of construction work have any "warranty of fitness"?  Why didn't the Cairns Jockey Club order the lead contractor, McMahons, to fix it?  McMahons continues to boast on their website that the project saw the "existing turf track completely rebuilt".  CEO Graham Thornton praises McMahons on their website, saying  "Race meetings at Cannon Park were constantly at risk of being cancelled, due to the rapid deterioration of the track when it rains".  

After a lazy $2m, Cannon Park now closes even in 15mm of rain!  Why hasn't McMahons and others involved been sued?

A racetrack that doesn't drain seems of dubious value in a tropical location.

So there would seem to be plenty of "blame" to go around.  Why would the Jockey Club board allow what everyone seems to agree was an inadequate plan to be executed?  

As the track struggled with the dud "upgrade", someone on
the board had a bright idea - let's get some "free labor" by signing up with training group QITE, and get the unemployed to fix our racetrack for free.  If someone knows what the QITE connection is to the CJC board, please drop us a line.  We're quite sure the fix was in on this deal, too.

All of this on top of the Racing Queensland audit of the club, and questions surrounding CEO Graham Thornton's apparently no-bid operation of the food concessions at the track.

Bloody typical!

Enter Tom Hedley.

We all know Tom Hedley. The plumber who became a zillionaire pub and property tycoon, who saw the entire house of cards collapse leaving, by December of 2009, virtually nothing (apparently).  Hedley, who's companies dudded subbies out of millions in payments for work they did, snuck out of town, reportedly on a barge full of construction equipment, to work in PNG.

He's Baaaaaakkk!  Did someone forget the stake?

With mate John Piccone, Hedley is now looking to resume
his running of the track - although it's unclear if his massive corporate bankruptcy makes him ineligible to actually be elected to the board.  Hedley, who blocked a proposed move of the club (built on a swamp) to a more appropriate site in Gordonvale years ago, already looks to be protecting the contractors - quoted this week as claiming "no one is accountable" but he's back to "tidy things up".  

But the insider dealings continue unabated - with records showing some of these giant, prehistoric dogs being co-owned by Hedley and Piccone together.

Funnily, Gavin King has been uncharacteristically unwilling to step forward to take responsibility for this mismanaged LNP project.

Bloody typical!

30 July 2015


You've got to give him credit.  When John "Cueball" MacKenzie gets a marching order, he keeps pounding his drum even when it clearly makes no sense.  Such is the case with his incessant spruiking for the Cairns Port CEO and mate Brett Moller - the only LNP operative still in place after the Newman decimation.

A year ago, MacKenzie was demanding that the long-delayed
Environmental Impact Study for the intentionally-mislabeled "Cairns Shipping Development Project" be released by Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King and the Newman Government.  MacKenzie thinks he's been the "powerhouse" behind this project for getting Newman to throw a lazy $80M at the project on the radio.  But by August of 2014, the Newman Government and Gavin King already knew the price tag for this little project would be prohibitively large.  We recommend everyone take a read through this EIS - because clearly few of our leaders have done so.

King, Michael "Hide the Backhoe" Trout, and Newman all then decided to "sit on" the EIS until after the election - believing that they could then kill it as "too expensive".  Unfortunately their little plan went awry when King, Trout, and Kempton all were tossed out of office for three years of profound inaction.  This left Palaszczuk with the bad news, although the ALP made no election promises with relation to this project.

We've been saying since the beginning that the cost of this project was going to be massive - way more than the lazy $80M that Newman tossed out to MacKenzie.  He knew THEN that the bill would be so large that no Queensland Government - LNP, ALP, Green, or Commie would ever get the Brisbane-area MP's to toss this kind of cash into FNQ. 

MacKenzie is new best friends with Bill Cummings.  His Cummings Economics cranked out a response to the EIS - that is wildly incorrect, both on the costings (CE says $108m) and on the economic impact to the region.  The current cost of porting a cruise liner is over $35k per visit - which CE cavalierly claims will face "little difficulty in raising charges to a level that would cover the capital cost of $100m and not be out of scale. . ."  This is just nonsensical - the reports by the cruise line industry to industry gatherings already complain that Australia has the highest porting charges in the world.  The same cruise ship coming into Cairns at $35k can port in Singapore for less than $12k!  The Cummings Economics report should be rejected by the government as unbelievably stupid.

