Carter, who had participated in the design and drafting of the $1.2 Billion redevelopment of the airport precinct, had seen interest for the project cool among the airport board members. However with their hands stuck out for some of that cool, federal government Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) money, the plans still looked to be moving in the direction to overhaul the place.
At his first meeting with NAIF, Carter was said to be stunned at the coolness they showed towards the airport project. Minister for Bloggers Warren "Tranny" Entsch has been MIA in the whole process. And as Carter dug a little further, he was briefed by Advance Cairns CEO Kevin "Hiding from the Pakis" Byrne and given the awful facts about the Cairns Region's future.
Advance Cairns has a secret report that shows the Cairns tourism industry plateauing in 2020, and then beginning to decline steeply after that. Tourist numbers will drop to levels last seen in 1985, or below. Clearly there is no reason to expand an airport that isn't even at capacity now.
ALL BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING DAMAGE
TO THE GREAT BARRIER REEF.
Experts consulted for this report have confirmed that reef areas north of the Burdekin River will be mostly useless for tourism as the bleaching and coral death becomes widespread. As potential tourists become aware of the coral disaster around Cairns, the "Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef" will shift south - with Airlie Beach the likely beneficiary.
Government tourism bodies at both the federal and Queensland State level have been aware of the report for several years. Former Member for Cairns and Campbell Newman flunky Gavin King has told several business leaders in Cairns about the existence of the report.
The Cairns Airport board clearly has no interest in investing their own money into an airport that is at peak usage now. Nor does the federal government, hence the knock-back by NAIF.
It's unfortunate that this important report is being withheld from the public and only being shown to "select" business managers in the Far North. We've been told by insiders that David Fung and Aquis had heard rumours of this report but were repeatedly denied access to it - the reason negotiations with the Queensland Government stalled and then ultimately failed.
We've confirmed that several retailers who had been in negotiations with the airport for commercial sites on the Cook Highway have been told they will not be available. These retailers include the American Warehouse chain Costco, and the Swedish knockdown furniture company Ikea. Ikea is said to be looking for an alternative site. Costco has not replied to requests for information.
Meanwhile, former Cairns Airport CEO Kevin Brown, head of the Perth Airport barely a year, is already under attack by airport users in Perth as well as the airlines. Changes made by Brown are causing havoc with aircraft turn-around times, and passengers are now being dudded for services (like WiFi) that are free at most airports around the world. Many believe Brown will be gone by the end of the year.