MacKenzie has continually repeated bullshit he says came from the CEO of Carnival Cruises - "Cairns is poised to get at least 150 cruise ships a year, three per week". This is despite MacKenzie being cited by ACMA for making up other facts - and supposedly being "counseled" about his penchant for spewing bullshit on the public airwaves. Carnival Cruise has disavowed this comment.
Ports North own documents predict that larger cruise ship visits will grow to only 63 per year - IN 2026. And we believe even this is grossly optimistic. We've asked Ports North for documents that support this assertion, they've declined to provide them.
Talk now is that the increase in cost is due to the need for onshore dumping of the dredge material. A perfect landfill for low-lying areas (although we like the idea of keeping East Trinity as it is). So where are the landowners with low-lying land who want to make a deal for some cheap fill? How come there are no takers for the land dumping?
And even more importantly, where are the commitments from the big cruise ship companies guaranteeing use of this facility? Airports don't build new terminals without signed lease agreements with the airlines in-place. Queensland Rail doesn't build a new line for a mine without a contract for use in-place. Why are we building $150M in infrastructure with no guarantee of use?
Given the fickle-ness of the cruise companies, this isn't an empty question. The cruise industry is notoriously competitive, and with a majority of cruise passengers "repeat" cruisers, the cruise lines work to use a variety of ports, not the same ones over and over again. Indeed just this weekend P&O Australia announced several new ports, requiring the tender of passengers, at places that surprise most unfamiliar with the cruise business. Eden, NSW; Mornington and Portland, VIC; and Esperance and Busselton, WA. How long before Cairns is no longer the "flavour of the month" - and stuck with an underperforming piece of expensive infrastructure (that will still require millions of taxpayer $$$ "maintenance dredging" every year)!
|RECENT TV AD FOR THE|
"BEST RESTAURANT IN CAIRNS"
|CRUISE SHIP DINING - WITH NARY A|
BASEBALL CAP IN SIGHT
about the lack of regulation by the government - with pricing and service anomalies along with misleading advertising the subject of regular complaints.
|WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE WHAT|
THEY CALL THE "VIRTUAL BALCONY"
Just because it's "money from Brisbane", "government money" doesn't mean we should be pushing for it without a reasonable business case? We don't think so.
Solution? We'd do much better to invest in a couple 500 passenger high-speed reef boats that could carry tender passengers from the offshore parking spot at Yorkey's Knob to the CBD. Before the GFC, Quicksilver ran one of their boats from Port Douglas to Cairns at the end of the day, taking a dozen or more coaches off the Cook Highway. A couple new Wavepiercers, purchased by Ports North (creating jobs in our struggling shipbuilding industry) and operated by any competent company, would cost a hell of a lot less than digging a bigger hole in the ocean, and could still bring the passengers into the Cairns Wharf for on-visits to the region.
A quick 15 minute trip to the Wharf, with thoughtful commentary on the many things on offer for the visitor. And a fun, high-speed boat ride they can remember later. That's how tourist destinations are made.
We're looking for some thoughtful analysis of this situation by our new MP's. Dredging of the inlet isn't a cost-effective use of taxpayer money.