The big end of town however is busy feathering their nests on the backs of the battlers.
The uproar over the New Year's Eve Manning-King Transport Debacle (NYEMKTD) is all the talk in the city this week. Primary blame for this fiasco goes to Bob "Sleepy" Manning and his cost-cutting council. Twice this year, Manning has sat before the press and crowed about the "budget surplus" his council is showing. At the end of the fiscal year he claimed $6.5M in surplus. And just a few weeks ago, he claims that already this year Council is showing a $2M surplus.
|CAIRNS COUNCIL NOW ALLOWS BUSINESS|
SIGNS ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE
AS THE BIG END OF TOWN GETS A PASS
ON EVERY LOCAL LAW
A recent braindead caller to the Cueball radio show said to Manning, "Bob, your council is doing great, I've got no complaints". It's easy to not offend the community when you don't take any hard decisions. Where's the new Theater we were promised "in the first term"? Instead we've got an insider mates deal for a new Tobruk Swimming Centre that will be a $26M white elephant. And meanwhile Cairns nonRegional Council now doesn't have the staff to prepare events like the NYEMKTD properly. Sleepy Manning has done what conservative governments all over Australia are now doing to us - cutting back on government-provided services.
But the sad fact about no bus services is that it brings into sharp focus what is evident about the government cutbacks. They impact the working class, the working family, the battler family while leaving alone the big end of town who continue to get THEIR SHARE of government welfare.
Tony Abbott's government has made huge cuts in social services for the lower and middle class with means testing now implemented for programs like the School Kids Bonus. With the door now open for means testing government programs, you can bet the thresholds will be reduced and the concept extended until ALL the programs are gone. And to get the support of this means testing, the Abbott government agreed to kill the mining tax in order to get the votes of Clive Palmer's extortionists.
At the Federal and State levels however, strong voices of the progressive opposition and independents at least give them a good fight. But at the Cairns Council we've got a whole different kettle of fish. No one is raising a voice as the Cairns battler gets gutted like a fish.
Sure, Rob Pyne raised the issue when he saw a NYE program with no transport. But the key councillor representing the CBD didn't lift a finger, and now is busy on social media pointing the finger at everyone else. Sunbus. DTMR. Translink. All are State agencies that act when directed by the Government who respond to local Councils. The Council Manager of the Esplanade, Malcolm Robertson, hasn't had an original thought since high school. Sorry Richie, this ball is yours. You're bitching that "no plans are in place" is like bitching to a mirror. This is YOUR JOB. When you saw the NYE plans last March (assuming that you're reading anything is a dangerous concept, we know) why didn't you say "where's the public transport"?? We all KNOW why Richie - 'cause you're just as asleep as the rest of your colleagues, rocked to sleep by the Manning management plan where no one sees anything, no one questions anything. Rubber stamp Council meetings with 9 deaf and dumb councillors. And of course it still pays the same, much better than your job at Queensland Rail, doesn't it Richie?
Minister of Transport Scott Emerson has pointed out that the other Councils came to the DTMR with their requirements for New Year's Eve, and they were all met by the State. The fact is Cairns Council has removed all the pesky workers at Council who are actually engaged in service delivery. No pesky workers, no calls to the State when we need something. And when the failsafe, the elected councillor is out on his pushbike, the result is obvious.
But, the Cairns Council is showing a PROFIT. Goodonya, Sleepy Bob!
Because at the end of the day it all comes back to our representatives, and what they're doing (and mostly NOT doing) on our behalf. We have a CRC that is run by morons who think it's supposed to run at a profit while the most disadvantaged in our city can't share in the meagre entertainment offerings being dished out to the rest.
Contrast this attitude with Bob Manning again providing MILLIONS in assistance to developers who didn't need or want the free cash. Waiving infrastructure payments on projects that are "ready to go" is a ratepayer gift. The infrastructure will eventually need to be built, and paid for, by us. Ronald Reagan "trickle-down economics", widely discredited around the world, has well and truly arrived in Australia. With Cairns at ground zero.
This Council even waives its own rules on Esplanade noise restrictions when for the elite! Blues Fest, Rock & Roll show, even the Christmas Show - all their Fogarty Park permits require them to end the music (noise) by 10:00 PM. But for the Amateur's Ball? They get a wink and a nod and the first-ever permit to midnight. Sleeping tourists be damned. All thanks to Richie Bates who now only cares about not rocking the boat and getting another term in this cushy do-nothing job.
Fact is Richie Bates was a roaring advocate for public transport until he got into Council. Now apparently we're all about protecting the taxi monopoly and keeping the poor and middle class out of the CBD. Cairns is still the only international airport in Australia that has NO public bus service for the passengers. And "shared van" transport also common around Australia to/from the airport? Not in Cairns - where we built a special taxi bypass to the airport on Lake Street.
You always know when Cr. Bates is starting to feel cornered with the unpleasant truth - he goes on the most bizarre of attacks. Here he tells a property renter that he's not a ratepayer, and therefore isn't entitled to any city services. A primary school student knows that renters too pay rates, albeit indirectly through their landlords.
When the "progressives" we've elected to keep watch on the conservatives aren't doing their job, we're well and truly stuffed.