WARREN ENTSCH FAILS THE CITIZENS OF CAIRNS. AGAIN. SIGH.

WARREN ENTSCH FAILS THE CITIZENS OF CAIRNS.  AGAIN.  SIGH.
WARREN ENTSCH FAILS THE CITIZENS OF CAIRNS. AGAIN. SIGH.

29 April 2016

FIRST TASK OF NEW MANNING COUNCIL - CONTINUE CORRUPTION OF DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNING SCHEMES

UNSIGHTLY DEVELOPMENT - GONE, BUT
MAKING A COMEBACK UNDER BOB MANNING 
A noteworthy impact of the last Bob "Sleepy" Manning Cairns (un)Regional Council has been the "fast and loose" interpretation and waivers issued by them.  Giveaways that many in the planning business see as not so much a "priming the pump" for economic growth, but making already bad situations in the CBD and elsewhere WORSE.

A case in point has been the new Cairns Aquarium project.  We're all happy it's underway.  But merchants and others in the area aren't going to be so happy when it become operational.  The original development application suggested 80 employees would be working at the facility.  They should have been required to provide 114 car parks.  Other operational aquarium projects in Australia have upwards of 400 carparks.  

But the Cairns Aquarium is going to have NO onsite parking, thanks to the Manning Council "gift".  And not long after this gift, the Cairns Aquarium announced that in fact they expect 130 EMPLOYEES, not 80!  So the parking shortfall, JUST FOR STAFF, is even greater than previously thought.  

WE GOT CARS.  PARK 'EM ANYWHERE.
WHO CARES?
And this project is only a couple hundred meters from the Cairns Civic Theatre and park project - which will also not have enough parking (it never has).  Three projects that could easily generate 2000 or more visitors at the same time, with parking for a little over 100.  

You can't make this shit up.  

The Manning council is leaving giant planning albatrosses for subsequent city leaders to deal with.  

So the newly-elected Manning council begins a new term by starting to repay their dividend to the developers (most of whom were also campaign contributors).  We're told today to get excited about the addition of two stories to the Cairns Square at Abbott and Shields Streets, the busiest streets in the Cairns CBD.  Home of CQU Cairns "campus".    

This building is ALREADY short 100 carparks.  With this new development application, the building will be even more short of carparks - and it's already known to be short of bicycle parking as students routinely are chaining their pushbikes up to street furniture and other non-bicycle parking areas.  

These developers made two of the most ludicrous of arguments in their plea for approvals - "too much parking is just as bad as too little", and "our leases don't include parking for the tenants".   Arguments that undoubtably won't be challenged by anyone in the Manning council.  They're very happy to leave all these issues for someone else to deal with in the future.

We agree that communities like Cairns need to wean themselves off the private use of cars.  But this needs to be done as part of a "transport strategy" that puts in place rational alternatives in conjunction with the community.  Four years of Bob Manning has resulted in NO attempts to put together a transport strategy - the fairy tale of light rail notwithstanding.

Then just Wednesday the new Manning council approved a desperately needed aged-care facility.  Adjacent to Tjapukai and the ski park, where nightly tourism activities are common.  In violation of several State and Cairns Council planning documents. And on land in a known flood plain, located next to a sand mine!  After all, flooding is how the sand GOT there in the first place. 

This is the best we can do for our elderly residents?  Stick them in a building with trucks going by at a high-frequency.  In a building with no greenspace, where you can't walk to any kind of shop or amenity, and where you need to keep all the windows shut to keep out the sand and dust?  

You can't make this shit up.

The absurdity of this location for this kind of facility is obvious, and the first application was withdrawn when professional staff opposed it.  But then the developers said the magic words - "approve the project subject to reasonable mitigation conditions".  

The Manning council and CEO Peter Tabulo have a known history of modifying and/or eliminating conditions in approved Development Approvals AFTER projects are built that haven't complied!

Several of these cases exist since Bob Manning became Mayor.  This is just one case in point, just a kilometer from the approved aged-care facility.

When the VIP Furniture showroom was built on Mt Milman
drive, the DA included a standard provision to have bicycle parking, and to screen the air conditioning equipment from view.  The building was constructed without meeting these conditions, and occupied by VIP.  (This in part because of a loophole where private certifiers approve constructions that are in code violation, a story for another day).

A complaint was filed first with Council, who did nothing.  Then with the State Ombudsman, who ordered Council to enforce the conditions.  VIP screened the machinery on the building.  

