Wednesday, 23 April 2008

It's English I tell you

Thanks to my friend Rob Williams for this from Washington Post.

It's their Mensa invitational, which asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

The winners are...

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it's a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

...and the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Eplanade, v. to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. the belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

World press freedom day

If you have a minute or two to spare on Saturday 3rd May, you're invited pop in to FUSION Organic Cafe, corner Aplin & Grafton Streets.

There you can sign, write or donate, to the 'Uncensor' project to protest the limitations on the media (including internet) in China.

It is part of Amnesty Australia's focus this year on issues of human rights in China.

Cairns-based Dr Carole Ford says that many countries do not have the freedom of speech that we enjoy in Australia. In China people are in prison for using the internet to send out information on human rights abuses.

Access to many news websites is blocked. 30 journalists and at least 50 internet users are known to be in jail in China right now. Many are beaten and tortured to extract ‘confessions’.

Whereas in Cairns, you used to only get sued every five minutes from the previous mayor for raising issues about city councillors travelling to China!

Reporters Without Borders ranks China's media situation as 'very serious', the worst ranking on their five-point scale. China's Internet censorship policy is labeled as 'pervasive' by the OpenNet Initiative's global Internet filtering map, also the worst ranking used.

China's Internet censorship is regarded by many as the most pervasive and sophisticated in the world. According to a Harvard study, at least 18,000 websites are blocked from within the country. Banned sites have included Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, Flickr, and even the BBC.

You can get more info from Janet Walder or telephone her on 4053 3426

A gin in the evening

I'm a huge fan of the good old fashioned talent quest.

I had my early fame, if you could call it that, with cabaret magic. I chopped people in half and even had a stable of white rabbits and doves. It was a kid's dream to be a magician. I idolised the early performers and magicians that graced the telly, and had the joy of performing professionally around New Zealand. I even performed in Japan and Hong Kong. Oh, those were the days.

So, after years of Idol, It Takes Two and a raft of other tedious shows that are monotonous and repetitive, the second season of Britain's Got Talent has started on ITV in the UK last week.
Australia's version will start on 7 shortly.

Last year, instant celebrities were made out of 6 year old Connie and mobile phone salesman Paul Potts, after their videos landed onto You Tube within minutes of their TV debut.

This week, a lot of attention has been given to Aussie Steve Cousins with his crazy balloon act, however my fav so far is the amazing dog Gin.

Climate Change - has it been cancelled?

Professor Bob Carter from James Cook University believes that the public debate about climate change and global warming has become unbalanced.

Carter says rapid changes in our climate are not unusual and that evidence from polar ice cores and deep-sea drilling cores show episodes of rapid climate change are common.

"The best thing we can do about climate change is to prepare for it," he says.

The good professor is in New Zealand presently sharing his version of the climate debate. It makes for some interesting viewing.

Carter says that during some climate changes, temperatures can swing by several degrees over periods as short as a few years, to a few decades.

"Much discussion about global warming and climate change is based almost exclusively on the climatic record of the past 1000 years," Carter says. "This is an inadequate period over which to assess the magnitude and rate of natural climate change, especially in judging whether contemporary climate change is unusual."

He says that geological studies show the climate is always changing and it reveals that climate change often occurs cyclically, with periods of change ranging between 11 years, through to 20,000, 41,000 or even millions of years.

He says that greenhouse gases and land-use changes are not a recent phenomenon.

"An influence on climate through enhanced greenhouse gases and land-use changes has been hypothesized to dates back to the development of agriculture in the Neolithic age, about 8,000 years ago. The cause of many rapid climate changes remains unknown but it's unlikely that greenhouse gas fluctuations are responsible for them."

"We can thank greenhouse gases for raising the Earth's average temperature from a chilly minus 18 degrees Celsius, to the estimated modern value of about 15 degrees. Carbon dioxide plays a role, though a minor one, in that effect," says Carter.

Bob Carter has been recently lecturing in New Zealand about his views.

Right Hon, Sir Helen

We've discovered a new Helen Clark site.

It gives a different message everytime. Just click reload.

I guess you had to be there?

It's 1936 again

Hat Tip: KiwiBlog

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Are you ethically or economically motivated?

James Cook University post graduate president Dennis Guild poses some questions about political motivation.

While collecting data in Thailand recently for my research on Burmese refugees I met with Burmese workers (displaced persons) loading Chinese boats on the Mekong River - bound for the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The workers are paid 100 baht. That's about $4 AUD, for a 12 hour day, well below the Thai minimum daily wage - but sometimes not paid at all.

Interestingly, during last year's uprising in Burma, where demonstrators were murdered by the military regime that caused even more Burmese to flee their homeland (adding to the 150,000 refugees interned in Thai camps along with two million migrant workers/economic refugees), former Prime Minister John Howard and then Foreign Minister Downer, appealed to the PRC government to use its influence over Burma’s junta to ensure human rights of the Burmese people were respected.

However, it seems this is not in the economic/national interest of Burma's neighbours - at least for now.

The current Foreign Minister Stephen Smith recently sent similar diplomatic requests to Beijing, appealing for restraint and respect for human rights for Tibetans over the ongoing unrest in Tibet.

Perhaps its time the world considered its humanitarian obligations as well as the economic/national interest. Most fair minded people believe Tibetans and Burmese deserve a break. But sadly the world continues to make economics a priority over any humanitarian concerns for Tibetans and Burmese who have suffered human rights abuses for decades.

The thirty pieces of silver the world receives from trading with nations that condone human rights abuses is impermanent.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently visited the Emperors of Beijing.
Let’s hope he put his Mandarin to good use – thus encouraging the spirit of reconciliation in our region and beyond.

Boycott Beijing

Former JCU student president and candidate for Division 9 in the recent Cairns Regional Council elections, Janine Aitken, says it's time to hold China to account.

Comrades, we live in a time when elite athletes are paid millions of dollars for their swim in the pool or a run around the oval. These athletes want to be looked upon as role models, conscious of their image, while happy to contribute to the war on drugs or alcohol abuse.

However, issues of social justice or human rights abuses, such as what is happening in Tibet are seemingly swept aside - it's all about the gold medals - the lives of Tibetans taking second place.

I believe Tibetan lives should not be compromised - therefore there should be a boycott of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Champion Australian swimmer Tracy Wickham thought so too when she decided to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics for similar reasons.

Janine Aitken tells Foreign Minister Stephen Smith how it is.

Many have said the war in Iraq is really all about blood for oil. Could it also be said that Australian participation in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing symbolizes our willingness to sacrifice Tibetan lives for Western Australian Iron ore and Queensland Coal?

My conscience is clear.

I won't be watching the games. I'll be praying the world wakes up to itself before it suffers the same fate as Judas Iscariot.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

A welcome bump

Something for the suburbs?