The biggest fact left OUT of the EIS - THE INCREASE IN DEPTH (FROM 8.3m to 9.4m) is still considered inadequate by the cruise ship industry!  Two years ago, Royal Caribbean read the riot act to Brett Moller and his team - this includes a channel width NO LESS THAN 3 TIMES the width of the ship, and a minimum depth of ship's draft PLUS 3 METERS!  READ THIS REPORT HERE - (PAGE 20).

The proposal put forward by Moller and Gavin King is woefully short of these requirements.  Essentially, it's half-a-loaf.  Gavin King was the master of half-arsed projects during his brief time as Member for Cairns.  (We'll be reporting on another of these soon).  And now he's left MacKenzie holding this bag of shit - which MacKenzie continues to spruik with all the tenacity of a blind man copulating with an elephant.

Make no mistake, we fully support dredging the inlet and dumping the spoil - somewhere on land.  But we believe in the tooth fairy, too.  Changing Cairns into what it ISN'T won't come cheaply.  And it isn't something that governments, struggling with limited funds, should be spending our tax money to build.  Take a look at some of the terrific work done in other parts of the world, curiously with a cruise line company (Royal Caribbean) acting as Developer or Financier for these projects.  Falmouth, Jamaica.  Kusadasi, Turkey.  This in a presentation to the Australian "Cruise Down Under" Conference, which was attended by our Cairns Ports leadership.

The cruise ship companies all claim Cairns is an important "want-to-see" location by their customers.  That means WE'RE in the driver's seat.  Why are the taxpayers being asked to stump up the cash for this project?  If it's such a good investment, why aren't we looking for cashed up (Chinese) partners to come in and do it?  

We're already selling everything else off to them - why not our most northerly major port?  We can dump all the spoil in East Trinity and call it "ChinaWorld", and sell off the residences to them.   

Plus, there are a host of alternatives available to get the passengers off the boats and into our city.  When does someone put their thinking cap on and get real?

Cairns is what it is.  Cairns ISN'T Macao.  But I guess if you throw $8Billion at it, you can make it so.  Cairns ISN'T a beachy, surfing destination.  Who knows how many BILLION$ it would cost to make us Hawaii.  How about our leaders get serious about marketing all the GOOD things about Cairns - and fixing the shitty service and mediocre restaurants, lack of nighttime entertainment (other than strippers and doof-doof music), and forgetting the idea of letting the developers line our foreshore with tall, featureless unit blocks.  Sell our STRENGTHS, and forget the "quick-fix" merchants. 

And by the way, why hasn't our aquarium started construction yet - even AFTER all the Council concessions???

There is a long list of REAL infrastructure projects that would benefit the WHOLE Cairns community - not just a handful of CBD business owners and day tour operators.  The Cook Highway needs overpasses.  The Kuranda Range Road needs more lanes.  The Bruce Highway needs to be upgraded past Gordonvale.  Wind & solar energy projects.  A busload power station north of Townsville.  The region needs new water sources.  The list of long-neglected infrastructure investments by the government is endless.  Don't make any mistake -these kinds of projects will produce REAL, decades-long private investment in the region.  

Pulling mud out of the ocean to park slightly larger cruise ships will not. 

That's the fact.


This advertisement is being served to Mainland Chinese internet users - in both English and Chinese languages.

We don't understand how a health insurance company is able to "speed up" an Australian 485 Visa Application.  

A new Tony Abbott- Warren Entsch LNP initiative?

27 July 2015


The big announcement today is the funding of a new building at the JCU Smithfield campus - tentatively called the "Cairns Innovation Centre".  We'd like to go on the record TODAY, long before this building is even completed, that it's the stupidest investment to ever grace the Cairns region.

Entrepreneurship isn't about shiny buildings and classroom courses.

Something's seriously wrong.

It's about creative people and MONEY.  Venture Capital.  The Holy Grail of Job Creation.

We've got our share of creative people.  The list of Australian inventions is impressive:  Wifi.  Airline flight data recorders.  Heart pacemakers.  Disposable syringes.  Box wine. (Which just celebrated it's 50th Anniversary).

All OUR inventions that saw venture capitalists from the USA, UK, and Asia take and make squillions on.  Along with the tens of thousands of highly-paid jobs that went with them.  Australia gets bugger-all.  

A nice shiny building at Smithfield isn't going to change the facts - Australia has the worst VC investor market in the world.  Shit, Paul Freebody couldn't even find someone with the cajones to invest in his little waterslide business (although admittedly funding the dreams of a dickhead isn't the best example).  

