"For a large ship to be based inside the cyclone belt is highly problematic. All ships have to undergo maintenance and you cannot spend over six months of the year not having maintenance. If you have got a ship that is in maintenance that cannot move within its normal notice for sea; so, if it is at extended notice for sea it might be a week, or it might be two weeks before it could be put back together and moved. You clearly do not have that warning in somewhere like Townsville or Cairns.
Now, what do we do with the smaller ships in Cairns? We put them up on the river. Some ships can go and beach up onto the river bank, and that is what our cyclone strategy is. Wherever possible we get them to sea. Others can go up onto the hard stand and be strapped down for the duration of the cyclone. You cannot do that with a 16,000 tonne ship like Choules and you cannot do it with a 27,000 tonne ship like the LHD. I think the whole discussion around basing the LHD and Choules in Townsville or Cairns has some really serious flaws just based on that.
You then have the industrial support base issue, which you currently do not have for a number of the technologies in those ships, particularly the electric propulsion plant, the command and control and communication systems. That is another factor."
It's just too dangerous for the navy to base significant assets in Cairns with the threat of cyclones and the lack of any electronic or IT skills in the Cairns population.
Sadly, it won't stop the dickhead politicians from running sticking this dead idea before the increasingly ignorant electorate in Cairns at every stinking election.