Saturday, 19 April 2008

A true story, honest.

Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zulland, is rudely awoken at 4 am by the telephone.

  • 'Hillen, its the Hilth Munister here. Sorry to bother you at this hour but there is an emergency!
    I've just received word thet the Durex fectory en Auckland has burned to the ground.
    It is istimated the the entire New Zulland supply of condoms will be gone by the ind of the week.!!!'

    PM: 'Shut - the economy wull niver be able to cope with all those unwanted babies - wi'll be ruined!'

    Hilth Munister: 'We're going to hef to shup some in from... Brutain?...'

    PM: 'No chence!! The Poms will have a field day on thus one!'

    Hilth Munister: 'What about Australia?'

    PM: 'I'll call Kevin Rudd - tell hum we need one millioncondoms; ten unches long and eight unches thuck! That way they'll continue to respect the All Blacks!!'

    Three days later a delighted Hillen rushes out to open the boxes.
    She finds condoms; 10 unches long; 8 unches thuck, all coloured green and gold. With small writing on each one.........


When is a DA not a DA

After the wealth of info that I published the other day about the emerging debacle at Paradise Palms Golf Course on the Northern Beaches, there were emails and comments asking for further explanation.

Some readers perceived this to be a simply matter of approving or not approving the Development Application before Council. Not so easy.

As there was some confusion, I thought we'd explain further.

Firstly, there has been confusion over what has been advertised for the DA. It was incorrect. You'd have to question if this was deliberate.

The original DA Advert has a typo in one Lot number. Therefore, no one could find that one. Full stop. Three other lot numbers have been newly created, as recent as April 2008.
Therefore, they do not appear anywhere in Queensland Spatial Information systems, nor in the DA itself. This fact is very concerning.

How in the world is the general public supposed to make a submission against these developments if information is incorrect or non existent?

A number of northern beaches residents have been badgering Cairns Regional Council planners to provide proper maps and clarify the situation.

Here are two maps that show exactly what lots and geographical locations in relation to the Golf Course, and what current zonings they have under the CairnsPlan 2005.

Anyone who has obtained the full Development Application from Council will no doubt be surprised to find that it bears almost no relationship to what is proposed on the published announcement.

Indeed, we initially took it back, thinking we had the wrong document. The DA is all about development of part of the golf course called Area H. The whole thing concentrates on that.

However, for those who don’t wish to spend a couple of weeks figuring out the truth, here is the short story.

Paradise Palms is essentially covered by three lots – Lot 4 on PR800876, Lot 5 on CP891005 and Lot 359 on SP105747.

Some of these lots have recently been subdivided and thus don’t appear even on recent maps. The lots are shown on the accompanying map.

The CairnsPlan planning codes for these are: Conservation (mainly Lot 5); Rural (lot 359), Residential 1 (mainly Lot 5 and Lot 359) and Sport and Recreation (mainly Lot 4).

The developer wants to change all these lots to Tourism and Residential Area code.

Simple as that.

Once that’s through, there is no more impact assessment. They will be able to build multi-story dwellings, tourist facilities, residential, whatever, just about anywhere they like.

Forget about Conservation areas, forget about Sport and Recreation. It will all be no longer. No more public comments, no more agency referrals.

If you care about the golf course and the beautiful surrounds, then act now to voice your opinion and stop this proposal.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Val, act now or don't redecorate

Many believe, while the our famous and historic Yacht Club on the Cairns waterfront, known as The Aquatic, still stands, it's worth fighting for. I certainly do. CairnsBlog has now followed this fight for a long time.

The Cairns 1st team, under the leadership of Val Schier, were elected on policies of saving and preserving our heritage. Maybe this is were her leadership could be directed with some sense of urgency.

In fact her policy was to "maintain a natural and cultural heritage register and actively protect those places that are important to our community."

It is clear that there is considerable concern in the community about the way in which the previous Council neglected the majority wishes by not supporting the retention of the Yacht Club building, as a significant cultural and landmark of Cairns.

If Mayor Schier wants to serve more than one term, and I presume she does, this would be a grand way she could show us all that she is serious about representing the community.

Schier should write to the Minister and Premier this week and request and order a full investigation into the last Council's lack of representation of it's community on the Yacht Club building destruction. Schier also needs to request the Premier look into why the Heritage Council's decision on the building was flawed and not at all democratic. She needs to engage the Premier on why the Cairns Port Authority mislead and cohered the then Yacht Club Committee in a forced agreement that they felt pressed into signing.

Steve Wettenhall has already said that we should "now put the Yacht Club issue behind u s and get on with promoting Cairns as the New Orleans of the Southern hemisphere tropics.” Why can't the Yacht Club building and location be part of 'the New Orleans of the Southern hemisphere'?

I attended many debates and meetings during the election campaign where Cairns 1st and Val Schier trumpeted the rebuilding of the inner-city with entertainment and a vibrant music city.

It's important that the new Mayor acts promptly on this as the Cairns Port Authority is soon to loose its own authority. Their power base will be carved up as they are about to go into a sale process for the Cairns Airport. Their operating budget will be striped by 75% to under $20 million. With their future uncertain, their mandate to re-develop the waterfront of Trinity Wharf should be urgently called into question.

Here's an open letter to Steve Wettenhall, Member for Barron River, from the Rob Williams, who for many years has been involved with the Cairns Jazz club at the Yacht Club.

  • Dear Stephen,

    I often wonder how much information a Politician uses to make decisions that adversely affect so many people.

    When they do make a decision they know will hurt, they must have some mechanism that allows them into a state of denial. Otherwise how can they face the people who had faith in them?

    It really lets us down when politicians make some lousy excuse on why they lack the courage and fortitude to fight for the cause of the people.

    Political expediency sucks doesn’t it?.

    Here are some facts that may surprise you...

    1. The ONLY reason the Jazz Club moved out of the Cairns Yacht Club, (the Aquatic,) after fighting your Government for 5 years, was because your Government considers money above the wishes and feelings of the people whose Grandparents and Parents built this place...

    2. We know why you are doing this. It’s because your Government is bankrupt. Not only from a monetary point of view but also morally. Otherwise why sell off the Airports, Schools and any other land and anything that isn’t nailed down.

    3. Your government is hell bent on destroying this last bastion of Cairns Heritage – The Aquatic.

    4. We have the list of perpetrators and your name is on it along with Boyle, Bligh, Lucas, MacEnroth, Byrne, and others. These names with photographs make up the prologue to our book. (“At the Aquatic. MkII).