But here's some other facts to mull over.  

  • Australia gambles more on the Melbourne Cup in ONE YEAR than FIVE YEARS OF VENTURE CAPITAL
  • Australians invest 20 times more in negatively geared rental property than VC
  • Australians spend 4 times as much on luxury SUV's that are written off as business assets than VC
  • The Australian Tax System gives tax breaks to subsidise non-productive capital via "negative gearing"
  • Australia is exporting "future" jobs with this system
  • The New Zealand VC funds invest FOUR TIMES that of Australians
  • Australia is losing start-up entrepreneurs to the USA

The Australian banking system also is notorious for not supporting entrepreneurship.  Want to purchase a "going concern"?  The bank will still require you stump up your house, along with your cash, despite financials that show a profitable business.  "We don't lend on cashflow", the banking mantra.  In other words, they'll lend money if the money is leant at no risk.  So what's the interest being charged for?

ANZ Bank makes more business loans in Guam, a US Territory (with similar size to Cairns) then Cairns and Townsville COMBINED.

Something's seriously wrong.

The predictions of an improvement are stark, as governments avoid the "hard decisions" about our tax system and instead provide only lip service - hence the new JCU building.  A monument to government ineptitude.  A recent Commonwealth programme to encourage overseas investors by offering Australian residence has seen a flood of cashed-up Mainland Chinese, who've used their required investments to support other Chinese entrepreneurs in Australia.  Hardly the result that we wanted, but one that should have been expected.  Zero to no jobs flowing to Australia out of this scheme.  

A leading San Francisco-based venture capitalist earlier this year said, without any Aussie governmental intervention, "don't expect to see an Australian-based venture capital fund operating in five years' time.  And you can thank your tall poppy syndrome for that.  You don't value success enough and you don't risk much to get it".

Of any westernised country, Australia has the highest percentage of university-educated citizens living abroad.  A brain drain of epic proportions - the most highly educated (at largely taxpayer cost) finding their futures and building the economies in their adopted countries.  

Something's seriously wrong.

We're all going to see smiling photos of politicians standing in front of this new JCU White Elephant in a couple year's time.  Just remember that without aggressive and politically-courageous decisions to overhaul our tax system and end the rort that rewards risk-averse investments, this JCU Innovation Centre will be a monument to profligate governmental waste.

For this "innovation centre" to show any benefit, the first students should be our politicians and bankers, the current group of whom show bugger-all in the courage department.

We note however that someone here is obviously making a pretty-penny out of wine-in-a-box.  

23 July 2015


Nothing gets people more riled up than having their golden ox gored.  Especially when their golden ox is a previously unchallenged monopoly.

Such is the tempest being created by the inevitable launch of ridesharing service Uber in Cairns.  Neanderthal John "Cueball" MacKenzie has led the charge against free enterprise and in favour of government regulation, giving his cabbie listeners spots almost daily to rail against the Uber arrival.  Just yesterday, MacKenzie claimed that the Compost survey of the public was "evenly split" between support and opposition of Uber.  

How are 10 supporters equal to the 5 naysayers?  Only in MacKenzie's fact-challenged world, that's how.

While there are clearly some regulatory hurdles to be overcome, there is no question that Uber will be operational in Cairns very shortly.

This kind of increased competition is exactly the kind of
practical benefit the public can reap from the widespread use of smartphones.  Need to get somewhere?  A couple clicks on Uber and you find a ride, get the estimated arrival time to your departure location, and pay a generally lower price in the process.  And when the ride is over, you're invited to provide instant feedback to Uber management about the driver, the vehicle, and the overall service. 

Some believe Uber is unregulated.  This is false.  In many ways, Uber is MORE regulated than the current taxi system.  Ever tried to make a complaint about a dirty, smelly taxi?  Or a driver who didn't know where he was going, didn't speak English, or tried to overcharge you?  Good luck.  The "complaint" system is designed to protect the drivers and licence holders, not the public.  Time to get the government out of this regulatory task and require ALL on-demand transportation services to utilise the Uber regulation model.

Look at how Uber has already affected the taxi monopoly in Cairns.  Cairns Taxis has for the first time begun "ordering its 450 drivers to keep their service, vehicles, and uniforms a the highest standard".  Why wasn't this a requirement before?  Because as a monopoly, they don't really give a shit about the public.  Their substandard level of service has been a big black mark against the Cairns tourism market.  

