4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

12 August 2012

SECRET SHANGRI-LA PLAN TO PAY FOR SO-CALLED THEATER PROJECT UNCOVERED!

Investigations at the highest levels are starting to reveal the secret plans being discussed with only a small handful of politicians in Cairns and Brisbane.  Sources have revealed that even Member for MacKenzie Gavin King has not been privy to the details, with one insider referring to him as a "grandstanding bigmouth".

The core question around this new proposal - having seen every mayoral team and candidate lined up against Val Schier, all adamantly insisting that a theater will not draw tourists to Cairns:  Why does Shangri-La management suddenly believe this is false?  How do they expect such a project to benefit Shangri-La (because clearly they have no real interest in the Cairns community needs).  Their proposal just doesn't make sense.  Until you know the facts - there is one way to make a theater on this site work.

CASINO

The Shangri-La hotel chain, based in Hong Kong, has been a stunning success in Mainland China.  Their Shangri-La, Kerry, Traders, and related hotel brands are seen as the pinnacle of Chinese hotel development, and they've been planning to parlay this market position to capture the huge revenues associated with gambling. In addition to the insider reports, all the evidence about Shangri-La points to their gambling growth strategy being first implemented in Cairns.

An outside analysis of Shangri-La operations revealed the depth of Shangri-La's growth problems.  The recommendations to management were that "Shangri-La needs to make some heavy investments into the hospitality sector to make a base. . " and, for growth, "their product line offerings should be expanded. .to include. .Casinos"




And even what purport to be internal planning documents from Shangri-La show their desperate need to shore up revenues, profits, and their share price in line with their competitors who all are benefiting from casino operations.

In order to shore up their growth and follow these recommendations, Shangri-La committed almost US$1B to the giant second-stage Sands China Macau hotel and casino project.  However their agreement with Sands China management was terminated, so the company has been looking for other, less competitive markets where their Chinese hospitality synergy could be used.  Likewise, Shangri-La's committment to the Echelon Place project in Las Vegas has collapsed along with the rest of this project, in this troubled gaming capital.  Nevertheless, Shangri-La had been adding management ranks skilled at casino operations and then began to look at Australia, primarily Queensland.

Many in town are asking - why would Shangri-La believe they could get any money out of budget-slasher Campbell Newman?  Listening to the statements to the media by local Shangri-La General Manager George Wee however, he parses his words very carefully.  He's made statements like "we need to secure partnerships with the government" and "this is not a proposal just for the Shangri-La".

And shortly after the Newman-LNP election in Queensland, Shangri-La quickly closed on a hotel deal in Brisbane, which was thought to be contingent on the LNP being elected.  Are there Casino plans for this hotel, a stones-throw away from the Treasury Casino, as well?

We understand that there may be no disclosure of the casino angle until the pollies have been given time to sell the "partnership" idea to the public.  The residents will then be told about the casino, with the explanation "it's the only way this private/public partnership can work".  

You don't see China putting casinos anywhere in the Mainland, and will likely not see that in the future, if ever.  The Chinese government recognizes the scourge of gambling in their society, as does Australia. And the Mainland Chinese government refuses to have casino gaming on its home soil, despite the huge revenue stream.  Despite the evidence, I guess the Queensland government can develop this new revenue source, as long as it isn't "our" Chinese.  

The lack of consultation on the actual theater is only half the problem now.  And yet this project is now being slammed up the arse of Cairns residents, who've had zero input into the plans, and zero input in the idea of having a second casino, packed with overseas tourists, as the home of their new "Civic Theater".  Is that the kind of environment Cairns wants for our children attending or performing at the Eisteddfod, the Cairns Choral Society, the Christmas show, and the shows and concerts that visit the region?  

And if we're being lined up for "gambler's junkets" from Shanghai, and the direct flights soon from Guangzhou, are they going to have the least bit of interest in the Daintree, reef trips, Green Island, or any of our iconic tourist product?




51 comments:

ruby said...

Unbelievable. The possibility that our taxpayers monies originally given to us to build ourselves a new community owned and operated asset including a regional community theatre, available for all age groups, be given to a Chinese owned consortium to build a casino/hotel/theatre. And Gavin King said in The Cairns Post last week and I quote him verbatim:
"It's the sort of public-private partnership WE'VE said all along is critical to the project."

