|LAGOON VISITORS LOOKING FORWARD TO FIRST|
MEGASHIP CRUISE SHIP VISITS TO CAIRNS
The focus is now on the "Cairns Cruise Shipping Development Strategy", a mysteriously hidden document that is currently open for an unusually short three-week consultation period. Gavin King's website touts it, but doesn't have a link to it and staff refuse to respond to requests for it. Likewise the Ports North website. And previously mooted Queensland government departments said to have it available do not. It has however been found here: TRINITY INLET DREDGING
Most will recall the fanfare given when this study was first undertaken by the previous Labor government, who employed BMT Group to begin work on analysis for this project. A report that mysteriously was never released by the Bligh government, nor the Joh Bjelke Newman government. And yet this document is referenced in the now available Strategy report. Ports North has confirmed that NONE of the references cited in their report will be released to the public. So what are they all hiding?
We have confirmed the BMT Group report was finished and was "washed" thru the Bligh cabinet room, blocking it from release. Suggestions from Bligh government insiders are that the BMT report shows clearly the financial absurdity of spending over $100m to dredge this port, or in fact spending anything at all (except should the military decide to expand dramatically HMAS Cairns. Then they've got to worry about Bryan Law and his garden implements. . .). Shockingly, insiders from Carnival have read the Strategy report, and the assumptions contained in it to justify this huge expenditure of public funds. And from their comments, it's clear we're wading into a government shitstorm of cyclonic proportions.
|CAIRNS MAYOR BOB "MICKEYMOUSE" MANNING|
GREETS FIRST CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS,
AND THEN GETS A NAP
And where is the infrastructure to clear 5000 passengers into Cairns? We are told that if every federal immigration inspector employed in Cairns was on duty at the port, it would take over three hours to process these 5000 people when they came in. And they'd be required to clear them on the way out, too. No mention of this little tidbit in the Ports North report. Funny that.
And how many of these 5000 could be accommodated on our two most popular day trips - the reef and Kuranda train? And what about the other 3500?
And the next prediction that this dredging would allow Cairns to be a "home port" for one or more of these megaliners is not only absurd, but has been categorically rejected by Carnival ON THE RECORD. Carnival has told Ports North that Cairns couldn't even be considered for home porting a smaller, 2000 passenger ship.
The reasons for this are myriad, clear, and insurmountable by dredging. A 5000 passenger ship requires 5000 inbound air passengers - 14 747's full. Every week. And out again. To the most expensive airport in Australia. Likewise the services a home port ship would require. Food. With Cairns having all of its food trucked-in, a huge cost impost compared to Brisbane or Sydney. Same with fuel. And maintenance. Availability of crewing (most of which are foreign nationals). As our Carnival insider said "with Australia having the highest cost ports in the world, we're taking steps to reduce Australian-ported ships". And while the Carnival P&O Australia brand is growing, it's being used by Carnival to dump older, smaller ships into our market - they see little demand for megaliners based in Australia. No mention of any of this in the Ports North report, either. Funny that.
Information from this Carnival insider has been verified with Carnival's own documents including an extensive strategy report that refutes much of the Ports North Strategy report. And further evidence of the poor growth in the Aussie market came just a few weeks ago, when Carnival decided on Singapore as the location of their new Asia Pacific office, in a snub to Sydney who had been vying for this business.
The Strategy report also has several other disturbing revelations that will be exploited or ignored, depending on the political winds. While Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King, Member for Mackenzie, was heard to comment that the spoil dumping area was only "slightly larger" than the existing dumping area, it is in fact over 300% larger - with the risk of further silting of the Barron River outfall, and beach damage further north including at Palm Cove. Are we enticing day visits at the loss of weekly holiday visitors? And of course these big megaships are going to be mowing down dugongs and turtles by the thousands - but according to Bob Irwin's man servant Colin Riddell, all will be mowed down in a human way by non-indigenous ship captains. And then served with salad and chips on whole wheat at the Cairns Cruise Liner terminal.
We'll be putting our objections into the LNP Minister of Ignorance, but we all know where these objections are going to be filed.