    5. Stephen, the ONLY way to redemption is to stand up and be counted.

    6. As the President of the Cairns Tropic Jazz Club Inc. I had to make a decision.

    7. That was to stay at the Cairns Yacht Club till the last minute and risk my members being involved in a blood bath that may follow when the Aquatic is demolished or

    8. Move to a new venue.

    9. For your information we considered 65 possible venues in this City until one night Graeme Davidson appeared in the Yacht Club and offered the Tigers Den as another possibility.

    10. I and five other Jazz Club Committee had a look. After some discussion we thought this place could be useful although it lacked the History, Area, Dance floor and aspects of the Aquatic building.

    11. We agreed to go there and the Cairns Tropic Jazz Club paid for and built the stage, put in the lights, erected the backdrop and assisted with widening the wooden dance floor to a size that we thought would suffice.

    12. We installed our own PA Amp and Speakers, Microphones etc .

    13. None of this had anything whatsoever to do with the PALM movement or Ray Elias.

    14. We introduced the North Cairns AFL to what we required with regards to servicing our patrons with liquor and amenities and even arranged a barman to help with prices etc. The people are marvellous.

    15. On Thursday 3rd April our people decorated the premises, which we left in place for what we understood was going to be the launch of a country and Western CD the following night.

    16. We were surprised when we learned it was “The Official Opening” and knew nothing of your attendance to same. We were not invited and we have never met the Minister for Arts.

    17. As far as the Aquatic Building is concerned, I don’t think you understand that there are at least 5,000 people out here including myself who have not had a spiritual closing on this matter.

    18. I don’t know if I have dissuaded them not to lay in front of the bulldozers, but many have said they would do that.

    19. Many of them also say they are willing to mount a class action against you to reclaim the massive losses and mental anguish that we will and have suffered already.

    20. Your statement “Let us now put the Yacht Club issue behind us and get on with promoting Cairns as the New Orleans of the Southern hemisphere tropics” demonstrates that you have no concept of our feelings towards this place, which is really a shrine of remembrance for the people who built this City.

    21. Like Bjeke Petersen’s demolition of the Belleview destroyed his government, I and my colleges would think the day the destruction of the Historical (CYC) Aquatic brought your government down was poetic Justice.

    22. Steven, you said you were passionate, let us test that shall we.

    23. On ANZAC Day we will be remembering the 150 Aquatic Club members who went to fight in WW1 and WW2 for what they believed in. They went to fight to save this country, their loved ones and their way of life which included the Aquatic Club. They had put their blood and sweat into that..

    24. The Aquatic Building was a hub and a lynchpin, for the fabric of Cairns City and the whole of North Queensland.

    25. In fact if you care to see what they did in 1917 you will know the dedication, passion and absolute unselfishness of these men and women.

    26. As a former soldier myself, I can imagine them joking about the mud up to their waist and likening that to when they used to launch their skiffs into Trinity before they built the ramp. This would have allowed them to help cope with the knowledge that at any moment they or their mates could be blown to pieces by a 3” mortar bomb or downed by an enemy bullet.

    27. They mistakenly believed that politicians and government would honour their sacrifices and went unequivocally to fight. 20 of them died.

    28. On ANZAC DAY I will be placing a wreath on the beach in front of the Aquatic I invite you to be there.

    Lest We Forget.

    Rob Williams JP (Qual.)
    28 Lake Placid Road

Paradise being palmed off

There's some dirty laundry hanging out from the previous Cairns City Council, as the second golf course on the northern beaches is under threat of extinction.
On Monday 8th April, this advert appeared in the Cairns Post.
A 'Material Change of Use' means that Development Applications (DAs) involve changing the current CairnsPlan zonings.
Most of the Paradise Palms Golf course is and was originally zoned Sporting and Recreation. That was until two years ago when the last Council did a backflip for Developer Hedley and changed part of Lot (Lot 4 on RP800876) to Commercial. This is so that his four-storey dual key apartments could go in next to the Club house as well as other commercial facilities such as a gym, shops etc.
Only Councillors Gill and Cochrane voted against this decision in Council on the night. At that time, Councillor Cochrane was the only one who showed any guts and said publicly (after the decision), “This is zoned Sport and Recreation. This report mentions several times that this development is contrary and goes against the CairnsPlan and I support that view.”

Most of the lots already have or are to have tourist or residential accommodation on them as per Paradise Palms master plan.

The Combined Beaches Community Association believe that part of Lot4RP 8600786 is now being taken which is the number 9 hole of the golf course area. This area will be made into residential living. The first MCU involving this Lot set a very dangerous precedent. There were a total of 106 submitters against this DA being approved, but Hedley got their way and Council rolled over to the wishes of their favourite son.

The advert is also misleading to the general public.
It lists Lot numbers that the general public are not familiar with. We've checked some of these against the Queensland Information System and these Lot numbers did not come up (Lot 349 on SP105747, Lot 1-84 on SP212600, Lots 1-3 on SP207017).
This means that these Lots have been reconfigured and new lot numbers assigned, so unless you were very familiar with the Paradise Palms Golf Club layout, you would not know exactly which lots are being developed.

Recent discussions between a resident at Paradise Palms and a planner revealed that they “are taking the Golf Course by stealth.”
This is nothing new to those who fought hard and vigorously against the first Multi Unit development, however, to have it confirmed at such a short time after the first battle, should be sending alarm bells to everyone interested in enjoying golf in this region.

So you can see that the Paradise Palms Golf Course is on a slippery slope to be being totally taken over for residential living unless residents rally now to save this wonderful sporting open green space facility.

If you take a drive up Paradise Palms Drive, just off the Captian Cook Highway north of Cairns, to the roundabout at the Clubhouse and check out the signs near the closed road that heads into the hills.

There's is a Development Application to alter the assessment level of 'Houses' from 'Impact Assessable' to 'Code Assessable' on the proposed nine-lot subdivision in the north-west part of Lot 5 CP891005.

This is called the 'Lookout' as advertised on the glossy sign nearby.

The DA may appear an innocuous request to formalise the subdivision houses, but don’t be deceived. There are two very important differences between “Impact” and “Code” assessment. The first is that Impact Assessment requires public notification (and an appeals process), while code assessment doesn’t. The second is that impact assessment requires applicable State, Commonwealth, and Council laws and regulations be considered. Code assessment is assessed only against relevant CairnsPlan codes.

Why is Impact Assessment needed?
Well, the land that this subdivision is being built on is part of the Conservation Planning Area within CairnsPlan, and all developments on that land category are supposed to be Impact Assessable.
Indeed, higher density residential developments such as this are not supposed to occur at all. Even at code assessable level, the subdivision plans don’t comply with the ‘Conservation’ codes. They don’t even comply with many aspects of the other applicable CairnsPlan Codes, such as hillslopes, vegetation conservation/waterways significance and possibly bushfire risk.
The Development Application is aimed to deny the public any future say in these matters.