Have a close look at that statement. Who the hell does he mean is "WE"?? Hillbilly is correct. A small faceless group have been planning all of this for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Shangri-La is also working diligently in PNG to attract the high-fliers from there - most commonly crooked politicians with gangster/Triad Chinese and Malaysian associates. The Prime Minister. The Deputy Prime Minister. The Treasurer. The Minister for Pubic Enterprises. The rest of the Cabinet. Every other PNG politician.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Jethro said...

Well the more I think about it, the more doubtful I am that it will ever take off. I can't see the other hotel and tourist accommodation operators being too fussed on the idea. Nor the people running the Reef Casino for that matter. It seems like a hell of a lot of extra building to put on that small area of land as well where transport is already a problem. Would the city engineers even approve such a development? I dunno. Lsstly, yeah we sure as fucks sake knew there was some covert wheeling and dealing going on behind the opposition to Schiers Entertainment Precinct, but I doubt it was the work of anyone from Shangri-La. I have a hunch it was another certain "developer" whose plans might just have gone awry. I think Shangri-La have just seen the void, seen a business opportunity and just stepped up to it.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe a casino hotel and a regional community theatre are compatible. Over one thousand children, many of them very young children, attend the yearly Eisteddfods. It is just not suitable to conduct Eisteddfods in such an establishment. We have other youth grous who also require a regional theatre in which to perform. This offer of the Shangri-La is just not acceptable.
Manning and the Unity Team need to sit down and discuss what a "regional community" theatre is, and to understand that it is a non-profit facility for the enjoyment and use of the whole community, not a profit making enterprise for some foreign company.

T. Asquith said...

"Something is rotten in the State of Denmark"

Anonymous said...

Bring Back Val!

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

Another HUGE problem I can see immediately is the cost for hiring the venue for local groups and schools. A community owned theatre is able to be subsidised to allow for very cheap hire fees for local based arts performances. A business owned theatre, even one partly paid for by Government money, will not have that ability. Once again the Cairns community misses out. Sometimes its truly irritating being able to see the big picture.

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

Another HUGE problem I can see immediately is the cost for hiring the venue for local groups and schools. A community owned theatre is able to be subsidised to allow for very cheap hire fees for local based arts performances. A business owned theatre, even one partly paid for by Government money, will not have that ability. Once again the Cairns community misses out. Sometimes its truly irritating being able to see the big picture.

Crystal ball gazer said...

FROM Crystal Ball Gazer:

Fast forward to 2017

Five years is a long time in Cairns.........

The G20 Summit in 2014 has come and gone. Mayor Manning, resplendant in his Mayoral robes welcomed the international delegates to Cairns in the foyer of the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel/Casino/Theatre where a good proportion of the delegates were being accommodated. To the astonished gatherings, he announced that the complex was the result of a "private-public partnership" between the Chinese corporation and the Cairns Regional Council and stressed "how very proud" the Council was to have been part of such a venture. However Mayor Manning did not tell the international guests that the Council's contribution to Shangri-La had ultimately cost far more than the $16 million quoted by Shangri-La to build the theatre component of the complex. In late 2013, just six months before the summit, the corporation said it needed another $25 million if the building was to be completed. A stoush between the State and Federal Governments had ensued over who was to supply the extra funding. Newman flatly refused. The Turnbull Federal Government refused. It was left to Manning's Council to borrow the money to finish the complex. The ratepayers were left with the burden of paying the loan back something which the newly elected Mayor of Cairns, Rob Pyne, bitterly denounced before announcing that he had no option but to raise rates to pay back the loan. Meanwhile, Gavin King has been defeated in the recent State Election after only serving one term in office and Richie Bates has made the successful transition from Council to State Parliamentarian and is now the Member for Cairns. Mackenzie has retired and King has taken his place as "talk-back radio" host. Pearl and Phil are on the radio protesting in anger over their recent rise of 15% in rates. King delights in telling them that "Manning kept the rate rises low during his term as Mayor, yet as soon as Rob Pyne becomes Mayor, the very first year, the rates rise dramatically." Several shows have been performed at the Shangri-La Hotel/Casino/Theatre and local people are not happy with the facility. The tickets are too expensive compared with other community owned theatres in Queensland; the seating is uncomfortable and much too close together; the presence of corporate balconies for the well to do is culturally unacceptable, the lack of parking spaces has meant locals have had to walk a long distance to get to the theatre, and the bar attached to the Theatre is always full of casino or hotel guests. The community is grumbling loudly demanding a "community theatre same as that in Mackay and Townsville." Roland Diechter-Spraggs, the LNP Candidate for Cairns, makes several press releases denouncing Richie Bates for "failing to secure a community owned, community run asset such as a new performing arts theatre for Cairns." Roland Diechter-Spraggs publicly accuses Richie Bates of "not caring a stuff about the loocal population". Gavin King interviews Roland Diechter-Spraggs on his talk-back show and agrees heartily with what Diechter-Spraggs asserts. Bates is prevented from appearing on the show to tell the truth that when he was a Councillor in 2012 he backed the original proposal to build a community owned and operated Entertainment Precinct. Bates is enraged as King gathers traction from the sizeable population of newcomers in Cairns who have no prior knowledge of the history behind how Cairns managed to get a so called community theatre built into a private hotel/casino complex. King delights in taking calls from astounded Mexicans who denounce both the new Mayor, Rob Pyne and State MP, Richie Bates, as "idiots." He sits there and enthusiastically agrees with the callers.
Yes, five years is a LONG time in Cairns......