This same developer (R.B. Lowden) then builds two more showrooms next to VIP - auto parts and a pet shop.  All the A/C equipment HERE is also unscreened, and no bicycle parking was provided.  The building opens without meeting these DA conditions.  After receiving the same complaints, the developer then spends THOUSANDS of dollars to get council to REMOVE these conditions!  They claim the bicycle parking "is never used", and that "the air-conditioning equipment can't be seen from the front and there's only farmland behind".  Farmland behind NOW - there's a major bypass highway and residential development planned for the future.

And the conditions were removed WITHOUT the same kinds of public notice, so the public has no opportunity to object.  "Pay your money and you can do anything!"  The new standard at Cairns Development!  

That's in fact why we HAVE these kinds of development conditions.  To protect residents IN THE FUTURE! 

But CEO Peter Tabulo can't be trusted to abide by, and enforce, conditions of approval either during construction or afterwards.  Nor apparently will the Manning Coun     

23 April 2016

CAIRNS POST AND 4CA JOHN MACKENZIE PARTNERS IN PLAN TO GROOM RIGHT-WING MEDIA NUTCASE FOR CAIRNS LNP JOB

JULIAN TOMLINSON WITH DISGRACED
FATHER AND LNP RATBAG, MAX.

A few weeks ago, Cueball MacKenzie apparently got his marching orders from his LNP mates.


'You were so good at pushing the Cairns Post's Gavin King forward as a political force, we want you to do it now for our new Cairns Post darling, Julian Tomlinson'.

Julian Tomlinson is the so-called Deputy Editor of the Cairns Post.  And of course as such, he lives in Townsville, not Cairns. Julian got his start in Rupertland with the Gold Coast Bulletin.  On the sport desk.  

The "Tomlinson" touch is now being fully applied to the Cairns Post.  The appeal to the bogan-end of town is now being emphasised with bogan headlines about crocs and boat ramps getting page one, and even bogan-directed "Street Survey" questions now getting special attention.  All in vain, as the ComPost circulation is down almost 30% while the Cairns population continues to grow.  


HOW ABOUT A QUESTION FOR OUR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS - "DO YOU
THINK CAIRNS IS THE BOGAN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?"

Tomlinson, who's Facebook sign-in name is "Greasy Pig", is shaping up to be even more misogynistic than the disgraced Gavin King.  So extreme have been Tomlinson's writings, in Townsville he was the subject of a research paper by Dr. Ryl Harrison, Higher Education Policy Adviser at James Cook University.

His writings in the Townsville Bulletin about women in politics have been widely criticised.  And when letters from those he's attacked roll into the Townsville Bulletin, he's used his position to block publication of these contrary opinions.  

Julian Tomlinson got his position the usual, blokey-way - by virtue of his father, Max Tomlinson being editor of the Townsville Bulletin (1998-2003).  Ol' Max then spread his wings, becoming media advisor for Liberal Party Senator Ian MacDonald.  And Max was pre-selected as LNP candidate for the seat of Thuringowa in 2010, but didn't even get over the line in that election.  Normally I wouldn't be ascribing the sins of the father to the son, but when daddy starts using his position to grease the skids for his little boy. . . . well you get our drift.  The dickhead doesn't far fall from the shaft.  


SOME OF JULIAN TOMLINSON'S
"ADDED VALUE" TO THE
TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN
Cairns-based academic Dr. Carole Ford wrote an op-ed in 2012, complaining about the few women in Parliament under Joh Bjelke Newman.  Daddy Max dashed off an email to Dr. Ford, pointing out that the skills to be a parliamentarian were not possessed by women as "a fact of biology".  He went on to contrast Ford's "Sisterhood" with his wife, Julian's mother, who he said was dissed at cocktail parties for accepting her role as the "keeper of the flame of civilisation".  

This was too much even for Tony Abbott, who shit-canned ol' Maxie in barely a day. 

At the same time, Julian launched into his own attack on "feminists" and using his position at the Townsville Bulletin, refused to publish an objection to his rant that was signed by 59 Townsville organisations and 150 Townsville residents.(1)  At least the Cairns Post allowed a trickle of dissents when Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King launched into one of his racist/sexist/ignorant tirades. 

Julian, who has no higher education in journalism (which is now seen as a positive in the bizarro world that is Newscorp) was identified by another popular Cairns blogger already spewing right-wing babble not long after Tomlinson was first anointed with his "deputy editor" position.  A position he got ahead of a precious educated few who actually WENT to journalism school, but didn't have the all-important right-wing family connection.  The purpose of higher education is in part to develop the skills of "critical thinking and analysis".  Not necessary when your job is to represent the blokey, bogan electorate as is Julian Tomlinson. 