How did this happen?
Briefly, the original subdivision was approved by the previous Cairns City Council in 2004 under their old Planning Scheme. This was despite the land being designated ‘conservation’ in the draft CairnsPlan at the time. But since 2005, the land has been ‘conservation’ above 50m, which includes all of proposed lots 2-9 and half of lot 1. It is Residential 1 below 50m (the other half of proposed lot 1).

The subdivision land also has conservation significance recognised in State and Commonwealth legislation. The forest type is regionally restricted and fragmented because it hugs the footslopes and has been heavily cleared in the past. It is within an “of concern” regional ecosystem and is mapped as “Essential Habitat Area”.
Under State legislation, vegetation is not supposed to be cleared in the latter.

The land abuts Kuranda National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Four building envelopes are close to the Wet Tropics boundary, and some of the land is steep with stability risks.
All runoff from the hillside lots enters an adjacent riparian corridor, which is within an Endangered regional ecosystem. The nine proposed lots are within an area of about 2 ha with an access road to be ‘street lit’ up the ridge of our “scenic rim”. The subdivision land rises to an elevation of 78 m and will become visible from many areas.

Work has been progressing sporadically on the subdivision since late 2005, amidst a number of problems and impacts including land clearing, rock hammering, trenching, erosion, and surface sediment runoff. The developer and consultant were taken to court by EPA and fined in October 2007 for environmental nuisance due to sedimentation of the adjacent Deep Creek.

This is the first Development Application on a Paradise Palms Masterplan development that is open for public comment to our new Council.
It should and can set a precedent. However, the “Lookout” subdivision is hidden away and only abuts two landowners. Something must be done now to make sure that the level of assessment for this area is not further downgraded.
It must remain Impact Assessable so the public right of comment and appeal is upheld, and that wider laws and regulations are fully considered. It needs the public to make submissions to ensure that the Cairns Regional Council rejects this application, to fulfil both its election promises and public expectations.

If this is approved, the Conservation Planning Area code within CairnsPlan will be meaningless.
There was an amendment to CairnsPlan which was not part of the 'Draft Submission for Public Comment' which has been perceived as primarily benefiting a developer.

In June 2007, residents were invited to comment on proposed changes to the CairnsPlan (Draft CairnsPlan 2007).
The Draft Plan reads in part:
  • “3.6 Cairns Beaches District
    1.6.1 Description and Intent…
    Tourist accommodation and associated small scale retail and commercial facilities are intended to be located in proximity to the waterfront, particularly at Trinity Beach and Palm Cove. These areas may also accommodate permanent residents who are attracted by the locations and the facilities. There is also the opportunity for development of tourist accommodation in several locations along the Captain Cook Highway.

    Kewarra Beach is also intended to remain primarily as an area for conventional residential living. There is the opportunity for development of additional tourist accommodation adjacent to the waterfront in the northern part of the suburb.”

In relation to the above description, there were no amendments proposed to the Kewarra Beach area.

However, in the Special Meeting CairnsPlan minutes of 27 September 2007, (#1568599) the following resolutions were passed in relation to “3.6.1 Description and Intent Statement":

  • 2. That Council not make the requested change to identify Paradise Palms as Major Tourist Accommodation on Map 2 – Tourism Strategy.

    3. That section 3.6.1 Description and Intent Statement be amended to read :
    Tourist accommodation and associated small scale retail and commercial facilities are intended to be located in proximity to the waterfront, particularly at Trinity Beach and Palm Cove, and also in proximity to the golf course at Kewarra Beach, west of the Captain Cook highway between Moore Road and Discovery Drive. These areas may also accommodate permanent residents who are attracted by the locations and facilities. There is also the opportunity for development of tourist accommodation in several locations along the Captain Cook Highway.”

The Combined Beaches Community Association contends that the amendment was not documented in either the Draft Plan for 3.6 Cairns Beaches District, nor in the Cairns Beaches District Plan, Planning Areas Map.

These two sections of the Draft Plan would have been the main areas that residents or submitters would have checked. The Cairns Beaches District is a specific district which details the preferred pattern of development, planning areas and overlays for this designated area.

The only reference to a change to the Beaches Planning area appears to be a map (Map 2, Tourism Strategy) which indicates a purple star (Major Tourist Attraction and Facilities – Appendix 11) in the area. There are no amendments or inclusions within the Draft to support these so called 'Major Tourist Attractions and Facilities'.

At the ordinary meeting on 20 December 2007, Council approved a development application for the establishment of 153 permanent residential units in a tall building on the south-western periphery of the Paradise Palms Golf Course. This is off Moore Road, Kewarra Beach.

This application was inconsistent with the land’s Residential 1 planning area necessitating an MCU and also conflicted with various provisions of the CairnsPlan (refer page 59 of Minutes)

The Minutes also documented that this approval was 'reflective of the amendment occurring to the description of the Cairns Beaches Planning District which identifies that these forms of development can occur in proximity to the Paradise Palms Golf Course.'

The Combined Beaches Community Association contend that the Council, after the Draft and Submission process, re-wrote the Cairns Beaches District Description and Intent, without public consultation.
This late addition without public consultation or notification, to include...
  • "and also roximity to the golf course at Kewarra Beach, west of the Captain Cook highway between Moore Road and Discovery Drive
... only be construed as facilitating a developer’s application.
For your information, here's the Cairns Beaches - District Assessment table. It shows the Initial level of assessment for material change of use.

Now that the former Novotel golf-course, that was the recipient of numerous national awards, has effectively been destroyed as a tourist facility, it is essential that our new Council keep an proper watch for all residents of what tourists actually come here for.
If developers concrete everything over, they may as well stay home in Tokyo, New York, New Zealand or London.

Hopefully, we won't have just more of the same from this new Council under Mayor Schier and the rest, after their expensive ratepayer-funded junket at Palm Cove.

This will be one of many test cases to show their true colours. We can live in hope.

The closing date for the public to lodge submissions is next Monday, 28th April.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

A mythical new hospital

The Cairns Post is certainly sucking up and congratulating itself big time with the Ed himself to the fore.

Also interesting, is the 'new carpark' in the midst of the recently development Esplanade North Parklands, seems to not get much of a mention?

“The Queensland Government has announced that Cairns Airport will be privatised in a potential billion-dollar deal that will eventually give Cairns a new hospital.”

That’s how the Cairns Post followed up online in reporting the Health Minister’s flying visit to Cairns to announce that the campaign for a new hospital had been successful. Well, 'eventually' anyway.

So, here's what the Minister actually said....