Mick of Mooroobool said...

A very well tuned and accurate crystal ball you have there CBG. So accurate in fact I was wondering if it could give some tips for the Melbourne Cup and the grand final!

Anonymous said...

It won't happen, unless we let it...Do you see a new Fitzgerald inquiry in a few years time Crystal Ball Glazer ?

Crystal ball gazer said...

Crystal Ball Gazer replied:

Anonymous, the Fitzgerald Inquiry was only ever able to get off the ground because several of Joh's own National Party were sickened of the corruption and turned against their own Government. There were decent and honourable people then in the LNP. It should be obvious to all, that there has been a major personal ethics and values shift not only in the lineup of politicians today but throughout the population in general. We are not the people we once were in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Jethro said...

Good one Crystal Ball Gazer. Once the people in the Far North are unable to secure tickets to see top shows, or are seated at the very back of a theatre crammed full of Chinese tourists, they will start up their favorite pastime of whinging, whining and moaning away and demanding "the govmint do somethink!".

Bob R. said...

The comment from Anthony Mirotsis from the Cairns Chamber of Commerce just astounds me. Either Mirotsis has just had a bloody gutful of the whole ugly debacle of the Entertainment Precinct, and just wants an instant solution to the imbroglio, or he is naive and impervious to the feelings of the other hoteliers in the area. Shangri-La if given the go ahead to build the theatre will surely get the Lions share of the accommodation bookings from the "show packages" advertised around Australia and S.E. Asia and not the other accommodation places in Cairns.
This cannot be good news for the other hotels in Cairns who struggle to fill their buildings for many months of the year. I reckon Mirotsis you need to go back to the drawing board.

Anonymous said...

I think the casino plan is quite frightening -there is nothing to suggest this in the CP reporting. If true this makes social media a valuable and essential tool in making the public aware of backroom deals. The Fitzgerald era did not have this medium but had to rely on disaffected MPs with the strength of will and moral fibre to expose corruption. (Does anyone remember who they were?) In this age of "Greed is Good" I can't see any of this current LNP bunch blowing the whistle on this matter, they are too busy cutting essential services and lying about the state of the economy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above, Joh's LNP Members who blew the whistle, thus forcing the Fitzgerald Inquiry included Lindsay Hartwig, Bill Gunn, Mike Ahern (later to become Premier after the National Party dumped Joh), Lin Powell, Vic Sullivan and others whom I cannot recall.

sneak peek said...

A sneak peek at the Pier's plans show the theatre to include the two floors of shop space at the Northern end, and out across the carpark.

[Don't ask, this could cost a job]

The theatre would start where the shops are now, on the left of the central space as you walk in.

This gives it a potential width of around 45 metres, and a length of 80 metres to the North-West corner, where the "Your Events Centre" is now.