With Max's political career all but over as a result of his big mouth and dinosaur mentality, he's turned all his attention into grooming Julian - a bogan version of Joe Kennedy.  And he's decided Cairns will be the benefit of his largess - with most in Townsville now wise to the name "Tomlinson".  

Such is the fruit of Max Tomlinson's loins, now cutting his teeth on the Cairns electorate, and being groomed by John MacKenzie (via phone from Townsville) for his upcoming political career as Cairns' next LNP neanderthal.  The other two Tomlinson sons, Nick and Damian?  Daddy doesn't love them.

Enjoy!  And be warned!


(1)  http://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/34419/1/34419-harrison-2013-thesis.pdf:  page 224

21 April 2016

ACCC CONSULTATION ON CAIRNS PETROL PRICING




Of course you didn't read THIS in the Cairns Post.  





The ACCC has opened the commenting website for the Market Study on Petrol Prices in Cairns.


And remember, no sweary language!

What we'd really like to see is a list of the owners of every petrol station in Cairns.  




20 April 2016

ODDS AND ENDS AROUND THE FAR NORTH

We occasionally like to present a selection of smaller, reader-submitted stories for your entertainment.

CYCLISTS

THIS PACK WAS DRIVING CARS
OUT OF THEIR LANES
The issues around bicyclists are a perennial area of discussion in the Far North.  A letter in the Cairns Post this week was from a bicyclist visiting Cairns as part of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup - despite the fact that we have no mountains.  The letter complained that cars were coming to close to the athletes training on the Cook Highway and other locations around the city.

Residents of the Northern Beaches have complained about being run off the highway footpaths by speeding mountain bikers since last week.  And it would have been nice if someone had explained to these visitors the rules that require cyclists to travel in designated bike lanes in single file.  Packs of bicyclists have decided that they can pretty much go where they want.  Not a good way to get a repeat of this event, nor much of a model for our local bicycle psychopaths.

CASH ONLY

Residents around Cairns have noted an increasing number of small businesses with signs announcing "CASH ONLY" to their customers.  Our cynical nature can't help but also notice that these businesses are almost exclusively owned by Asian migrants to Australia.  A local bank EFTPOS consultant has confirmed that there is little in the way of red-tape preventing any small business from securing an EFTPOS facility.  

The cynic in us can't imagine any other reason for "CASH ONLY" but TAX AVOIDANCE.  While the rest of us pay. . . well, you get our drift.  

With so many of the tourism businesses around town paying "cash in hand", I guess we've got the whole system engaged in tax avoidance - small business and employees.  



MIGRATION FOLLIES

Last year, an American and a Brit on tourist visas decided to open a shop selling sugared ice water in Palm Cove.  They called the business the "Lost Eskimo", and like all those of the internet generation, set about promoting the business on the with obviously fake "reviews" on Trip Advisor and purchased "likes" on Facebook.  The reviews are easily identified as fake when they come from your mother, your sister, and other family members with the same last name.  HAHA.  Then just before Christmas they opened an additional location on the Esplanade - conveniently located next door to the very successful New Zealand Natural Ice Creamery.  Apparently quite a market for sugary treats on the Esplanade.

However, apparently not quite enough.  Both locations of the
Lost Eskimo now look to be closed - equipment stripped out of the Esplanade location and a stack of unopened mail gracing the floor of the shuttered Palm Cove shop.  At least one of the owners has apparently gone back to his home in the UK, and the Yank has been unable to be found by creditors.  This director, one Jeffrey Morris, is part of a West Virginia State family that is fully
engaged in the dodgy "Multi-Level Marketing" of skin care products that have received an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau due to the dangerous formulation that includes known poisons.  


How can ASIC and ATO regulations allow companies to be set-up by visitors on tourism visas?  This seems dangerous on a lot of levels.  And we understand another dodgy company may be in-process by Mr. Morris.  Stay tuned. . .

ANDREW CRIPPS, MEMBER FOR HAIRCLUB

MP for Hinchinbrook appeared on the news Wednesday evening, railing about some issue or another. Everyone in the room had the same reaction when we saw him talking.  Why are those on the "right" of politics always wearing the worst hair hats?  


18 April 2016

CAIRNS PARLIMENTARIAN RACKS UP ANOTHER FAILURE FOR HIS ELECTORATE - WARREN ENTSCH NOW OFFICIALLY MOST INEPT MP SINCE JUDAS

This morning, the Minister for Blogs MP Warren Entsch took to the radio to bellow about "human rights" and "jobs" in the Daintree.