  1. $405 million redevelopment of the current site with a new block and refurbishments. All supported by a clinical services plan “which has been released for public consultation just this week.
  2. That the new health infrastructure will include a new carpark “over the road” on The Esplanade.......... hhhmm, seem to recall that the current carpark there, was intended to be only temporary during construction of the last redevelopment of the hospital site.
  3. That the planned redevelopment on the current site will serve Cairns for “many years into the future.”
  4. Land down on the southside suitable for a new hospital “should that be determined to be the appropriate way to go in years to come”

Spin! Spin! Spin!

What 'new hospital', as advocated by The Post? At least now the State and The Cairns Post seem to be spinning nicely in sync again, with much mutual backslapping!

There are reassurances from Member for Cairns Desley Boyle of full reinvestment of the proceeds from Airport privatisations into the region.

There are also reports that should proceeds of the combined airports sales exceed $900 million required for Cairns, Mt Isa upgrades, and all new $400 million hospital in Mackay, it would be directed into a state infrastructure fund for other unspecified projects.

Someone in the Cairns media is in need of a mental health check up, me thinks.

No new hospital

I don't wanna rain on the party, but there's no new hospital being built in Cairns, despite this morning's Cairns Post banner headlines.

I applaud any community mobilisation for change. However, I detest the manipulation of children for political purposes in the case of the fake and forced letters that school children presented to the Premier about the Trinity State High School yesterday. "I told my parents to vote for you," said one of the letters. Oprah couldn't have orchestrated a better show, if she tried.

Meanwhile, back on the Esplanade and the hospital..

  • From: Alexander, Mark
    Sent: Tuesday, 15 April 2008 10:59 AM
    To: CNS-DL-All Staff
    Subject: Breaking News


    Cairns is getting a NEW hospital.

    The Premier announced this morning that the State will sell Cairns airport to fund an expansion of the existing site in the short term and the building of a new hospital on the southside in the longer term.

    Can I thank all of you for your support for the hospital campaign we have been running during the past few months. Without the support of the newspaper and the entire community, I doubt we would have achieved such a fantastic result.
    Well done.

    See full story on

    Editor The Cairns Post
    22-24 Abbott Street CAIRNS QLD 4870
    P: (07) 4052 6641 F: (07) 4052 6630

"With the funds of this major sale, we will expand and redevelop the Cairns Base Hospital, buy a site for a future Cairns hospital, build a new Mackay Base Hospital on its current site and redevelop Mount Isa Hospital," Premier Bligh said.

In fact, it would be at the very earliest "10 to 15 years away" for any new hospital, if at all.

So what Anna Bligh actually said was to redevelop …… again …… on the current site and buy land for new hospital. This is likely to be a very long time away, given the time frame for redevelopment of the current site itself.

The Cairns Post does it again with its premature claim to success.

So, unfortunately there's no new hospital at this stage.

Nor is there any funding for it.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Growing up fast

Here's our new Division 4 Councillor, Kirsten Lesina, with Division 9 candidate, Janine Aitken.

In a rather busy couple of weeks, Kirsten was sworn in as a Regional Councillor, and also graduated with her law degree at James Cook University.

Last weekend's ceremony at the Cairns Convention Centre, marked the culmination of five years of study for Kirsten, who, at 21 years of age, took the honour as the region's youngest ever elected Councillor.

Having a bad day

Mugabe hanging on

As Zimbabweans await the outcome of the presidential vote, the remaining white farmers have said there is more harassment that repeat the land invasions of eight years ago, under Robert Mugabe's reign of terror.

It's a war that is shaping up more exciting than Kevin Byrne verses Val Schier.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission today ordered a recount of some ballots, in the farce of the recent election. This will happen this coming weekend. African leaders in Zambia, have repeatedly called for the poll results to be announced, almost two weeks after the poll was taken.

Many now have joined the chorus to accept the election results. The results from at least 20 electoral areas had been disputed by Robert Mugabe's Zanu party. Mugabe, who is now 84 years, has ruled the country for 20 years, that boosts the highest inflation rate in the world at over 1000%.

Toilet paper costs $417 Zimbabwean dollars. That's per a single two-ply sheet, not per roll. A roll costs $145,750 ($AUD 0.33 cents).

The price of toilet paper increases every other day it seems. Many joke that the better use for Zimbabwe's $500 bill is as toilet paper, which is now the smallest in circulation.

The International Monetary Fund says inflation in 2006 was 1216% and reached 11,000% in June 2007. It continues to climb and now exceeds 100,000% as of April 2008.

The recent election has had multiple claims of vote rigging, election fraud and intimidation. All this seems normal in such a corrupt regime.
The recount will be of all votes cast in 22 affected constituencies.

The opposition's Movement for Democratic Change claimed its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidency, beating incumbent Robert Mugabe.

According to the initial results, Mugabe's Zanu party has lost its majority for the first time since independence in 1980, winning 97 seats against the MDC's 99 in the 210-seat chamber.
In the Senate (upper house), Mugabe's Zanu, and the opposition, have 30 seats each.

It makes the recents Cairns Regional Council elections, including former councillor Paul Freebody's narrow 10-vote defeat without a re-count, look tame.
Here's the BBC's Election summary.

You know you're Australian if.....

This one is doing the rounds, so I thought I'd share! Kiwi jokes welcome in response.

You know you're Australian if.....

1. You know the meaning of the word "girt".

2. You believe that stubbies can be either drunk or worn.

3. You think it's normal to have a Prime Minister called Kevin.

4. You waddle when you walk due to the 53 expired petrol discount vouchers stuffed in your wallet or purse.

5. You've made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden.

6. You believe it is appropriate to put a rubber in your son's pencil case when he first attends school.

7. When you hear that an American "roots for his team" you wonder how often and with whom.

8. You understand that the phrase "a group of women wearing black thongs" refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds.

9. You pronounce Melbourne as "Mel-bin".

10. You pronounce Penrith as "Pen-riff".

11. You believe the "L" in the word "Australia" is optional.

12. You can translate: "Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas."

13. You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep.

14. You call your best friend "a total bastard" but someone you really, truly despise is just "a bit of a bastard".

15. You think "Woolloomooloo" is a perfectly reasonable name for a place.

16. You're secretly proud of our killer wildlife.

17. You believe it makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that's twice as big as its $2 coin.

18. You understand that "Wagga Wagga" can be abbreviated to "Wagga" but "Woy Woy" can't be called "Woy".

19. You believe that cooked-down axle grease makes a good breakfast spread.

20. You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they again become Kiwis.

21. You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says "cobber".

22. You know that certain words must, by law, be shouted out during any rendition of the Angels' song Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

23. You believe, as an article of faith, that the confectionery known as the Wagon Wheel has become smaller with every passing year.

24. You still don't get why the "Labor" in "Australian Labor Party" is not spelt with a "u".

25. You wear ugh boots outside the house.

26. You believe, as an article of faith, that every important discovery in the world was made by an Australian but then sold off to the Yanks for a pittance.