The central area of the Pier would be the theatre lobby, probably brimming with bars.

k. nevill said...

sneak peak, do the plans show a casino or an area that is blank for a future casino?

Tony Hillier said...

Those who have only resided in Cairns for a few years might be interested to know that The Pier development (now a mighty White Elephant in the room, to use modern parlance) was fast-tracked in the '80s as something of a fait accompli by the then National Party/Bjelke-Petersen government's Minister For Everything big Russ Hinze, no doubt with support from his chief storm trooper (now Cueball correspondent) Herr Tenni. How strange, then, that as soon as the Nats return to power (with Liberal assistance, of course) a truly absurd and inappropriate proposal for the same (reclaimed) area should emerge. The "white shoe" boys are back in town ... don't you worry about that!

sneak peek said...

There was no mention of a casino from the person who saw the plans.

But, from my knowledge, the whole of the ground floor and half the first floor are a waste of time and space, I can't see the rents amounting to much.

Smithfield Sam said...

Sneak Peek's got it right. The whole of the centre court at the Pier is right where the casino will go. It's always been "wasted space". Every casino in the world with a theater makes the patrons walk thru the casino to get to the showroom.



Second Anonymous said...

Oh Crystal Ball Gazer,

Do you really predict Newman will still be Premier in 5 years time?

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to community consultation? Oh, that's right, silly me. THAT is only ever an issue when there is a female Mayor. A few faceless boyos are behind all this.

Crystal ball gazer said...

Crystal Ball Gazer says:

Campbell Newman will still be Queensland Premier with the LNP still very much in Government. There will be discontent and rumours of revolt within his own Party but Newman will maintain an iron fist over the ranks. Kate Jones will resurge in Ashgrove, so Newman will look around for a blue ribbon safe LNP seat for which to stand in the next election. The anti-Government vote will continue to be split between Katter's Party and the ALP providing the LNP with the winning edge. They will lose some seats next Election, although not many.

Anonymous said...

To get to the Lyric Theatre in Sydney you walk through the Star Sydney Casino
What's wrong with that?

Seth at Port said...

Wonder what the Reef Casino people are thinking right now? Wonder what other operators within the hotel trade are thinking as well? Preferential treatment being lavished on one Chinese owned complex by Manning and his Council and Gavin King while everyone else has to weather the highs and lows of the tourist industry. Not good. Being in the industry myself, I can report the grumblings have already started. You might recall one David Marriner had a similar proposal for here at Port.

Anonymous said...

The Lyric Theatre isn't a regional community theatre, Anonymous above. Sydney has a much larger population than our Far North Queensland and many more theatres. We have a need for a REGIONAL community theatre capable of serving all the Far North. The Lyric also does not host regional childrens eisteddfods.

Anonymous said...

There was a lot of opposition to the Pier when it was first built.The whinging on McKenzie went on for months. But it was actually quite popular with locals and tourists with legendary Sunday sessions, lots of eateries upstairs,arts shops, a good bookshop and an even better music shop. It pretty much kiled off nearby Trinity Wharf, which was also a very pleasant spot during it's heyday. Herr Tenni was often seen there. He always brought his own lunch. In a brown paper bag...Maybe the new theatre should be called the Russ Hinze Memorial Theatre.

Anonymous said...


May as well wave the Chinese flag. Over this town, every single bloody thing is driven by the sheeple from LNP who do as instructed without a friggin thought of their ow. The dumbing down of Cairns is well and truly complete

Al said...

Prediction: LNP may last more than one term, but the abrasive Little Can-Do; one! Even those in his own party dislike him. The knives will be out in the first term.

Terry Vance said...

Crystal ball gazer isn't the only one with prescience. My blog, "Cush over Cairns" which I commenced in April of last year, correctly predicted the big winners of the war on the Entertainment Precinct would be the Chinese. This is the "leg-in" to Cairns for the Chinese. No doubt they will offer a few sweeteners to soften community feelings.

Barry said...

This is just monstrous the idea of giving over to the Chinese our hard won and hard fought for Government funding for the Entertainment Precinct. What a swindle of taxpayers own money. Are you all happy now all you hillbillies, rednecks and bogans in Cairns? See where John Mackenzie and gobsnot King have led you to?