Yes, that's right - mains electricity is now a "human right" and a few more low-wage service jobs are on the Entsch radar.

This show done at the same time his government mates were doling out the $2Billion Patrol Boat contract to Perth and Adelaide.  A long way from patrol boat territory.



We didn't have a snowball's chance when Abbott was PM - Abbott having been trashed and lied to by Entsch.

We had less of a chance when Malcolm Turnbull took over.  Turnbull reportedly told Entsch it was time to go.  However Entsch is more concerned about his Canberra pay packet than the residents of Cairns, where the real unemployment rate is almost 17%.

The warning to Entsch by the government was obvious - when Turnbull sent the maintenance jobs to Singapore and the military called the quality of Cairns shipyards into disrepute.  Entsch spun like a top.

The ComPost warned that the loss of this contract would scuttle Cairns shipbuilding altogether.  I guess we're going to find out, eh Warren?

So Entsch this morning fiddled and diddled on the radio as Cairns job-hopes burned.  Entsch was fully aware of this shitty news, but instead decided to spruik a perpetual motion machine for the Daintree.  While Entsch is a perpetual failure for Cairns.  And MacKenzie did his part by not reporting on the colossal failure, instead attacking the reports of coral bleaching by the left-wing, ratbag media.  

But we DO have a new aquarium with 130 new, minimum-wage jobs. And no place to park, thanks to Bob "Sleepy" Manning. 

This is another sad day for the future of Cairns.  Another community-saving project lost.   

Shame on Warren Entsch.  And shame on Cairns if we elect this do-nothing obese ratbag again.


15 April 2016

ALP DOG-AND-PONY SHOW ARRIVES WITH RINGMASTER CRAIG CRAWFORD - WHO CONVENIENTLY FORGETS HIS PROMISES TO BARRON RIVER

MP CRAIG CRAWFORD STANDING
IN FRONT OF THE TRANSPORT
ISSUE LIKELY TO UNSEAT HIM
4CA's John "Cueball" MacKenzie was ebullient this morning, breathless in his excitement that ALP MP Craig Crawford had secured the "acting" Premier to view the traffic schmozzle that is the Cairns Western ARTERIAL Highway.  The Cueball aural fellation continued into his show, "congratulating" the motorists who sounded their horns when the "acting" Premier was on-site.

Upgrade of the inadequate Bill Fulton Bridge (which was completed in 2000) is of course long overdue.  Council has allowed huge housing estates to be constructed from Redlynch to Caravonica - all with residents needing to travel to/from the city on this inadequate ARTERIAL road.

ONE BRIDGE OF THREE - YOU'VE GOT
TO DO THEM ALL TO GET
A REAL RESULT
Crawford made promises to the voters of Barron River that upgrade of the Western ARTERIAL Highway was a "critical project" for the area.  And if he and Jackie Trad had looked closely at the map, he would have noticed that the schmozzle continues north past the Bill Fulton Bridge.  Trad and her entourage in fact were driven north from the city on the Cook Highway, turning south on the Western Arterial at Caravonica - where southbound traffic crawled from the school, across the Barron River Bridge and the Freshwater Road/Rail bridge - to the site of the ALP circus.

There is no cause for the rest of the highway to be ignored with a partial, inadequate upgrade.   And the upgrade of this ONE bridge is NOT what Crawford promised.

Highways need to be planned and upgraded as a SYSTEM - partial, politically-motivated projects rarely accomplish anything but moving the congestion to another location.  A Main Roads traffic engineer has advised HBW that in fact upgrade of this one bridge will just move the congestion to the Redlynch Connection Road, which is known to be inadequate to handle the load coming off a four-laned bridge. 

BARRON RIVER BRIDGE - A BICYCLIST
DEATH WAITING TO HAPPEN
And Main Roads has long known about the huge dangers posed by the two-lane Barron River Bridge - a bridge that was substandard when first constructed, and has NO area for bicycles to transit.  

Craig Crawford was swept into Parliament in the 2015 election, and for weeks after looked like a stunned mullet - so surprised was he at his win over the LNP member.  He's struggled to get any traction in the Palaszczuk government until recently, when the ALP has decided to prop him up as a get-square against the defecting Rob Pyne.  Despite his disability Pyne is showing real backbone at calling attention to the infrastructure deficit that is facing FNQ.  Crawford has gone poodle on us - instead of insisting on a full upgrade of the Western ARTERIAL Highway, he's cheerleading for this partial, inadequate solution.  