The only argument being proffered by the taxi drivers?  "We're going to lose 500 jobs".  That's a good thing, if the fares drop and 1500 additional Uber vehicles replace them.  And look at these taxi jobs?  The drivers routinely claim that they can make as little as $8 and hour, with huge profits going to the actual taxicab owners.  Removing the middleman in this case is discounts directly passed on to the public.  It's a proven fact that lower, market-based pricing by Uber actually INCREASES the number of people desiring this kind of point-to-point transit.  A good thing for all of us.

Running under the radar in Cairns is also the internet-based accommodation service, AirBNB.  AirBNB shows almost 20 accommodation units available in Palm Cove, with growing occupancy rates.  Even mainstream providers like the Reef House and Sea Temple have units listed for rent on AirBNB - clearly seeing that expansion of tourism opportunities is a win/win for everyone.

Expansion of tourism infrastructure is of benefit to ALL of Cairns.  Taxi drivers and their protective granddad John MacKenzie are clinging to the past, to the detriment of the majority.  We welcome Uber to Cairns!

22 July 2015


Ask anyone who's moved to Cairns in the last 25 years why they're here, and they inevitably say "the lifestyle".  So important is this to Cairns, one of our home builders named themselves "Lifestyle Homes".  One of the perennial issues facing Cairns residents is the continual chipping away at the "Cairns lifestyle" - usually at the hands of our elected representatives, kowtowing to the developers and other commercial interests.

During the imperial reign of Kevin "Hiding from the Pakis" Byrne, some of the worst damage was done by his development department - led by the now-CEO of Cairns (un)Regional Council, Peter Tabulo. A bureaucrat without peer, who kowtows like no other.  Byrne and Tabulo were responsible for the huge overdevelopment of units at Trinity Beach and Woree by the now-bankrupt Glencorp, run by Udo Jattke.  The prison towers constructed in the CBD by the now-bankrupt Hedley Constructions.  The tiny little house blocks jammed into the "family friendly" Kewarra Beach, where tinnies and extra cars are parked on the front garden as the streets are too narrow for anything else.  

All of these part of the "Kevin Byrne Legacy".  Goodonya', mate.

Another of these projects, Bluewater at Trinity Park, continues to generate controversy because of the lax development requirements and chaotic development done there by the developers.  Bluewater advertises itself as the home of the "Cairns lifestyle".  Hard to know what's desirable of the "Multiplex lifestyle", however.

The recently-constructed Bluewater Bar & Grill is a case in point, with the Byrne/Tabulo errors now compounded by the inattention of the current Council. 

The original Development Approval for this restaurant required 91 car parks.  Developers "rolled" Council on this requirement, getting the number greatly reduced to 64.  The we come to find that the restaurant and the developer, Multiplex, have been pledging the same parking spots for multiple uses.  And our idiot Council didn't notice this developer game of "hide the pea".  Or maybe they DID notice it, and just ignored it - like so many other Development Approval conditions.  


And as the situation has unfolded, the restaurant owner Peter Sayers has stupidly confirmed this serious shortfall, claiming that on weekend nights ". . . still there are cars parked on the street".  You've got to wonder about the sanity of a business that voluntarily opens a business with inadquate amenity for its patrons - who soon decide to go elsewhere.  The 91 carpark requirement was probably correct, but the Bob "Sleepy" Manning Council is easily rolled on parking requirements everywhere.  Impacting heavily the "Cairns lifestyle".   Council is now engaged in a "negotiation" with the parties, and in the process looking to deal-away the boat and trailer parking used by Cairns fishos.  Pushing their cars and trailers further down Reed Road, blah, blah blah.  

The entire Bluewater development however has been an enormous flop.  As developers got squeezed by the GFC, they sold off a prime site for public housing - directly across the street from this tavern.  While we fully support public housing being "dispersed" around the community and not just dumped in the three M's, the existence of this project impacted the perception of Bluewater quite negatively.  And with mains upwards of $30 and the cheapest glass of Cab Sav at $14, there is little chance the Bluewater Bar & Grill will be drawing any customers from across the road.

A drive around Bluewater shows how badly Multiplex has screwed up this "planned development".  Huge waterfront homes have been constructed cheek-by-jowl, normal for a waterfront development.  However the owners of these homes have discovered the high running cost of these homes - with huge and growing dredging levies from the CRC on their rates bills. 