ECKERS, Disgusted said...

A pack of rabid dogs chased the windfall of over $100 million for an iconic building into the waiting hands of the Chinese. That sums it up in one sentence.

Jethro said...

Succinctly put there ECKERS, old chum. I could only improve on that by adding that Mackenzie and King were the pack leaders.

ruby said...

Oh well said ECKERS! I always look forward to your comments on this blog. They are often sharp and incisive. You have captured the horror of the past few years in one blunt sentence.

Liz said...

Very well put, ECKERS. I, too have many concerns about a community theatre being incorporated into a hotel/casino complex. Over one thousand children attended the regional Eisteddfod this year and numbers can only be expected to rise as the population increases. I believe this proposal by the Shangri-La does not accommodate the needs of children, many of whom attending the Eisteddfod are young children. Could their safety be guaranteed? I do not believe so. However, throughout the entire history of this ugly, hideous, venomous "war", very very little was ever said about the needs of the regions children. When one woman did raise the issue of childrens needs on The Cairns Post online site, I was astounded to see where she was instantly and strenuously mocked and insulted. The absence of responsible debate on the needs of children is a damning revelation of the incompetence of our so called civic "leaders."

Anonymous said...

Note the conspicuous silence by McKenzie and the hillbillies. You'd think Pearl would be ecstatic ? Maybe she is still in shock from the rate rise her favourite new Mayor dumped on her . Has McKenzie has been gagged while the secret deals are being worked out..? The mantra for months was that the CEP would do nothing for tourism. Now this proposal is suddenly going to be a tourist Mecca. The lies and hypocrisy are so blatant, it is absolutely revolting.

Anonymous said...

Mackenzie led the rednecks and hillbillies with the trite chanting of "white elephant" and "it wouldn't do anything for tourism". Now the Chinese have put their hand up, suddenly it's a different story. Yes, the hypocricy and the flip flopping is sickening.

Anonymous said...

So the plans for the theatre have been drawn up hey? Where's the community consultation? Remember how Mackenzie and his gaggle of hillbillies ranted on about that?

Anonymous said...

A good boot up the arse for the rest of the hotel industry here in Cairns and a nice generos handout of corporate welfare for the Chinese. Yeah this is going to go down real well hey Seth mate in the tourist industry. Yeah theyre spewin allright.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Other thing about the original CEP proposal - apart from the main theatre, there was also a smaller performance space, and also space for rehearsal rooms. And a small matter too of Stage 2 - a Museum. I don't think the Shangri-la proposal addresses any of that. Also - before they bought the Pier, it was a good place to go, lots of good shops, entertainment, food, a good vibe & so on. Since Shangri have had it, it has turned into a total mausoleum. If they couldn't keep the vibe of the Pier, what hope do they have of facilitating a community theatre? It's a nonsense, & yes, all I can see is a small theatre abutting a casino. I can't see the Reef Casino crew buying this. I think it's also worth remembering that apart from Rugnut & Mad Gavin K, & charmer such as Herr Tenni & Boring Barry Neall, one of the main reasons that Val's CEP didn't go ahead was also due to former Councillors Cochrane, Bonneau & Blake dragging their heels throughout the process. If those 3 hadn't been opposing every step of the way, we would possibly have had the funding secured, & cranes would be in the sky, as we speak. I have almost got to the point where I doubt whether Boring Bob has even a clue how to proceed - I don't think he'd know what elements are needed in a EP. And mind you campers, Mackay has not one, but two theatres! And let's not talk about Townsville.

jim-bob jnr. said...

Cochrane, Blake and Bonneau would all be proud proud proud they helped drive the funding straight into the hands of the Chinese. Yeah a friggin community theatre located inside a foreign owned casino/hotel. Yeah, sure as shit we're gonna take all our four and five year olds there to see Snow White and the friggin dwarfs. Yeah real good hey walking your little kid through bars full of drunks and a casino full of drunks before getting to the theatre. At least Blake, Bonneau and Cochrane got the arse from the voters.

Anonymous said...