THE LAND WAS RESUMED YEARS AGO FOR UPGRADE
OF THIS BRIDGE - NO EXCUSE TO LEAVE IT UNDONE

The Cairns Western ARTERIAL Highway is the only ARTERIAL in the state that is NOT to four-lane standard.  It is heavily used as a bypass around the city by tourists and commercial trucking.

Crawford is holding a poisoned chalice as the Member - Barron River has been neglected by successive governments for major infrastructure upgrades. Several intersections on the Cook Highway are now crippled, the highway needs four-laning from Kewarra to Palm Cove, and the Smithfield Bypass still just a pipe dream in need of funding.

Don't be fooled - the Trad/Crawford Show means little to the residents of Barron River.  It's great for future electioneering - but a growing number in the electorate are not fooled by these charlatans and their dog-and-pony shows anymore.



12 April 2016

FANCY RAIL SYSTEMS - THE CATNIP BALL THAT THE AUSTRALIAN ELECTORATE FALLS FOR TIME AFTER TIME WITHOUT FAIL


Cairns Mayor Bob Manning's recent campaign for Mayor exploited a tried-and-true Australian political trick to get him reelected to his seat - the first Mayor in Queensland to have his wages seized due to unpaid bad debts.

He's dubbed it the  "Green Train" Light Rail project.  (Funny how the word "green" is an epithet hurled at progressives until it's useful as a campaign slogan by the right).  

Yesterday, the Federal Liberal Party pulled the same bullshit out of their hat - there must be an election coming there, too.  Six weeks ago, the SBS comedy program "The Feed" predicted the return of this well-worn election distraction to our political scene - like a tired old lover with a sex toy they're too frightened to open.  

Once again we get to be entranced by the thought of Australia getting a Shinkansen-style bullet train between
JOHN HOWARD WHEELED
OUT THIS VOTER CHARADE TWICE!
Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne.  A distraction that Manning proved works on the regional level as well as for the feds - of every political stripe.

The "planning" for this infrastructure always seems to garner press a few months before an election.  Only to sink beneath the waves just after.  It has been so since Bob Hawke.  

The reasons we won't have an Australian high-speed train are the same reasons "Sleepy" Manning's plan will never get up.

A too-small population at an inadequate density.

Bob Manning idiotically suggested that "other cities with Cairns' population" have light rail.  Sure they do - they're in high-density towns in Europe or Asia, not in a city with a length of 40+km!  It's intellectually bankrupt for Manning to make such a ridiculous promise, and for his "team" to let such nonsense take up valuable management time that could be donated to the REAL problems in this city. 

Which SHOULD include dedicated busways that could be converted to light rail - in 50 years when it might make some sense. 

But we digress. . . 


  • Minimum $120 Billion - over $5000 from every Australian
  • Costs always blow out
  • Interest on $120B - $3 Billion per year
  • The system would need PROFIT of $3B/Year to pay interest
  • At $150/ticket - 219,000 passengers/day 
  • Current travel between these cities - 44,000 per day
  • IT CAN'T BE DONE
The economics of light rail in Cairns are even worse.

LIGHT RAIL IN CAIRNS

  • CBD to Edmonton 14km - Same as Gold Coast Light Rail
  • Gold Coast 1st Stage - $1.6 Billion ($180M from GC Council) plus federal and state money
  • Gold Coast system - 10 Million passenger trips/year
  • Gold Coast - LOSING MONEY
  • ASSUME construction cost a GIFT from some mystery Santa Claus - no cost to ratepayers
  • Cairns - Best case 2.2M passenger trips/year
  • Shortfall - $2265/year PER PROPERTY
So how much of our rates money is Bob Manning and his council of idiots going to spend on a "feasibility study" - when back-of-the-envelope math is clear?

This morning during the 4CA Cueball show, one of the regular callers urged Manning to consider a monorail for the project SO THAT THE STREETS AREN'T BLOCKED BY PUBLIC TRANSIT!  People this stupid don't deserve a thoughtful answer.

So we run again the old favourite - the Springfield Monorail.  No better response exists.


11 April 2016

4CA AND JOHN MACKENZIE AGAIN GROUND ZERO FOR PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE SCAMS - WITH IGNORANT DAINTREE RESIDENTS AT THE FRONT OF THE PACK

This isn't the first time John "Cueball" MacKenzie and 4CA have given oxygen to "free energy" promoters.  We haven't forgotten the "Lutec 2000" that was going to revolutionise Cairns.  



