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

02 November 2013


In a stunning reversal, Cairns nonRegional Council Mayor Bob "Sleepy" Manning announced that Council would be funding (with cash and even DEBT) the (now $22M) (over)development of the mostly disused Tobruk Pool.  AND FAST TRACKING THE STUPID IDEA!

When the planning for the pool was originally revealed by Manning in July, it was said to rely on infusions of cash from both the State and Federal governments (both of which are now LNP "mates" with Manning).  And despite blowhard Minister for Blogs Warren Entsch continually spruiking his "sports tourism" idea, his LNP colleagues listen to nothing this man says anymore - - his credibility less than zero.  Sports Tourism is going on the Entsch "rubbish dump" along with this tunnels to East Trinity and Kuranda, and the 150,000 cattle he hopes to send to PNG for grazing.   

The original Council plan for Tobruk included a $5M "private enterprise" contribution for a health club.  This has also been greeted with a giant yawn by the big health club companies, who've all observed it is economically unfeasible.

So the so-called "fiscally responsible" Manning has now confirmed Council will "go it alone" on the $22M expenditure with the dubious excuse that it needs to be completed by "the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli".  It's unclear what Tobruk, named after a WWII North African Battle, has to do with Gallipoli, is baffling, to say the least.  

The Tobruk proposal as it stands is short fully $11M.  

The project has been pushed by Cr. Max O'Halloran - who's a Life Member of the Tobruk Pool Association, which would seem to disqualify him from voting on the project.

The decision to pour more money into this white elephant is baffling to many in the community.  The location on Cairns' busiest entrance to the city has many real estate professionals wondering why Council doesn't sell off this site and put the replacement in a cheaper location with better access and parking.  This looks to many like $22M flushed down the dunny.  $22M of OUR money, 'natch.

One Council insider has reported that many of the councillors are now pushing several "pet projects" to be approved, with the argument that "Aquis is going to pay squillions in rates".

So where's the replacement theater these fuckers PROMISED would be delivered in four years?

If Manning is making the idiotic Gallipoli argument to justify throwing $22M down a rathole, anything is now possible by this group of invisible councillors.

We would note that council insiders have already told us that upgrades to sewage treatment facilities necessary to support the 10,000+ people dropped into Fung's Knob are estimated to cost a minimum of $90,000,000.  This doesn't count the road and transit upgrades, investment in additional infrastructure to support a huge permanent population influx, blah, blah, blah.

The reality is that rates from Aquis (who you can bet have already struck a "deal" with the Newman Government) will not be nearly enough to give the CnRC any additional cash.  O'Halloran and others know this full well and are pushing to get their own personal monuments built before the full financial impact of Aquis is exposed.


Wick Wire ... The Fuse Used To Link The ... NEWS said...

Newman the delusional right wing dictator has rolled out the red carpet for the chinese. To invite the public to join in on the fun of destroying the Judea christian ethos which is the foundation of all original constitutions, that has formed good govt instinctively by a discerning informed public, which has stood us in good stead so far living in first the world countries .... we have Created.

One has to remember the collective dumbed down spirit of communism IE collectivism, a more commonly used expression which was used effectively is the past against such Tyrannical Lunaticism fueled by media corporate interests the welfare state, police state and dont forget the entertainment and propaganda industrial military complex influencing BIG Brother Govt decisions and policy.

This is the mechanism Dictators have used through out history to glorify themselves endlessly. The big money now on offer through this mechanism now has to be mirco managed very carefully. This is a ruse Government continually deludes tax payers with so easily.

No prosperity will be allowed ( MARX my words ) unless they is seen to be a conformity that is satisfying to the powers that be. (IE new Bikie laws) Go the Singapore and spit in the street to get a close up and personal idea of communism in practise as Law.

Casino's create SLUMS thus the whole idea. And what easier way is there, to destroy a proud peoples economy.

This is just the tip of the ICE BeRG of what is to come, Unless we as the Australians in the country the world is envious of as a free and proud people lose this Identity and freedom of prosperity to propel us forward into a worth while future.

Without the Revenge Based Mentality of left right politics. Every time an election is manipulated by this.

steven nowakowski said...