Boring Bob hasn't got a clue. The other day he blamed Val for the Byrne site not going ahead. He reckoned if Val hadn't opposed it we now would have had a theatre. But a few weeks ago he said that the Byrne site was too expensive and not feasable. That was after he had said that he didn't know that state funding was site specific. The poor man is obviously very confused and is now banking on some Chinese carpetbaggers and their mates to get him out of the shit. The Shangri-La thing will never happen. It is too ridiculous even for Cairns. What about the carpark and access to the marina? You can't just block that off. And why does a multi national need government hand- outs ?Just build the CEP as planned originally Bob and stop dithering. Is there a new CEO yet or is Kevvie still waiting in the wings?

Barry said...

CaptaIN Mann(er)ing and his doddery Dad's Army could have proudly hosted the G20 from within a world class CITY BUILT AND OWNED brilliantly designed Entertainment Precinct. Yes, Grandad could have told the world, "This is what the city built with the stimulus monies given to us to tide us through the global financial crisis. We went out to the community and they provided the ideas you see here today." What great publicity that would have given Cairns and its community. Instead, fuckwitted old Mann(er)ing will point the G20 delegates to a Chinese owned hotel if they want to see a show. Frankly, Im hoping the full story of what Mann(er)ing, Mackenzie and King did with our stimulus monies gets told to the G20 delegates and the world journos who come here. It is worthy of world publicity the way the money was driven relentlessly straight towards the Chinese.

Anonymous said...

Mackenzie will think up something trite to sell the idea to the Pearls and the Phils out there who will suck it up. Wait and see.

shanghai said...

dont worry it wont happen can do wont cough up wont get past screwdiver he has no money maybe on the gold coast or sunshine coast with chairman clive u need people and money to justify cost we lack both what we need is a aquarim .... just joking

Seth at Port said...

Im wondering just how long this was cooking away, especially when KING the Member for Mackenzie says in The Cairns Post, "WE'VE said this all along, that a public/private partership is CRITICAL to the project." Note, how he said 'WE' and "ALL ALONG" although this is the first time we have ever heard King talk about a "public/private partnership."
This has obviously been in the wind for some time until young Russo, I believe, let it out of the bag. What the fuck else is King secretly and slyly doing? We now know he sat on the dredging report into the Cairns Inlet, and none of us know the recommendations of that yet. Apparently King has decided we arent worthy of knowing.

Kris said...

We have all been laughing here imagining how the Chinese must have had a bloody good laugh at the way Gavin King and John Mackenzie carried on about a new performing arts theatre being "a white elephant". The two of them must have mentioned that phrase a million times each. Now that the Chinese have put their hands up, the flip flop from King is just truly laughable.

Alison Alloway said...

I have just posted a comment on The Cairns Post online website, voicing my concerns over Newman's outsourcing of the main tuberculosis treatment centre in Brisbane to regional centres. Those of us who grew up in the Far North can recall when T.B. was a problem here. Let us hope that our front line medical staff allocated to treating and preventing the spread of this awful illness are not reduced, so that the contagion spreads again. My concerns have also been raised by the announcement of flights from mainland China to Cairns. China has the worlds second largest population affected by tuberculosis. Health officials there say at least 25% of this is infectious and there is a rise of multi-drug resistant strains. T.B. is an air-borne disease and can be spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting. I am posting my comments here because I don't know if The Cairns Post will publish my comment on their site. I well understand that there does need to be some sensitivity with the Chinese who are undoubtedly major investors in Australia, and that even expressing concerns over tuberculosis may arouse allegations of racism or other such emotional hyperbole, however we need to be vigilant with this disease. We cannot afford to be complacent and someone needs to say it.

Jethro said...

Alison, I have just read your comment on The Cairns Post website. I agree. This needs to be communicated with Gavin King who should be insisting with Newman that frontline medical staff allocated to preventing and treating this scourge are not reduced.

Anonymous said...

while on China flights, i have tried to find the "3 flights a week" supposedly on China Eastern but can only find at best one a week thru november to february with some weeks having no flights at all. Have we been conned again or am i being too quick to judge?
The only flights on China Southern are currently with connections with Virgin or Qantas from southern states at about $2000 per seat return. Hope this is not the proposal as not many will fly at that price.
As a comparison China Eastern flies Shanghai to Singapore for about $200 one way. So where do you think the chinese will go?!?