But at least the last crowd were home-grown scammers.

Russell O'Doherty, self-appointed leader of the "Daintree Power Committee", has received his answer from Ergon to his proposal to install a "pollution-free generator" and mains power from a California-based company called Eco-Gen Energy.  

The Ergon answer was an emphatic "NO".  They cautiously referred to the technology as "unproven".


ECO-GEN WORLD HEADQUARTERS
We don't need to be so cautious.  It's another power scam.  Pure and simple.

Eco-Gen's website looks to be organised to operate as a US-based scam, with instructions how to purchase and use their product in conjunction with a small solar installation, getting the US government to pay the bulk of the cost.  Even O'Doherty has said publicly that solar is inappropriate technology for the Daintree. 

The Eco-Gen website and location is also the home of other businesses that seem to have generated lots of complaints, including SunAmerica Solar, SunX Solar, Solar Soma Energy, and First Solar Inc.  It has all the usual scammer-type language - vague explanations of what the technology actually does, fanciful claims of clean, green, low-cost energy, claims of "numerous" patents that can't be found anywhere, and other bullshit.

The President of this company is shown as Raoul Hamilton, who touts his business experience at "Fat Burgers".  The Managing Director is a woman called Julia Otey, who claims to have been personal assistant to celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.  How foodservice experience relates to high-level electrical engineering is difficult to understand.  It should be noted that corporation registrations in the USA have no requirements that enable the government to positively identify the registrants.  These people could be complete fakers.



All of this could be found by O'Doherty or anyone else in a few minutes.  O'Doherty was for a time hiding the name of the company from the media, but it's now out and easy to verify.  

So what's really going on here?

The Daintree pro-power group are now attacking anyone and everyone for "discrimination".  He put it very simply this morning during his usual bitch about the lack of power.  'Ergon provides power to all the aboriginal communities north of us, we're being discriminated against".  

This continues to ignore the basic fact of Daintree subdivision and development.  NO MAINS POWER WAS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE APPROVAL FOR THESE PROPERTIES.  They now just want to abrogate an essential element of Daintree development.  This land was sold to hippies who wanted to live off the land, off the grid, and in a non-commercial way.  O'Doherty and everyone else purchased properties that had this covenant embodied in their land deed.  

So now they want to change the game.  That's fine, let's have a proper debate about what will undoubtably be massive development of the Daintree if mains power were available. 

Minister for Blogs Warren Entsch has issued his boilerplate letter of support to this group.  Anything to secure a couple votes.  Entsch support of any issue is now looking to be the kiss of death, like the NQ Insurance White Paper.  Entsch gets nothing done for anyone.  Thanks for that, fatboy!

This is an insidious and intellectually-bankrupt way for these Daintree residents to affect change.  The preservation of the Daintree is a national and international issue.  Once the grid is in and we find out that the Eco-Gen JouleBox is a fraud, you can bet these people will be yammering for Ergon to hook 'em up the our grid.

Let's have the discussion.  But stop hiding behind scammers.

TOBRUK POOL REDEVELOPMENT IN DISARRAY AS QUESTIONS SURFACE ON SAFETY OF CHEAP UNCERTIFIED STEEL FROM BANKRUPT TOWNSVILLE SUPPLIER

UNSAFE?
Mayor Bob "Sleepy" Manning has again just last week made the claim that the Tobruk Pool reconstruction is "on time and on budget".  This despite documents that clearly show the project was due for completion in October of 2015, and council's decision to HIDE the financial documents on this as well as all the large council projects.  What *WAS* the budget anyway, Bob?

Insiders now report much more serious issues involving the project. Lead contractor Adco, designers, engineers, the bankrupt Townsville supplier, and the council staff are all said to be pointing fingers at each other for what could prove to be a major cock-up.

Readers will recall that the contracted steel fabricator, Townsville-based Tropical Fabrications (Structural Steel Buildings Pty. Ltd) was said to have gone bankrupt in August of 2015.  Council finance chief John Andrejic told the press that the failed supplier was inconsequential to the project.

However workers on the project have raised questions about
IMPORTED STEEL USED
THROUGHOUT THE PROJECT
the quality of the steel that has been provided for the project, with welding of this steel being thought to result in substandard connections.

When these questions were first raised, engineers for the project demanded the steel test certificates and other required documentation.  Some, most, or all of the steel is now known to have been imported from Mainland China by the fabricators, and some, most, or all of the documentation that certifies the steel for Australian Standards is missing or incomplete.  With some of it being feared fraudulent.