27. You believe that the more you shorten someone's name the more you like them.

28. Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway fluently in every Asian language.

29. You understand that "excuse me" can sound rude, while "scuse me" is always polite.

30. You know what it's like to swallow a fly, on occasion via your nose.

31. You understand that "you" has a plural and that it's "youse".

32. You know it's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle.

33. Your biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules for beach cricket.

34. You shake your head in horror when companies try to market what they call "Anzac cookies".

35. You still think of Kylie as "that girl off Neighbours".

36. When returning home from overseas, you expect to be brutally strip-searched by Customs - just in case you're trying to sneak in fruit.

37. You believe the phrase "smart casual" refers to a pair of black tracky-daks, suitably laundered.

38. You understand that all train timetables are works of fiction.

39. When working on a bar, you understand male customers will feel the need to offer an excuse whenever they order low-alcohol beer.

40. You get choked up with emotion by the first verse of the national anthem and then have trouble remembering the second.

41. You find yourself ignorant of nearly all the facts deemed essential in the government's new test for migrants.

42. You will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand

Religious butterflies

Rob Williams of Cairns Tropic Jazz writes in response to Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, who has caused a stir with the release of a movie critical about religious extremism.
  • It wasn’t so long ago that the Catholic Church would not recognise a marriage between a Catholic and a “heathen or non Catholic”.

    If you were not “one of them” your soul would go to Hell or some limbo place forever damned. But over the years things have changed. They don’t read the scriptures in Latin any more because no-one knew what they were saying.

    Australia offers people from all Nationalities and Religions the freedom to adapt and change. Already we have them throwing off their garb to play sports. One Lebanese Fullback is said to be the best in the world.

    One day we might even see a Sikh Indian playing football, even though he may have to create a new head dress to accommodate his turban.

    Australia is fortunate to have people like Kevin Rudd, who for the first time in our history, has taken his friendship into the house of the Chinese President to talk about matters of difference that we have with one another. That, to me, sure beats the hell out of the Bush philosophy which is “do as I say or I’ll send a cluster bomb to explode over you and your family, while I sit here, look stupid, and cost my people Trillions of Dollars.

    Whilst I was having breakfast in my garden yesterday a giant butterfly nearly landed on me. It was a female Queen Alexandra’s Bird wing, said to be the largest butterfly in the world.

    They are rainforest critters and eat a vine that is poisonous thus making it toxic to predators which will get sick if they eat the butterfly.

    I was amazed at the size, it would have been 25 centimetres across. Closely in attendance was the most perfect green male Birdwing I have ever seen. They flew off to find a suitable vine to lay eggs.

    What has that got to do with Wilders, you may ask? Well he, and people like him, consume large amounts of poisonous crap instead of living a real life. Other people who take in this toxic crap soon find that they get sick too.

Pete and Jude visit New Zealand

Division 10 candidate in the Regional Council election, Clifton Beach couple Pete and Jude Johnston, headed off to New Zealand for some rest. They share their journey with CairnsBlog readers.
  • Hard on the heels of Pete's Election Campaign, I headed off to New Zealand to care for his 95 year old mum while her regular care giver had some time off. Pete's mum lives in the family home that she was born in. It's an idyllic setting of 28 acres on the Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland.

    A neighbouring property, across the creek, is a working farm of 843 hectares with beef and sheep and pockets of lush Native forests complete with kiwi, wetlands and spectacular river views had been gifted by its owners "for the people of New Zealand's enjoyment.

    While I was there, this property Atiu Creek Regional Park was officially opened by the Governor General of New Zealand. It will still be a working farm, however the public will be able to access this spectacular place, walk over it, mountain bike through it and if you have self contained camper vans, may even camp there. There are cottages to rent as well. There are plenty of fabulous picnic spots and "bring your own gas barbies" would be a must.

    In the 1970's Auckland was blessed with a farsighted and forward thinking Mayor, Sir Dove Myer Robinson. He could see the inevitable time when land would become scarce and he believed that it was important for future generations of children to have access to parks and reserves. With this in mind, he and other like minded councillors and individuals set up what was to be the Auckland Regional Council and part of their brief was to purchase large tracts of land and turn them into Regional Parks for the enjoyment of the people. Some land had already been gifted, like Logan Park and One Tree Hill in the middle of Auckland City.

    The owner of Atiu Creek, Pierre Chatelanat purchased the property in 1951 when he arrived in New Zealand from England. He and his wife Jackie have lived on the property since then, with long stints abroad and the property being run by Farm Managers. When it came time to retire, Pierre and Jackie decided to "gift" this property to the QE11 National Trust who in turn bought in the Auckland Regional Council to manage the transfer and turn it into a "park". Pierre also believed his piece of land should be there for all and not the exclusive domain of the developer.

    Pete's grandfather had worked on the property in his younger days before it was sold to Pierre, and his mum has great memories of riding her horse over the paddocks and through the bush, so we thought it appropriate that "Gran" should be there to experience this momentous occasion. Our daughter Shannon, our niece Heather, and myself bundled Gran up, and drove over the farm roads to Ti Tree Point, where the opening ceremony was to take place. We got her into her wheelchair and manoeuvred her over the furrows to a good position to view and hear the proceedings. The smile on her face said it all and when we asked her if she enjoyed it, her reply was " I wouldn't have missed it for the world".

    As the Invitation for the Official Opening of Atiu Creek Regional Park, April 2008 states: "
    Atiu Creek Regional Park was gifted to the people of New Zealand in October 2005 by Pierre & Jackie Chatelanat. The 843 hectare property was entrusted to the Auckland Regional Council to manage so that Future generations can enjoy access to the Kaipara Harbour in perpetuity."

Madge bows out at 100

Now three or so weeks after the local council election, I've been taking a rest, just like Kevin. However, mine's not over on Double Island.

I missed in the week's leading up to the election, that Dame Edna's sidekick, and her faithful New Zealand bridesmaid, 'Madge Alsopp' died. She was four months off turning 101.

Madge was played by Emily Perry from 1987, when she was a sprightly 80 years, until 2004. 'Madge' was famous for never saying a word.

Prior to the comic abuse she suffered from Barry Humphries' Dame Edna creation, she ran her own Patricia Perry Academy of Dancing. Madge and Edna toured the world and appeared side-by-side on the famous chat shows.

Humphries has played Dame Edna for 53 years now, and is often lauded as a comic genius of the century. He met Emily Perry when she was aged 75. Perry had toured when she entertained troops during the war.

The Madge character was always the butt of Edna's jokes and the character was from New Zealand.

Humphries said that when they were alone she was the most amusing company. "Emily was a very intelligent and very interesting woman," he said.

Towards the last year of her life, Humphries visited Perry in her retirement home where she said she was "in hell".