The inside machinations of the corrupt process to get Aquis up will one day be exposed on 4 Corners. Wait and see...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you HBW. Some of us have been struggling to understand how much this AQUIS development will cost us all. I never thought about the cost of sewerage, which when considering the hundreds of thousands of extra people coming into Aquis, Double Island, Kewarra Beach and Port Douglas, all places where the Chinese have bought tourist complexes, will be astronomical.

Matt H said...

As someone with many years experience with EIS assessment, I can say that today's release of the Aquis EIS and the reporting of it in the Cairns Post raises some serious alarm bells. Firstly, the consultant seems to be bullying the authorities into accepting a short time frame for the assessment, when in fact, there are no time restraints by the assessors.

Here's a quote from the CP article: "He said there might be "some gaps to fill" to meet the terms of reference for the EIS, but he expected the six-week public consultation period to start before Christmas." Firstly, I found the Terms of Reference to be really minimal in detail, yet the consultant admits that even so, the EIS has already failed to meet them. Secondly, the public consultation period is timed to occur over the Christmas holiday period, a very common ploy used by developers attempting to minimise any public comment.

I read that Council is going to spend $500,000 of ratepayers money outsourcing the assessment of this project. This begs the question that, if Council doesn't have that capability to do the assessment in house, then what chance does council have of managing the project itself, including all the massive infrastructure upgrades required, without major additional costs to the ratepayers.

Bob R. said...

So the CRC is already preparing to spend half a million dollars of ratepayers monies on Aquis? What the hell ELSE will ratepayers be expected to cough up? Who is going to pay for the sewerage costs which will be huge given the sheer numbers of people expected to pour in. Who is going to pay for a new electricity sub-station which Aquis will also require? Do we have enough water supplies?

Ginger TheRedHeeler said...

Get your priorities right HBW. Art and culture don't matter: our esteemed Mayor has already said that he and the missus fly to Sydney if they want to catch a show.

Sport matters! Sport is the only thing that is not filling potholes and sending profits to their developer mates that this Council care about.

Anonymous said...

Very astute observations as always Matt H.

I guess it depends what you mean by “authorities”. Effectively the Deputy Premier is the only authority for this project. The Project Director for the proposed development is well known in this town as a foul tempered (and mouthed) bully, having on many previous occasions over the years yelled personal abuse at government staffers of all levels and anyone else who might dare to pose a sensible question to his often ill-conceived proposals (many of those proposals have never come to fruitition). So much for the self aggrandising of this man who poses as an honest and devoted Christian patriarch of his local church; more un-Christian behaviour I cannot recall seeing from any other individual.

The assessing “authorities” will approve whatever they are told to approve by their respective masters; remember, this is the development we were told we having, no one ever asked the Cairns community what type of development we wanted.

Anonymous said...

No surprise that one aligned councillor is copping flack for daring to ask for appropriate supporting infrastructure

Anonymous said...

Thanks HBW for reminding me what an intellectual backwater this place is. Never thought we would ever endure another Bjelke Petersen style regime again. Seems Queenslanders really are too right wing/stupid to ever learn.

Anonymous said...

Aquis wont happen it is a fraud to take heat away from the fact that the LNP have achieved nothing other than economic destruction. King has a growing list of haters, with past favourites now smashing him publically with his fraudulent claims surrounding crime. King is trying to label them disgruntled because they are not funded, he is losing the debate and as a past critic of Team Wild I have to say possibly I was wrong and they seem to actually make sense. Aquis, Bikies and diversion tactics are thriving in this Government, Trout is as crook as his brother, Entch is still smuggling birds and King is too stupid to realise the public will vote them all out in 12 months and he wont be there to claim Aquis victory, but hey when it doesn't happen it will be the new Governments fault. I recall Newman stating he will go to early election, seems he isn't game now, wonder why.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Herr Newmann my support for his SSpecial police has waned somewhat. We need a senate housein Queensland to stop this idiocy that makes us the laughing stock of this nation.

Denis Walls said...