As welders experienced problems with their work on the project,  they have raised the questions with construction management.  Some of the problems are thought to be caused by high levels of an unwanted element (boron) in the steel, a common problem with the low-cost steel being dumped by Chinese mills and fabricators.  These problems have been well-known in the construction industry for at least the last three years, and have been exacerbated by the Australia-Chinese Free Trade Agreement.

You can't make this shit up.

CAIRNS IS NO STRANGER TO
STEEL ROOF COLLAPSES (CAIRNS
WEST BOWLING CLUB, 2005)
Without a strong documentation and testing regime, everyone is at risk.  And contracts for the Tobruk Pool are said to have giant holes in them with regard to documentation and compliance.

We've been informed that these issues have been known by the Mayor and CEO Peter Tabulo for some time.  By Manning/Tabulo council policy, this information has been hidden from the public who no longer get detailed status reports on major projects.  These status reports were routinely given to the Schier and Byrne councils and public.  It is unknown if any/all of the councillors are aware of these issues.  

There have been continuing and widespread reports of
dodgy steel imports being used on projects right across Australia.  This is especially serious for this project, which features huge soaring STEEL beams over the pool - a structure which needs to be designed and constructed with cyclonic winds in mind.  We understand that questions exist on virtually ALL of the steel used in the project, including the huge quantities of reinforcing steel used in the pool itself.  And these questions extend to other council projects including footpath building and renovations, where problem-laden steel mesh may have been used for support and longevity.

We understand that contractors are balking at testing and recertification of the steel in the project.  Council's contracts may be weak or silent on this serious quality issue.

Shit happens on projects, large and small.  However we expect a higher duty of care from the people spending our hard-earned rates money.  If contractual arrangements for the supply of this project are now going to result in a substandard and possibly unsafe project, where is the accountability?  John MacKenzie has continued a years-long diatribe seeking the heads of council staff responsible for the removal of a few palm trees in Port Douglas.   These failures would seem to warrant a much higher level of accountability from Cairns Council management - starting with CEO Peter Tabulo.

We await the Cairns Post reporting on this serious public issue - due sometime late in 2017, we reckon.



07 April 2016

LACK OF FNQ PROGRESSIVE VOICE COMBINED WITH CORRUPT AND DYSFUNCTIONAL NEWS MEDIA AT THE CORE OF CONTINUED CAIRNS STAGNATION

With the election now over, and the start of a new Cairns (un)Regional Council term at hand, progressives in Cairns are left wondering about the future of our community with this team at the helm.

Frankly, we're not much concerned about Bob "Sleepy" Manning and his "big ideas".  This is a mayor and council obsessed with turning a profit and spending as little as possible on the growth of our community.  Keeping council rates at minimal levels to "help the battlers" does little to inject the enthusiasm and spark necessary for a community growing at Cairns' historical rates.   This Sleepy Manning philosophy of government is the reason we've had an inadequate, too-small replacement for our current inadequate, too-small Civic Theatre shoved down our throats with no consultation. It's the reason we'll never see anything like the proposed light rail system (which would require a local government investment of over $280M plus the state and federal components).  It's the reason so much of Cairns still has no kerb and channeling - even on major thoroughfares.

The Manning team is rumoured to have spent upwards of ten times the money then spent by their opposition.  Who benefits from spending this much money on council positions?  We all know the answer to that one.

And when the state and federal governments see a community like Cairns unwilling to take risks and invest in their future, they quickly recognise that their investments in Cairns should reflect this council position.  Hence, no money is forthcoming from them. The bureaucrats remember how all their time and effort was expended to secure over $125M for the waterfront Cultural Precinct and CBD upgrades, only to see their work squandered by Manning and Gavin King.  They're not likely to work very hard to help us again in the future.

We however believe there is a much more serious issue plaguing Cairns.  While residents blame politicians on both sides of the aisle for the malaise that's gripped Far North Queensland, we prefer to look at the bigger picture. And one of our huge problems is the one-sided and amateurish news media that is doing bugger all to hold our politicians to account.


There is no journalistic integrity available to the residents of Cairns and Far North Queensland.  Not when our "local" newspaper is mostly written and assembled 350km away and our local TV news has "anchors" that do a half-dozen or more "local" news bulletins a day.   

The publishers of journalism must show an ultimate allegiance to the citizens.  They must strive to put the public interest and the truth above their own self-interest or assumptions. This core journalistic principal is absent in the Cairns Fourth Estate.  Hence the electorate struggles for the truth and the "big end of town" can rule the roost by manipulating just a few lazy and talentless news writers.  