And the existing residents have had no joy discussing the hillbilly-like atmosphere in the development.  Boats, caravans, and shipping containers litter the area.  Who would want to build a $2M-$3M waterfront home when your view is so compromised?  And there's even a "Bluewater Bed & Breakfast" operating along with some residences being rented using AirBNB.  If not afoul of Council regulations, obviously afoul of the neighbourhood amenity.

And the few current residents complain about the "live-aboard" boats that have also not been provided parking.  

Fully 11 of these homes have "For Sale" signs on them, along with perhaps 15 of the vacant allotments - almost 10 years after the project was green lighted by Kevin Byrne.  Seems like most want OUT of this blighted version of the "Cairns lifestyle". 

Council will undoubtably reach some "solution" that doesn't cost big business any money but will steal parking from the Cairns residents who use the Trinity Park boat launch.  And the residents of Riverside Drive (who were NOT part of this "planned development") continue to be socked with dredging they didn't ask for, and weren't consulted about.  

So much for the "Cairns lifestyle".    

20 July 2015


Speed Kills.  Speed Cameras save Lives.  We've had this "big lie" parroted to us by politicians and government leaders for years.  So why is the death toll in Cairns (and all of Queensland) running at record-high rates, higher than a decade ago??

During the reign of Joh Bjelke Newman and the LNP government, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) was ordered to embrace the Victorian Police strategy on road safety.  As a result, the QPS has massively increased the use of speed cameras across the state, as well as making huge investments in more advanced technology that doesn't take photos, but just records video and identifies the speed of EVERY vehicle irregardless of road conditions.

Since full implementation of this strategy, Queensland has
seen a sharp and steady RISE in traffic accidents and fatalities.

The same is true in Victoria - fatalities up 2% this year, over 10% the last two years.

The truth is that maniacal enforcement of posted speed limits has nothing to do with road safety, and everything to do with raising money.  The crash statistics prove this without question.  Only 2% of the road crash fatalities in all of Australia are excessive-speed-related.  ONLY 2%!  This in no way justifies the huge investment in manpower and resources used to photograph and fine speeders.

And the Queensland ALP government is continuing to exploit the lie in an even more blatant attempt to raise revenue.  With just over 600,000 infringements issued in 2010, the Palaszczuk government has ordered the QPS to increase this astronomically - to over 1,000,000 infringement notices this year, and revenue approaching $1B.  This comes at a massive loss in respect for the QPS.  Several Facebook and other social media sites are set up to mock the police seen hiding behind signs, squatting in bushes, and other dubious tactics in their money-raising function.  

This has been done by a host of measures designed to ensure more are caught.  The most immoral is the change to the threshold speed at which an infringement is issued.  In some cases, infringements are being given for 1km OVER THE POSTED SPEED.  This flies in the face of Australian Standards to which Australian-sold cars are required to comply.  These Standards allow cars to be sold with speedos in error by as much as 10%.  In other words, a car or ute can be displaying 80km on the speedo and yet traveling 87km - and be fully compliant with Commonwealth requirements.  Issuing infringements that exploit this innocent and unknown speed error is a provision ripe for challenge in the courts.

But this is just a trivial issue.

The reality is that this is a money-raising exercise that is KILLING QUEENSLANDERS.  The road toll in Queensland is fully 10% higher than last year due to this change in policing.  13 EXTRA QUEENSLANDERS HAVE BEEN MURDERED BY THE QUEENSLAND POLICE AND POLITICIANS.

The real causes for traffic fatalities are ignored.  NO formal driver training before letting kids behind the wheel of these death machines.  Little being done to stem the ever-increasing drink driving and drug driving profile of the motorists.

When the USA removed the artificial barrier to maximum speed on motorways (set at 55mph/88km in order to "save energy"), the highway death and injury rate DECLINED SUBSTANTIALLY as the average speeds increased.  The mantra "Speed Kills" is a lie.

Even more importantly, huge numbers of expensively-trained police constables are diverted from CRIME FIGHTING to REVENUE RAISING.  Cairns has seen huge increases in crime this year because of this policy.  Assaults  UP 28%.  Drug arrests up almost 17%.  These are real crimes.  Speeding is not.

Spend some money to synchronise the traffic signals.  Spend some money on overpasses at the failed roundabouts.  Get serious about REAL enforcement to increase road safety - mobile phones and idiots filming and photographing WHILE THEY DRIVE are a menace to society.