I have five key points to make about Aquis which I will have to send as five separate posts because of space limitations. Here is the first:

First, city, regional and coastal planning schemes will be overturned if this development is approved. These plans are the result of lengthy consultation and reflect community consensus about the nature of development and where our urban footprint should lie in relation to varied social, economic and environmental criteria. These plans are the result, however imperfect, of democracy in action. For example, the Regional Plan for FNQ 2009-2031 envisages our region as a world class, ecologically sustainable tourism destination. It is intended to protect areas with landscape and rural production values like the northern beaches from incompatible developments such as Aquis. The construction of a 27 storey tower and three 18 storey buildings at Yorkeys Knob, on a known flood plain, as proposed by this development, is inconsistent with the existing local planning scheme and the regional plan. It will create a dangerous precedent leaving the door open for further high-rise developments on the northern beaches.

Denis Walls said...

Second, the cost benefit analysis of this development for the local economy requires closer examination. The economic viability of the current development proposal needs to be demonstrated. There is no published business plan for its $4.2 billion construction and advertised $2 billion annual turnover. Nor is any information available regarding the investors, except Mr Tony Fung who is the sole owner of the proponent company Aquis Resort at the Great Barrier Reef Pty Ltd. There is a long history of broken promises and environmental damage as a consequence of large, failed developments in Far North Queensland. One need only look to Port Hinchinbrook or False Cape as recent examples, and both of these are on a scale that pales into insignificance compared to Aquis.

It is also important to scrutinise the future of the Chinese tourism market on which this development depends. Who can guarantee that many thousands of Chinese visitors will travel long distances to an expensive destination like Cairns when Chinese-speaking Macau, with its numerous casinos, is right next door? Cairns has already learnt of the inherent danger of depending on the Asian tourism market which can be significantly affected by a wide range of factors including economic downturns, the high Australian dollar, extreme weather, disease outbreaks and increasing travel costs. The FNQ regional economic development strategy has recognised that it is essential to diversify the Cairns economy, but if Aquis proceeds the local economy will be overly dependent on one company in one sector of a very risk exposed industry over which we will have no control.

The assumption that the development will provide residents with large scale permanent employment also needs to be questioned. Far North Queensland’s main training provider, TNQTAFE, is experiencing sweeping budget cuts and cannot provide quality training for local jobs’ growth on the scale envisaged by Aquis. In addition, few locals can speak Chinese and, in consequence, the resort may prefer to employ Chinese workers. This should not be construed as a criticism of Chinese workers but raises the question of how many long term jobs this development will really create for local residents.

Denis Walls said...

Third, the economic and social impact of the casino, which is the key component of the Aquis development, is a major concern. Significantly, the current Cairns casino struggled for many years to break even. Following the recent state government decision to allow seven casinos in Queensland, doubts have already been expressed that even Brisbane, with a population of over 2 million, may not be able to sustain two casinos. While the Aquis casino is primarily designed for the additional tourists it will attract, it is reasonable to ask how Cairns, with a population of only 150,000, could support two casinos. At the very least it will severely impact on the operation of the existing casino while employment in businesses in the Cairns Central Business District may also be affected as jobs move to this mega development attracted by its range of retail and tourism activities.

Researchers Francis Markham, from the Australian National University (ANU), and Martin Young, from Southern Cross University, are among many who have written about the negative impacts of gambling on communities. “When locals spend money at casinos, it drains income from other businesses, or syphons household savings into the pockets of multinational corporations and billionaires like James Packer” . They also state: “recent research suggests that poker machines in casinos are more dangerous than those in clubs or hotels (and) there is good reason to worry that the expansion of existing casinos and the development of new ones will only increase the harm gambling does to the Australian community” . Chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, Tim Costello, emphasises the point. “If you spend $1 million on gambling, you create two or three jobs, $1 million on hospitality you get 20 jobs, on retail 100 jobs. High rollers only ever account for 11 per cent in the casino. The rest of casino profits are accounted for by 'the grind' a term used for locals, largely playing pokies and tables.” Between $7 million and $11 million is lost on pokies every month in Far North Queensland alone . Another significant community concern and potential social harm of a mega-casino development near Cairns is the fear of organised criminal activity similar to that reported over the last two years at Sydney’s Star Casino.

