Since taking office almost four years ago, he's steered the Cairns Council into being the most secretive and least consultative council in Queensland, perhaps in all of Australia.
The result of the darkness that's fallen over Spence Street is now rearing its ugly head as a small-business victim is telling their story in the media.
Consultation is supposed to be a good thing. Consultation is the time when the ratepayers and others impacted by proposed Council decisions are allowed to comment on the proposal and in many cases share their expertise with our leaders to provide a better outcome. Especially when Council outreach on decisions is narrow, a wise leader recognises that there is a lot of brainpower and experience in our community that can be harnessed with using a "bigger net" and a wider-reaching consultation. A Council that deliberately undercuts or ignores the consultation process produces lower-quality outcomes that are, in some cases, very expensive mistakes.
In December, Cairns Council released for "consultation" 14 proposed new Local Laws to replace the current set of laws. Issuing such a major overhaul of these laws after the Christmas holiday period has started is dishonest on its face. The 'consultation period" was only 19 days and ended the day before Christmas. And while over 1000 residents had expressed interest in the plans to overhaul these laws previously, the actual "consultation" only a pithy 50 responses. This isn't "consultation", Bob. It's a shell game.
This (dis)Unity Team council has had four years to do this work on the Local Laws. Management failures account for the slowness of council staff work on most of these big issues.
Bob Manning's achievements as Mayor are tissue-paper thin. Basically we've got a rock wall in Machans Beach and the Moody Creek Retention Basin. Both projects were in the consultation stage under Mayor Val Schier, so Manning can't take full credit for delivering them.
And the public doesn't know any of the details on the cost overruns, suggested to be some $4M OVER on the Moody Creek project alone. The reason we don't know is that Council public reporting has been slashed under Bob Manning and city manager Peter Tabulo.
And the Tobruk Pool rebuild (which community consensus suggests will be a failure in this location as he tennis centre has failed) is running way too late as well. How much over budget is anyone's guess.
We've had glimpses into the secrecy failures of this council as early as the Tobruk Pool contracts, and with this suspect contractor now months late at delivering this project (and unknown Million$ over budget), Manning ordered both the tendering process as well as the project management OFF the future council agendas. This information, so easy to find at every other Queensland Council hasn't been in Council reports for YEARS.
|CASSOWARY COUNCIL HAS NO TROUBLE SHARING|
FULL TENDERING DETAILS WITH THEIR
COUNCILLORS AND THE PUBLIC
It's unclear if even the councillors are being provided this information. Cairns Council agendas are run through in sometimes as little as 15 minutes with nary a comment or discussion in public.
You can't make this shit up.
Manning promised four years ago he would DELIVER a new Civic Theatre - this hasn't happened. He boasted during the election that it would be built on land adjacent to the Cairns Convention Centre, and in fact insisted that the location of this infrastructure for Convention use was "vital" to the project. We're now getting a project much too small, which along with the parking dispensation handed out to the Cairns Aquarium project, will dump hundreds of cars into this area of the CBD with NO off-street parking available to support these projects. The so-called two week consultation period ended with the project contracts being issued THE DAY AFTER THE CONSULTATION PERIOD ENDED.
This isn't consultation. It's a consultation charade. Bob Manning believes public consultation is an annoyance and a hinderance instead of a road to a better city.
Cairns has had the important consultation process with our local government hijacked by a group of people that frankly don't give a shit about our opinions on anything.