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

30 July 2015


You've got to give him credit.  When John "Cueball" MacKenzie gets a marching order, he keeps pounding his drum even when it clearly makes no sense.  Such is the case with his incessant spruiking for the Cairns Port CEO and mate Brett Moller - the only LNP operative still in place after the Newman decimation.

A year ago, MacKenzie was demanding that the long-delayed
Environmental Impact Study for the intentionally-mislabeled "Cairns Shipping Development Project" be released by Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King and the Newman Government.  MacKenzie thinks he's been the "powerhouse" behind this project for getting Newman to throw a lazy $80M at the project on the radio.  But by August of 2014, the Newman Government and Gavin King already knew the price tag for this little project would be prohibitively large.  We recommend everyone take a read through this EIS - because clearly few of our leaders have done so.

King, Michael "Hide the Backhoe" Trout, and Newman all then decided to "sit on" the EIS until after the election - believing that they could then kill it as "too expensive".  Unfortunately their little plan went awry when King, Trout, and Kempton all were tossed out of office for three years of profound inaction.  This left Palaszczuk with the bad news, although the ALP made no election promises with relation to this project.

We've been saying since the beginning that the cost of this project was going to be massive - way more than the lazy $80M that Newman tossed out to MacKenzie.  He knew THEN that the bill would be so large that no Queensland Government - LNP, ALP, Green, or Commie would ever get the Brisbane-area MP's to toss this kind of cash into FNQ. 

MacKenzie is new best friends with Bill Cummings.  His Cummings Economics cranked out a response to the EIS - that is wildly incorrect, both on the costings (CE says $108m) and on the economic impact to the region.  The current cost of porting a cruise liner is over $35k per visit - which CE cavalierly claims will face "little difficulty in raising charges to a level that would cover the capital cost of $100m and not be out of scale. . ."  This is just nonsensical - the reports by the cruise line industry to industry gatherings already complain that Australia has the highest porting charges in the world.  The same cruise ship coming into Cairns at $35k can port in Singapore for less than $12k!  The Cummings Economics report should be rejected by the government as unbelievably stupid.

The biggest fact left OUT of the EIS - THE INCREASE IN DEPTH (FROM 8.3m to 9.4m) is still considered inadequate by the cruise ship industry!  Two years ago, Royal Caribbean read the riot act to Brett Moller and his team - this includes a channel width NO LESS THAN 3 TIMES the width of the ship, and a minimum depth of ship's draft PLUS 3 METERS!  READ THIS REPORT HERE - (PAGE 20).

The proposal put forward by Moller and Gavin King is woefully short of these requirements.  Essentially, it's half-a-loaf.  Gavin King was the master of half-arsed projects during his brief time as Member for Cairns.  (We'll be reporting on another of these soon).  And now he's left MacKenzie holding this bag of shit - which MacKenzie continues to spruik with all the tenacity of a blind man copulating with an elephant.

Make no mistake, we fully support dredging the inlet and dumping the spoil - somewhere on land.  But we believe in the tooth fairy, too.  Changing Cairns into what it ISN'T won't come cheaply.  And it isn't something that governments, struggling with limited funds, should be spending our tax money to build.  Take a look at some of the terrific work done in other parts of the world, curiously with a cruise line company (Royal Caribbean) acting as Developer or Financier for these projects.  Falmouth, Jamaica.  Kusadasi, Turkey.  This in a presentation to the Australian "Cruise Down Under" Conference, which was attended by our Cairns Ports leadership.

The cruise ship companies all claim Cairns is an important "want-to-see" location by their customers.  That means WE'RE in the driver's seat.  Why are the taxpayers being asked to stump up the cash for this project?  If it's such a good investment, why aren't we looking for cashed up (Chinese) partners to come in and do it?  

We're already selling everything else off to them - why not our most northerly major port?  We can dump all the spoil in East Trinity and call it "ChinaWorld", and sell off the residences to them.   

Plus, there are a host of alternatives available to get the passengers off the boats and into our city.  When does someone put their thinking cap on and get real?

Cairns is what it is.  Cairns ISN'T Macao.  But I guess if you throw $8Billion at it, you can make it so.  Cairns ISN'T a beachy, surfing destination.  Who knows how many BILLION$ it would cost to make us Hawaii.  How about our leaders get serious about marketing all the GOOD things about Cairns - and fixing the shitty service and mediocre restaurants, lack of nighttime entertainment (other than strippers and doof-doof music), and forgetting the idea of letting the developers line our foreshore with tall, featureless unit blocks.  Sell our STRENGTHS, and forget the "quick-fix" merchants. 

And by the way, why hasn't our aquarium started construction yet - even AFTER all the Council concessions???