Denis Walls said...

Fourth, there are many environmental concerns linked to the Aquis development proposal. Where, for example, will the massive amount of excavated and potential acid sulphate soil waste be dumped and treated? In addition, scientific studies and topography point to a possible change in the course of the Barron River through Thomatis Creek adjacent to the development site. The latter is the shorter and steeper route to the sea and conditions already exist for this to occur in the event of major flooding.

Denis Walls said...

Finally, and most importantly, there will be an inevitable and detrimental change to the character of Cairns and the Marlin Coast from a moderately sized eco-tourism destination in keeping with the environment, to an artificial gamblers’ paradise which will dramatically increase population and most likely result in more such high-rise mega-developments. The construction and operation of Aquis will lead, by conservative estimates including Aquis’s own projections, to a 25% increase in population over the next five years. This is quite out of keeping with the nature of development in Cairns over the last 20 years which has seen steady 2% annual population growth largely allowing the city to keep pace with physical and social infrastructure demands.

A population of around 200,000 by 2018 would place enormous pressures on our geographically constrained environment. The natural environment and quality of life that characterise Cairns will be threatened. Increased population density will require more housing and high-rise buildings and further widening of highways. Water, waste and sewerage systems will be severely stretched and more schools and hospitals will be required. Noise levels, both during construction and afterwards with the increase in air traffic, will have a significant impact on locals’ quality of life.

Clearly the Aquis proposal at Yorkeys Knob merits considerable discussion and review. Such deliberation is essential before state and federal governments sanction a development which is likely to have irrevocable, adverse, long term consequences, transforming Cairns and its current environment and lifestyle forever.

Denis Walls said...

The last paragraph should have said, 'state and local governments'. Apologies for the typo.

It is clearly vital that concerned members of the community make their voices heard as loudly and clearly as possible given the headlong rush by local, state and federal politicians as well as News Ltd into supporting this unknown development behemoth.

Anonymous said...

As long as aquis pays for the roads,sewage,electricty,drainage,
water,other headworks and we the rate payers aren't hit with some kind of levi which will happen when they dredge.I can't see the current state govnt finding the half to one billion or so to pay for the above for an eye sore this size.

Anonymous said...

Great points Denis Walls. Plus the infrastructure required to service such high population growth, both resident and visitor, will be very high cost wise and who will pay is the billion dollar question.

Property values in casino towns rarely go up, often stay about the same and at times drops. Key is medium income before the casino is developed. In 1st world nations it is more likley to devalue property as average incomes are reduced due to low income industry domination.

So it is more than likely that after a few years of activity, when all dies dow, the town is left struggling with debt, high rates and low incomes.

For evidence we need go no further than our own backyard. Massive mining projects have resulted in increased wealth for foreign investors, workers that have migrated to QLD and only a few Queenslanders. For most we are left paying the debts.

Anonymous said...

Re Tobruk. In some ways developing North Cairns into a sporting centre makes sense. They have the tennis centre and could add in time a velodrome to cement it as a world class permanent athlete village.

BUT... it is not what people have said they wanted. The message was clear, rates, roads and rubbish only. The election was based on the CEP, a project that would have cost ratepayers about the same after State/Federal funding and funds from sale of civic centre and previous council land purchase. So they have no mandate at all to spend on glamour projects.Being a white male does not mean there are different rules, does it?

Alison Alloway said...

Well said Denis Walls. I have just spent a few days at Kewarra Beach and enjoyed the idyllic beachfront there, watching just a handful of people daily walking their dogs or enjoying a peaceful bar-b-que dinner. What will happen to these beachfronts once the Port Douglas, Double Island and Kewarra Beach resorts are open to the new wave of tourists? As I looked at the tranquil and vessel free ocean, I could picture a never ending flotilla of hydrafoils, water taxis, seaplanes and even a ferry carrying hundreds of passengers daily from the Port Douglas resort, the Double Island resort, Kewarra Beach etc to the Aquis Resort and back again. The jetty at Palm Cove would be heavily used. Ditto Yorkeys Knob where talk has been that the big cruise ships may be anchored nearby. Not forgetting that the owner of Double Island also wants ships to anchor close to the island. The beaches themselves, normally fairly pristine and free of rubbish, would be subject to an increase in garbage. Overhead of course, the increase in international air travel will see more planes arriving and departing from the nearby international airport, forever disturbing the relative tranquillity of the beach suburbs. Beachfront land will boom, with the building of more resorts, hotels, tourist attractions etc. We are in the calm before the storm and most people don't understand it.

