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

07 July 2014


When Bob "Sleepy" Manning was selected to lead the disUnity team by former Mayor Kevin "Hiding from the Pakis" Byrne, it was clear that a Manning administration would be pro-developer in the Byrne style.  

The Byrne style?  The huge, tasteless "prison tower" unit
blocks built by (bankrupt) developer Tom Hedley.  The "ghetto style" unit blocks that were plopped into suburbs like Trinity Beach and Clifton Beach by (bankrupt) developer Udo Jattke.  The narrow streets serving huge houses on 400 sq meter allotments - leaving residents to park their too-many cars, tinnies, RV's, and other detritus on their front gardens.

With residential development ground to a halt during the Manning term, the damage to the community by his decisions look to be unprecedented for any regional centre in Australia.

Pushed by architect never-was Terry James, one of the Cairns nonRegional Council's first actions was to proffer a "fee waiver" for commercial developers in order to try and spark new construction.  On September 26 2012, these Councillors (who were not provided any detail as to the developers or projects under consideration) approved 22 projects for fee waivers totally $10.5M.  A clever trick allowing the Councillors to give money to developer friends without declaring their conflicts!  To date the projects given this Council largess have never been identified.

And the $10.5M in missing infrastructure income is shown nowhere in Council budgets - despite the fact that these expenditures will of course need to be paid for by us, the taxpayers, at some point.  Claiming to have "balanced the Council budget" without accounting for this Council gift to the developers is fraudulent budgeting.

A $10.5M project with NO oversight, community review, or accounting for fiscal impact.  

Manning (like Byrne before him) talks lovingly about emulating Singapore.  Apparently they've never took a good look around Singapore and seen the heavy emphasis on transport planning.  While you see cars on the streets, they get parked at home and work in projects that have planned enough car parks.  You don't see buildings dropped on the lot lines, but buildings that allow greenspace and light on the streets.  

In the last few months, the Manning largess has continued unabated.  The proposal for an Aquarium in the CBD (on a site 1/3 the size of the Perth Aquarium of Western Australia) was encouraged by Council development staff when meeting with the proponents.  Clearly the site is much too small.  

When the Aquarium received a conditional Development
Approval, proponents were told by Council they needed to meet their (modified) parking requirement of 114 as well as the upgrades to adjacent streets and lighting.  The developers began voicing their anger at Manning and James.  How dare they require us to pay for these things (i.e., like every other developer in Cairns)!  Streets?  Fix your own bloody streets, they bellowed!  Parking?  Lots of parking on the streets, they shouted!  (A similar sized aquarium in Perth has over 500 carparks).  They don't even want to design awnings over the walkways for pedestrians in the rainy season (also a feature of "tropical city" design like in Singapore.)

So another gift was bestowed by Manning, and Manning alone (as written in the resolution, pg. 20).  With the entire Council approving, the infrastructure charges were waived IN FULL, and subject to negotiation, the parking charges as well.  Likely a $5M gift to the developers of the Aquarium (who have a business plan that excludes "locals discounts", say insiders).  

A likely $5M give-away by Council with NO accounting in the budget for the lost revenue and capital works that are now being paid by the taxpayers!  An investment this big in a private project should have at least got ratepayers some ownership shares in the aquarium!

On April 28th, in a speech to the Northern Australia White Paper committee, Manning complained about the growth opportunities in FNQ being squandered by lack of infrastructure - mentioning water, road, and electrical generation as areas in need of immediate help.

And with this backdrop of an already substandard infrastructure, Bob Manning said to the Cairns Post this week about Aquis:  ". . . the sheer magnitude of the project and how headworks charges would be applied was on a level never encountered before in Cairns".  "It's way beyond what the council has encountered before and we are going to have to be flexible, we have to be adaptable, and we have to be innovative on how we apply our policies".  

One needs to wonder why Bob Manning uses the "past tense" in describing what Council should be doing.  Shouldn't it be  ". . how headworks charges WILL be applied IS on a level never encountered before in Cairns".

From the day this project was first announced, the HBW position is that "the fix is in" to approve this project and nothing the public can do or say will derail it.  Our view to this day. 

Taxpayers take note:  Aquis, with an EIS that says nothing about the costs that Council and others will incur in support of this Yorkey's Monstrosity, and a Council that believes "flexible and adaptable" means giving away the store - we're about to be thrown under the bus with a project sign-off by Council now only a mere formality.

Negotiations over contractually-required payments by the Chinese owners of the $3.5B Baha Mar resort and CASINO in the Bahamas have seen the government there already fighting with the developers - and the place won't be open until this December!    

Bob Manning negotiating with Tony Fung?  We're well and truly fucked, mate.

The group Aquis Aware is holding an Information Symposium at JCU this Thursday at 7:00 PM.  


Anonymous said...

never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Your as bad as the post, at least they do some research.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that the 6 million Manning saved on this years budget was pretty well a result of sacking 140 plus staff and then saving on not paying redundancy payouts as per their award, signed by the current council by the way. Anyone of the seven dwarfs can do that, it is another thing to save 6 million by good management. Re Aquis.I smell a rate payer levi coming our way real soon.

Anonymous said...

Business are the real leaners in QLD. Just watch this casino, probably cost us a billion so foreigners on 457 visa can get work.

Anonymous said...

To 7/7/14 09:21"never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Your as bad as the post, at least they do some research." For future reference 'you are' contracts to 'you're' but more importantly what is the point of your post? Make the discussion worthwhile by providing some evidence to support 'your' implication that what is stated here is untrue.

Anonymous said...

The proof anon 19.15 was and is the devastation it caused to those who lost there jobs when times are tough enough. The proof is the "just made it budget" that Port Douglas brought down having to pay redundancy's for staff that had never worked for their council and the rate payers of that town had to pay for.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is about time that enormously paid burecrats in Council such as the like of report writers as Peter Boyd and Kelly Reason be put before the Crime and Misconduct Commission, if it still exists in Newman-land (?,) for inappropriately allocating a huge amount of rate payer's money (IE. millions) to developers..

Demonstrate the benefit to us poor rate payers please...