There is a long list of REAL infrastructure projects that would benefit the WHOLE Cairns community - not just a handful of CBD business owners and day tour operators.  The Cook Highway needs overpasses.  The Kuranda Range Road needs more lanes.  The Bruce Highway needs to be upgraded past Gordonvale.  Wind & solar energy projects.  A busload power station north of Townsville.  The region needs new water sources.  The list of long-neglected infrastructure investments by the government is endless.  Don't make any mistake -these kinds of projects will produce REAL, decades-long private investment in the region.  

Pulling mud out of the ocean to park slightly larger cruise ships will not. 

That's the fact.


Anonymous said...

This morning 4CA newsman said Cairns is booming with larger tourist numbers than ever,minutes later Macca comes on and says Cairns is on its knees and devotes nearly all of his program to talk Cairns down.This person(Mackenzie)should be reported to the proper authorities

Anonymous said...

The dredging benefit is overstated but if indeed true then you are correct,let the cruise ship industry pay for it. There are no real returns for QLD and we can achieve much more with that money.

Anonymous said...

Not only has the economy been trashed by McKenzie the Cairns Post also said not dredging will cripple the economy. Almost treason all so they can extort taxpayers funds or have ALP pay for at the next election. The town needs to change from these people who are so self absorbed they will hurt the entire economy if they do not get their own way. Holding the town to ransom is very serious indeed. Though must note more and more finally see they are morons. All these 50 committees and lobby groups and not a visionary amongst them. Just over inflated ego.

Anonymous said...

I also read the mega cruise ships cannot get out of the Caribbean because they do not fit through the Panama canal. Then if they did come here we would need more dredging than what the EIS said. Think there is some dodgy stuff going on here.

Ootz said...

"" ... a blind man copulating with an elephant ..."". has Hillbilly gone Gonzo??

Anonymous said...

A lot of home truths in your article HBW. Sorting out the BS from the fact on this subject is ongoing.
Sir Cus.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has been here longer than 30 years(a proper local) know that there is a reality in Cairns. The reality is Cairns is a small regional city in FNQ. It has a small muddy inlet which drains into a narrow channel that leads out into the Barrier Reef. It's main income is tourism and sugar cane. The first is the biggest hinderance because it won't allow a rational discussion with the citizenary to diversify and grow beyond the boom and bust cycles of tourism. The second is being swallowed by eyesore urban sprawl. If the peoples insist on believing that some magic wand will double the width and depth of the inlet and channel and the same magic wand will stay with it year in year out at constant millions of dollars as nature fills the new holes back up with mud again then they need some serious insecticide to remove the faires in their back yards.

Anonymous said...

Correct ANON 13:30. No rational discussion possible.

Some business people are the worst.

You can meet a business person and be very impressed with their achievements, their passion, their talent, their hard work and think they are a genius. They are great people,love their families etc Then they start talking economics and politics and come across as redneck fools. Like they have morphed into another species.

In their business they use accountants, banks, lawyers, sales experts because one person cannot have all these skills and they need that rational input to keep them real. And good business know that. But they abandon that common sense when politics comes up making out they are experts in everything when they are clearly far from it. That arrogance is the hurdle in this town. Some very talented in their field have no talent in economics, social policy, science but dominate debate and so we hear one stupid headline after another. This port one is completely irrational.

Most small town stay that way and perhaps this is why,democracy so hard to get off the ground. No wonder places like Sydney soar.

Anonymous said...

Me again and correct 15.05. I remember a councillor a decade or so ago, I think his name was Bob Burgess. In jest he wanted to employ someone to work at the airport who would pick up every departing tourist by the ankles and shake them to get their last cent before they left.
His point is mine and the silent majority who aren't corrupted by talk back radio or the toxic politics that seem to dominate the discussion on our future. The more educated amongst us turn off and despair at the bigatory and bias that dominate the political conversation in this hick town. We despair at the lost apportunities, at what might have been, we look outward at other cities and towns in this wonderful country and wonder and know why they boom and we languish.
Unfortunatly just about all talkback radio, print media and commercial tv in Australia is corrupted by bias and personel agendas and a lot of councils, ours in included work under pure democracy and are voted in by people who's daily struggles and interests are more in tune with who Britney Spears is shagging these days or rumours and gossip on commercial breakfast tv. the end.

Anonymous said...

That "floating pier" is an interesting solution, Hillbilly. Anyone care to comment on it? How much would something like that cost?

Anonymous said...

WSnt there a fist benefit analysis released that showed the cost far out weighed the benefits. That's the end of the story, surely.The knack of vision in this little town is stunning. Could we build a museum please?

Anonymous said...

So LNP saved the reef by banning new capital dredging outside priority ports according to Springborg. Then they would not fund dredging in Cairns over 90m when it costs 400 million or more. Now Springborg complains Cairns will fail without priority port status. but that is ALPs fault? Hope Cairns is not as stupid as they seem to think.Meanwhile having lived in port cities they are good for the nation more than the neighbourhood. Unemployment will still be high, just we will have,ore debt along with it.

Anonymous said...

notice how the pier is in a bay area, leave it to the experts, mr multiple personalities .... your ex best mate Paul