"It is wonderful to think that, in last 25 years of her life, she became a star," said Barry Humphries. "I think if Dame Edna was to pay tribute, she'd say: 'I wish I'd been nicer to her.' "

Here she is with Dame Edna:

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Wild about Wilders

Radical right-wing Dutch Party for Freedom politician, Geert Wilders, is causing a huge stir with the release of his latest 15 minute film, Fitna. Many countries and religious organisations are calling for it to be banned.
Wilders favors the restriction of immigration to the Netherlands, particularly from non-Western countries. His movie Fitna offers his view on Islam and the Koran. As self-proclaimed defender of free speech and a staunch critic of Islam, he has sought to ban the Koran in the Netherlands because he believes it to be in conflict with Dutch law.
He's likening the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.
"Take a walk down the street and see where this is going. You no longer feel like you are living in your own country. There is a battle going on and we have to defend ourselves," says Wilders. "Before you know it there will be more mosques than churches!"
He says if Muslims want to stay in the Netherlands, they should tear out half the Koran and throw it away. Geert Wilders says the holy book of Islam contains plenty of terrible things and that Islam is a violent religion.
"If Mohammed lived here today, I would propose he be tarred and feathered as an extremist and driven out of the country," he said.
Wilders says that Islam is the "greatest danger threatening us." He says that other political parties avoid this topic. "Everything we are proud of, we are selling to the devil."
"It's not the aim of the movie [to upset] but people might be offended, I know that. So, what the hell? It's their problem, not my problem," he says.
Here's Geert Wilders on BBC's Hardtalk in 2006. This is in Real Media format.
He attracted huge political backing for his ban on the burqa - which covers most of the body.
Fitna, appears to have had everyone holding its breath before its release this week. 25,000 people rallied against the film in Karachi last Sunday, and demonstrators in Pakistan and Indonesia have already called for Wilders to be killed. The 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference has condemned the film. "It is a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims designed to provoke unrest and intolerance.”
Here's the film that everyone's talking about...

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, 3 April 2008

No rest for the wicked

Newly invested Cairns Regional Councillor, Diane Forsyth won't be able to visit her new Council office tomorrow, if her neighbours have their way.

At the same time she was reading her pledge to serve the residents and being sworn in as their new representative, a disgruntled local in her Division, was hammering in a sign on the Edge Hill roundabout.

"Congratulations Di, Now Fix This!" says the sign with an arrow pointing to a damaged and tire-marked roundabout.

Diane lives just along the road on Woodward Street, so will have to eye up the sign on the way to work in the morning.

Her Worship the Mayor

Val Schier, was invested as the Mayor of Cairns Regional Council today.
  • "I would like to start by acknowledging the Aboriginal traditional owners of this land.
    I pay respect to their elders and their cultures and look forward to working in a constructive way with all the Indigenous peoples across our region.

    On this historic occasion, the first meeting of the newly amalgamated Cairns Regional Council, I say thank you to the people who have placed their faith in the 10 councillors and in me to provide leadership of our region over the next four years.

    This is a time of great possibility. It is also, for many, a time of sadness as both the Douglas Shire and the Cairns City Council, each with over a century of history and achievement, cease to exist.

    I would like to personally thank Mike Berwick, who is unable to be here today, for his 17 years of commitment and integrity and for his thoughtful stewardship over all those years of the former Douglas Shire, the jewel in the crown of tropical north Queensland.

    I also acknowledge the contribution of Kevin Byrne who, as Mayor for two terms, presided over the Cairns City Council in a time of unprecedented growth and development. I wish him well in his future endeavours.

    I thank also the councillors who served with both Kevin and Mike for their contributions over many years. Former mayors Tom Pyne and Ron Davis have honoured us with their presence, and there is some of the spirit of another former mayor, the late Keith Goodwin, in the room with us today too, I think.

    Thank you also to the staff of both Douglas and Cairns City Councils who have done so much behind the scenes to keep the business and services running, particularly during the uncertainties of the amalgamation process.

    Today we form a new local government for the Cairns Region and will need to face up to the problems that come with no easy solutions and challenges that will require us to work in innovative and different ways.

    I've met parents in Mooroobool who want their streets to be safer; teenagers in the southern suburbs who need more sporting facilities and things to do; beachside dwellers concerned about soil erosion and loss of animal habitats; hospitality workers in Port Douglas who find rents are too high; business people worried about the impact of an unstable world economy; engineers who offer advice on flood mitigation and residents in places like Babinda and Wonga who think their communities are going to miss out.

    It is the duty of this Council to act on these concerns. And to act in a way that cuts across our political affiliations and diverse personal agendas.

    Many people today feel disempowered by the political process. Can I say to those people who did not vote for those being sworn in here today - we remain respectful of your opinions. It is inherent upon us, as a part of a true and healthy democracy, to govern for all - and to do so in an open, transparent, accountable, and thoroughly professional way. That means local government that gets potholes fixed; the noisy dog next door dealt with; the drains unblocked.

    It also means we need to be actively involved with the major issues such as climate change and population growth, ensuring that developments and housing take into account the unique nature of our environment, its tropical heritage and lifestyle.
    We must remain vigilant in our care of the world heritage reef and the magnificent rainforests on our doorstep.

    Of course to do this effectively we will need to collaborate and work very closely with the two other levels of government, state and federal. That is why it is particularly heartening to see Warren, Desley, Jason, Steve, Jan and Jim here with us today demonstrating an absolutely clear message that they want to work closely with this new regional council.

    Election campaigns inevitably bring out issues that divide us as well as those that unite us. In the aftermath of this campaign there have suggestions that this Council will be anti-business. Let me assure everyone that this Council looks forward to working closely with the business sector, I have already held productive meetings with key groups, as we will also work with non-government organisations and community groups. Some of you know that I come from a small hamlet in rural Tasmania. A community that helped form my strong value base and my lifelong desire to work with and serve the public.

    My parents were good, hard-working people. My mother, who became terminally ill with cancer and died at the end of last year, endowed me with her high energy and the Schier determination to keep going in my goal to be mayor. My father implanted in me a love of the land, integrity, a huge measure of common sense and thankfully ... a sense of humour.

    These qualities, and my diverse life and work experiences, add to the mix of personalities, skills and passions that my 10 councillor colleagues bring to the table.
    Among them of course is Kirsten Lesina, a person I am very much looking forward to working with.

    At 21, Kirsten is making history as the youngest person ever to be elected to council in Cairns. She will be in the position to remind the rest of us daily that the decisions we make will also be for the young people of the region, our grandchildren and our shared future.

    My hope is that we will have robust, energetic discussions - that we will build on the positives, on the things that have gone right, at the same time acknowledging and planning around those areas where we might have done better.