Tony Hillier said...

Local residents would be well advised to take heed of Denis Walls's valid and cogently made points and well-grounded warnings.

Anonymous said...

"Plus the infrastructure required to service such high population growth, both resident and visitor, will be very high cost wise and who will pay is the billion dollar question" ...
Just as well we didn't commit to that stupid overpriced Entertainment Centre then ... eh?

And as for the doom-sayers ... heard it all before, when the sky-rail was being planned and subsequently built.
Those "horrible towers" were going to desecrate the pristine hill side where all the scavenging creatures live.

NYM said...

Anonymous 20.45, are you for real? How could you possibly make any comparison to Skyrail with this huge AQUID development? have you any idea how massive AQUIS is? Your logic is irrational to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Ironically the Entertainment Precinct was fully costed and funding was accounted for Anon 20:45 This is yet another pie in the sky easy way out for the LNP whereby they expect the private developer to be Father Christmas and foot all the hundreds of millions of dollars of essential infrastructure. Through any stretch of the imagination there is no way you can compare this massive foreign casino development to a tourist attraction like Skyrail either.

mickwow said...

These Chinese investors will be far to smart for the likes of Sleepy Manning,silly old Max O'hallaran and the likes.This bunch of old farts are better suited to opening school fetes not making monumental decisions on Cairns future

Anonymous said...

Sky rail is not even close and Entertainment centre spare change for an asset the people own. Higher rates to pay for infrastructure for foreign entities that does not offer anything in return is idiotic. Your comment simply displays your inability to comprehend the issue. Also how has sky rail benefited Cairns? SImply means money spent in Kuranda is money not spent elsewhere. Never heard of anyone travelling to Cairns because of it.

Anonymous said...

Manning and O'Halloran, Schilling and Richardson etc will all be retired and a long way away from Cairns once the shit hits the fan with the AQUIS Resort. I predict the developer will "run out of funds" at some stage of construction and put the squeeze on the State or Federal Governments with all the rednecked hillbillies working on the construction site all screaming and shrieking their support. Yep I reckon Fung knows what he is doing and this resort will not be fully funded by his corporation.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm hoping it all goes to plan, that way property values go thru the roof.I can sell up make a huge bucket of cash and get the fuck out of this shit hole.

Anonymous said...

They'll get an approval... find out it is too expensive to build... convert it into a residential canal estate instead (or similar), and sell it off as that. They (Fung) will make money in abusing a very cheap Rural zoned cane paddock and reap the benefits of massive up-zoning and its associated massively increased property valuation. That is probably how they make their money, folks. All this is definitely against the town plan - the very reason $500k is being spent by CRC on outsiders to give a planning approval for it..

Four lane roads, entertainment centres, square sporting stadiums, giant aquariums and mega-water theme parks, light rail and everything else semi-promised will never happen.

I mean seriously! How can you do a proper environmental impact assessment in about 8 weeks on a plan that has no serious substance to it. All we have now is some really poorly done artist's impressions of this brain-bubble development.

This will be an embarrassing Four Corners report for Cairns, one day.. that is for sure.

Dean said...

Anonymous, you forgot the final step. When the current owner goes bankrupt during construction, the govt bails it out, by taking on the building of infrastructure.....then sells it back to the original investors via some other company name at a discounted price on much more agreeable terms..

Ginger TheRedHeeler said...

Very informative set of posts. Thanks.

Ginger TheRedHeeler said...

