|THERE ARE LOTS OF ALTERNATIVES|
TO SERVICE CRUISE SHIPS
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.