    Importantly, we will to continue to listen to the diverse views of locals and experts, among them the 12 people from Tropical North Queensland who are heading to Canberra for the 2020 summit.

    There has been pain associated with the amalgamation process. However last Thursday at the Summit of Mayors in Brisbane, Premier Anna Bligh talked about a new era in local government in Queensland and how partnerships will take us forward.
    I met with Tom Gilmore from the Tablelands Council, Bill Shannon from Cassowary Coast, Peter Scott from Cooktown and Percy Neal from Yarrabah. All of them are seeking to work in new ways with the Cairns Regional Council to grow our regional economy, to look after our environment and to care for all the people in our diverse communities, particularly the vulnerable.

    We will be called upon during the course of the next four years to provide continuity and stability. And also to be adaptable and creative as we plan to address the changes that are happening on an international, national and local level.

    This Council will need to be alert and responsive to people's fears as well as their hopes.
    And there is hope in this room today; you can feel it.

    We will endeavour to maintain this feeling as we engage with all the communities from Bloomfield to Bramston Beach. I am honoured to be here today as your mayor.

    I will do my utmost to serve the community over the next four years, to provide strong leadership, to work hard, to be approachable. And, above all, with my fellow councillors, ensure the future well-being and prosperity of this most wonderful part of the world.

    Thank you.

We welcome GAZUMPA

Former Douglas Councillor, Rod Davis, share his first GAZUMPA column with CairnsBlog readers...

With the famous headline, “Just Get On With It”, Douglas did as they were told , and put the torch to Kevin Burn. Fleeced by a shearer called Val, down the shute slid the Unity Party. Not unlike Jeff Kennett with weight problem, apparently it’s KB’s turn to be beyond blue.

Then there were two. Unity Party members that is. And with just 2 left standing in the Unity Party, the ‘hung’ in hung party vote swings like a withered prawn star.

But partisan politics aside, the local erections were clearly all about the chics. Go the girls. The sisters are doing it for themselves. It’s Julia-a-Hoy. It’s Fancy Nancy Lanskey, vs Oops it’s Coups. Val, Marg, Julia, Kirsten, Nancy and Di.....yes, that’s 6 chics, to 5 blokes in the CRC. Let’s face it, us blokes have just about buggered the planet, so hey, surely the chics can’t do any worse. I mean look at the former Douglas, 6 blokes to one chic. I rest my case.

Like it or not, it’s maybe time that some of the rusted-on old blokes had a good spray of CRC. All of a sudden the angst that was the daily life of certain Douglas Shire Council managers, has shifted south. Even the Sno had to move south because of atmospheric changes. If I was one of the former, ’favoured blokes” on the Cairns Council staff, I’d walk down the corridors of power with my back to the wall .

As for me, well, clearly in times of the stainless fridge, my fridge magnet election strategy failed hopelessly. Like dead ducks in Chinatown window, we of the [former] Douglas Shire Council were pasted and smoked before we even hit the pot. So I’m now with the amalgamation thing. Yes, I’ve asked my dentist to refill my mouth with mercury amalgams. I’m fluoridating the budgie.

I’ve cashed Jason O’Brien’s 150 bucks, and bought myself some S&M rubber and leather, a can of CRC, and I’m just waiting for my first whipping.

The Rodlimess.

Cairns Regional Councillors

Your new Cairns Regional Council councillors..

Division 1

PO Box 56, Gordonvale, QLD 4865

Tel 4044 3071
Home 4056 2081
Mobile 0427 755 141 ~ Website

Voters 8,818
Hi-Res detailed or Low-Res
Bramston Beach, Mulgrave River (on the west), Gordonvale, Pine Creek Road

Division 2
Cr Nancy Lanskey

68 Thomson Road, Edmonton QLD 4869

Tel 4055 4634
Mobile 0408 782 479 ~ Website

Voters 8,167
MAP Hi-Res detailed or Lo-res
Collinson Creek in the south, Skeleton Creek in the north. Eastward to include the old Queerah site (now industry) and East Edmonton residential area. To the west, it encircles residential subdivisions as far as the Isley Hills.

Division 3
Cr Robert Pyne

8 Amazon Close, Mount Sheridan QLD 4868

Tel 4036 3360
Mobile 0438 360 376 or ~ Council website ~ Personal website

Voters 8,241
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Mt Sheridan, Anderson Road, Forest Gardens, boarders at Toogood Rd

Division 4

Cr Kirsten Lesina
Cairns 1st

PO Box 755 Earlville, QLD 4870

Mobile 0437 029 293 ~ Council website ~ Personal website

Voters 9,180
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Woree, boarders Lake Morris Road / Toogood / Irene / Reservoir Roads. Mulgrave Road to McCoombe

Division 5
Cr Alan Blake

PO Box 705, Edge Hill, QLD 4870
Tel 4051 1171
Mobile 0414 708 529 ~ Website

Voters 8,943
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
CBD, north to Grove / Gatton Sts, Lower Moorobool, Portsmith
Division 6
Cr Linda Cooper

Mobile 0419 656 995 ~ Party Website, Council website

Voters 8,424
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Lake Morris Road to lake, Redlynch Valley, Barron River Gorge, Brinsmead / Kamerunga Roads / McManus Street, Whitfield


Division 7

Cr Diane Forsyth
Cairns 1st

114 Woodward Street, Edge Hill, QLD 4870

Mobile 0400 880 130 ~ Party website, Council Website

Voters 8,466
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Edgehill (south of Woodward St), North Cairns, Manunda (East of McManus St), Paramatta Park. Manoora: Boundary -->Reservoir Road, Hoare Street, Gatton Street, Grove Street, Esplanade

Division 8
Cr Margaret Cochrane
Independent ~ Deputy Mayor

23 Village Terrace, Redlynch, QLD 4870

Tel 4044 3080
Home 4039 0928
Mobile 0419 706 372 ~ Website

Voters 8,754
Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Machans, Holloways, Yorkeys, Freshwater, Edgehill (north of Woodward)

Division 9
Cr Sno Bonneau

7 Saxon Street, Clifton Beach, QLD 4879

Tel 4055 3608
Mobile 0412 653 413 ~ Council website ~ Personal website

Voters 8,739
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Lake Placid, Smithfield, Caravonica, Trinity Beach, Trinity Park, Kewarra

Division 10

Cr Julia Leu

PO Box 800, Mossman, QLD 4873

Mobile 0488 987 066 ~ Council website ~ Personal website

Voters 8,973
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Clifton Beach, Palm Cove, Port Douglas, Mossman, north to Cape Trib and Bloomfield River

Cr Val Schier
Cairns 1st

PO Box 2, Machans Beach, QLD 4878

Tel 4044 3044
Mobile 0407 100 886 ~ Council website ~ Personal website