Don't worry about how the Council are going to fund their new sporting empire. They've got it all sorted. They'll make megaloads of budget savings by sacking half their local workforce. Oops, I mean asking them gently if they wouldn't mind travelling an extra 80k's each day to go work in the Tablelands or Daintree. Never mind the other Council don't want them. Never mind the waiting lists the rest of us will have to go on each time we want to register a dog or have our housing extension approved because all the staff budget has been spent on yet another sports facility.

Anonymous said...

14:20 Property values will not go through the roof. If they do go up it will be initially then they will drop again so sell up first year of construction. If you research this you find casino has no impact on property values and if it does it reduces property values. If they do go up it will be due to pent up demand.

Jan from Kewarra said...

I hate to rain on Dennis's parade about the AQUIS development going against local, regional and coastal plans.

When have these government planning instruments ever protected or stopped an inappropriate development?

1) Buchan Point - Ratcliff (highrise on a hillslope)

2) Argentea - road through a wetland and coastal clearing

3) False Cape - say no more

Just to name a few.

They get the green light and the protection policies are not worth the paper they are written on!

steveo said...

Bob Manning and his Unity Councillors will all have fucked off to very lucrative (THANKS to the fucktards of Cairns) retirements and will all be laughing and laughing their guts out once the shit from AQUIS hits the fan. It will be the next Council and the next lot of MPs who have to deal with the crap.

Steven Nowakowski said...

Another serious scenario that could play out is thus:-

i)Fung gets all govt. approvals
ii) Fung gets casino and gambling licence (worth a fortune)
iii) Fung builds Stage 1 being one casino and one hotel.
iv) Fung sells the project with further approvals to expand to investors plus the accompanying casino licence.
v) Fung makes a profit whilst the new owners (investors) may or may not build Stage 2 onwards. Further Stages would consist of more hotels, stadiums and water parks etc.

To think we are so niaive to believe everything reported through the Murdoch press is irresponsible and short sighted.

Steven Nowakowski said...

Is it possible to reduce the swearing on this site because it limits the credibility of the content and gets shrugged off by our foes as foul mouthed radicals.


Steven (and other readers),

We believe that some of the saltier language has been scaled back on the blog since it was first established.

It is sometimes however necessary for the writers to convey their strong emotions on a subject. Profanity does just that.

This isn't your mother's newspaper.


sunfish said...

As a sometime regular lap swimmer at trobuk cost is an issue. It's already about $4 a session there. So often these upgrades mean an increase in real cost of regular lap workout. I'm not against an upgrade but I am hoping the public does not get slammed with increased admission costs to recoup the expensive facilities. Seen this happen so
Many times elsewhere. Daily lap swim becomes a unaffordable luxury while providing Olympic class facilities for elite athletes subsidized by local ratepayers. Isn't this about providing an affordable venue for locals to exercise in. My rates already provide tourist operators in Cairns with a beautiful lagoon which is useless for lap swimming. Now I'm gonna be hit with providing gold plated facilities for athletes. No wonder obesity is on the rise. If this scenario materializes there will be more than a financial cost to the community.

Anonymous said...

wanking set off alarm bells this morning on whatshisname show by saying IF all these large developments go ahead, me thinks it might be a noshow

Tony Hillier said...

Sunfish: As a Tobruk Pool lap swimmer of some 25 years standing, I fully share your concerns. Better to leave the facility as it is, than price it out of the range of all but well-heeled citizens.

Anonymous said...

Steven Nowakowski. We #@$%^&*$ swear because it %$#@%&* enriches our argument and %$#@^&*^ makes a %$#^&*%$# point when nobody is ^%$#@^& listening to us. So there. Democracy and $#@%&*@ freedom of expression in one small letter. Thanks HBW for printing this. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

To Steven Nowakowski

Well, what else would do you expect from the left wing rabble ...

A bit of class?

You gotta be jokin'

They need some education first.

Anonymous said...

21:11 The left are the only educated ones. The right are the lowest class out, all racist redneck greedy bogans. They believe the bible but not science books. !

Anonymous said...

Trivia of the day. Did you know that according to the book and the definitive history of Hitler called "The Third Reich" by Michael Burleigh, Hitler seriously considered calling his fledging party "The Liberal Party Of Greater Germany" My point is. Isn't our temporary premier cando a Liberal?