A case in point is last week's "secret" visit to Cairns by the carny barker known as Tony Fung.  The post reported ahead of time on this "secret" visit,  because it was fed to them.  And the Cairns Post returned the favour by feeding the community a stripped down, one-sided, bullshit-laden story.  Where is their allegiance to the citizenry?

And at the same time Tony Fung was spruiking a stripped-down, staged development, his PR team was giving the original $8billion "Fantasy Land" story to overseas news media.  Lies designed to extract money from apparently ignorant investors.

The oddest part of the Cairns Post story is how the same Fung event was covered by OTHER News Limited-owned outlets.  The report on Fung in the Australian about the project was far more balanced and probing than the dreck we got from Nick Dalton at the Cairns Post.  Possibly the worst news reporter in the southern hemisphere.

Dalton promotes the new Fung proposal by saying the first stage of $2B includes "4000 hotel rooms".   The original $8B proposal was said to have 8000 rooms.  How can this be?   Dalton takes any nonsense and prints it.  And the $2B proposal has an aquarium, theatre, exhibit halls, golf course - in fact ALL the same amenities as before.  For 75% less.

And despite public announcements that the project will proceed WITHOUT a casino, Dalton quotes local engineer Pat Flanagan as saying "The project WILL include a casino"  (Emphasis added - ed.)

The same report in The Australian is far more balanced and questioning of the project, thanks to reporter Emma Reynolds.   In her story she points out all the big questions that have plagued the project - the Aquis location being planned in a 10-year floodplain, the missing plans for roads, bridges, water, water treatment, transport,  and schools.

And not a peep out of the Cairns Post and Nick Dalton about the announced Mainland Chinese partners in the project - CCCC International Holding and Tandellen Group Ltd.  CCCC Group has been disbarred by the International Monetary Fund for any funded projects due to "big rigging".  And Tandellen apparently has direct connections to the Chinese Communist Party and Military.   These aren't hard facts to discover - they're deliberately ignored by reporters at the Cairns Post who believe they're role is to act as PR firm for any nonsense that crosses their desk.  Or is pushed across their desk by Bob Manning, Warren Entsch, or whoever is the politician of the day.

There is not a farthing of investigation in the Cairns Post journalism.  No statement is fact-checked. Ever.  Dalton has never once asked Fung about where the construction and operational workers will come from.  No hard question is ever asked, because the Cairns Post is little more than a PR extension of the business community.  To the detriment of the community at large.

So it's no surprise when the story of the massive, multi-year ground pollution of the airport is ignored for years DESPITE INSIDERS GIVING THE INFORMATION TO THE CAIRNS POST FOR YEARS!

You've got to wonder how these horrible journalists drag their sorry arses into the city to rewrite the press releases day after day.  Have they no pride in themselves and their community?

John MacKenzie, the only other (with admittedly limited reach) voice of the media in Cairns routinely blames everything on the "ratbag greenies".  So arrogant was he during the election that he encouraged Cr. John Schilling to  launch bitter and false personal attacks on Mayoral candidate Jim Brooks with impunity.  MacKenzie routinely allows commentary "on the air" that is in violation of the law.  Only after the lawyers went after 4CA's owners did MacKenzie and his other radio station brethren come to heel.  It is a sad confirmation on the collapse of media in Cairns.

Those of us here during the 90's remember the robust debate about the appropriateness and environmental impact of the Skyrail project.  Sure MacKenzie attacked the "ratbag greenies" for not rolling over, but the Cairns Post presented both sides of the issue in the fair and balanced way.  Debate was vigorous but respectful.  The result was that the community got a much better project than what was originally proposed - it was constructed in a less-invasive manner and was required to include safeguards that, in hindsight, made the difference.  We all benefit from open, robust consultation that is organized around a fair and robust news media.

As a federal election begins to loom on the horizon, it's obvious that Warren Entsch is already confident that the Cairns Post won't ask any hard questions.  Why has the "insurance crisis" now collapsed with the homeowner as the loser?  Why are our regional medical facilities so grossly underfunded?  And the Cairns Post has no problem publishing Entsch brainfarts - the tunnel under the Trinity Inlet a gross example of something so technically unfeasible to be a joke, and yet the Cairns Post gave it cover space!

While blogs in Cairns have made up some of the missing investigative analysis, bloggers alone can't be the core of a healthy community.  Clearly the Cairns Post is operating outside of the norms of even NewsCorp operations in other cities around Australia.  

It's time the Cairns Post, the ABC, and other news media started doing their jobs.