Saturday 2 August 2008

The ghost of Desley Boyle

In a surprise and shock turnaround, State Member for Cairns, Desley Boyle MP addressed the public meeting at the Cairns Yacht Club this afternoon.

Here's her speech in full, unabridged, as she delivered to a packed and eager audience just hours ago. Anything is possible Desley, governing and representing for the people and by the people...

G’day, I’m Desley Boyle, the member for Cairns.

Wendy Richardson invited me along here today to spell out what I’m going to do about Cairns heritage and the Yacht Club building.

Now most people will remember that Wendy Richardson ran against me in the seat of Cairns at the last election on behalf of the Liberal Party. Remember the Liberal Party? What’s ’is name? Something Brough? Rhymes with rough. And that long confusing name of your new Party? What was that again? Never mind.

We’re all friends in politics.

I’d like to thank Wendy for participating in our democracy because that’s what it’s all about. Democracy. Democracy has no greater supporters than myself, Anna Bligh, the great Labor Party, and the government of Queensland (honest).

And I’d like to thank Wendy in particular for raising yet again the heritage and social issues surrounding the Cairns Yacht Club building – the Aquatic building - because the ability of a community to make effective decisions about heritage and development lies at the very heart of our legacy to future generations. It’s about the continuing life of our city.

Queensland history has shown that if government can’t get heritage and development right, then it doesn’t deserve to hold office and won’t for very much longer. Remember Cloudland? The Bellevue Hotel, The House on the Hill? Cairns ANZAC Park? If I couldn’t come to you today and explain how I intend to solve the heritage problem of the Cairns Yacht Club building, then I just wouldn’t be worth voting for. It would be your duty to toss me out!

Fortunately, that won’t be necessary.

I’m here today to tell you that I’ve been listening. I’m here to announce the new Queensland government policy and program for the Cairns Cityport project and the integrated development of a preserved and refurbished Aquatic Dancehall at No 4 Wharf St in our beautiful city.

Let me explain.

The Cairns Port Authority, or City Ports Inc., or whatever its name is developed a “master plan” concept more than a decade ago for turning the Cairns waterfront into a sleek modern precinct of steel, glass and concrete. All tastefully arranged as a six story barrier between Cairns CBD and Trinity Inlet. Apparently it’ll have "sight lines".

Now most of you will know that the Goss government, the Beattie government, and the Bligh government have all gone along with this master-plan essentially because it’s a goldmine, and will provide the Queensland government with a great big pile of money. Eventually you’d get a little bit. Everybody likes money.

You’d get shitty with us if we didn’t bring in the moolah, and Cairns is dependent on a tourism industry, so a new passenger terminal with attendant facilities and enterprises is a good thing, and in general the CityPort project is simply responsible government.


For more than 5 years now there’s been a pesky bunch of citizen ratbags who’ve persisted in arguing for preserving the heritage values of the Yacht Club building. And persisted. And persisted.

To be honest, there were times I wished that they’d just go away and leave me alone.

Still, as our great leader Anna Bligh often tells me, it doesn’t matter what I want. I’m here to serve the people, and what I’ve noticed is that these citizen ratbags have twice collected 5,000 signatures on a petition to preserve and adapt the cairns yacht Club building. The current petition has been collected inside a month.

PRETTY IN INK: Desley signs the petition to save
the Yacht Club, signature number 4,863.
I notice the steady stream of older Cairns residents who have cherished memories of their involvement with the Aquatic building and want it preserved. I notice the steady stream of younger residents and visitors who find the club-style ambiance of the present day Aquatic a valuable experience. I notice the continuing interest in the dance floor of a live music venue.

I notice that an apparent majority of Cairns residents want the building retained, refurbished, and managed as a community facility which embodies and advertises some of the qualities that makes Cairns special.

I might have wished they’d go away, but those citizen ratbags have disclosed a genuine and worthy community desire.

As a consequence of getting this message I’ve reflected on the Cairns Port Authority and its CityPort development.

The first thing I’ve noticed about the Cairns Port Authority is that we (the government of Queensland) own it. Really. They have to do what we tell them. (That’s good to know).

The second thing is that master-plans elsewhere have been less than optimal in achieving desired outcomes. As one little example I remember the plan for City Place, just like the plan for CityPort, was full of jargon about sight-lines and how they made connections between places.

City Place. Remember when it was a good to hang out? Remember ANZAC Park? Remember when it was a leafy gathering place amenable to human presence? Now it’s a Casino. Cairns Central School is a hotel (nice swimming pool). The nature of our city is changing, and I’m beginning to think we might re-evaluate some of the other developments master-planned way back when.

When I ask how hard it’d be to incorporate an adapted Yacht Club building into a City Port precinct I get told different things. Clive Skarrot and Neil Quinn tell me it’d be terribly inconvenient. Along with the burden of flogging off an airport in a falling market, having to innovate in the sea port might cause the schedule of the tea-trolly to become unreliable.

(Remember the first point. We own them).

Architects, planners and citizen ratbags tell me it’s entirely possible to integrate a restored Aquatic dance-hall and bistro in the present building and site in a way that complements and builds on the development of Cairns as a high value destination for local, regional and global visitors.

As your Parliamentary representative for Cairns I see the people call for a development which incorporates their heritage in a particular way. I can see how preserving and adapting elements of that heritage may enrich our culture and our way of life. I can see that it’s technically possible to give the people what they want, and in fact can be paid for by City Port development as a whole. This public land, and we are obliged to produce the outcome they demand = particularly when it’s as easy to do as this one is.

We own the Cairns Port Authority.

Clive, Neil, hop to it!

The Transport Minister and Treasurer will make an announcement soon with all the details. Meanwhile I’ll be putting together the community panel to plan for ongoing public ownership of the Aquatic as a valued component of our heritage and culture.

In conclusion I’d like to thank you all once again for your continuing interest in this issue and remind you that a vote for Desley Boyle and the glorious Labor Party under Great Leader Bligh is the only true prospect for democracy and good government in Queensland.

Well done citizens!

Member for Cairns
Minister for Tourism, Regional Development and Industry


Anonymous said...

As a tax payer of Queensland and rate payer for Cairns City, I strongly object to the Member for Cairns, Desley Boyle, calling those who speak out on issues and I am one of those people, "ratbag citizens". Those of us who live on the Northern Beaches were labelled "ratbag troublemakers" by the previous Mayor and this most inappropriate labelling just goes to show the contempt and arrogance of those in power, whether they be State or Local government.

The State Government, namely Queensland Health, recently spent millions on putting up posters all over health workplaces, in an attempt to stamp our bullying, harrassment, denigration and intimidation in our workplaces.

The joke of course, is that our so-called leaders, lead by example.
Shame on you Desley!

KitchenSlut said...

Long confusing name?

I think Liberal National Party has the same number of letters as Australian Labor Party? Which is now neither Australian nor Labor in context of policy, in Queensland at least?

How much money has been spent again on the "tree of knowledge" in Barcaldine in the last 10 years by this guvmint to promote its own history?

Anonymous said...

LNP = Loosers and No-hopers Party ???

Anonymous said...

Funny.. LNP actually stands for Loosers and Non-Performers

KitchenSlut said...


Geez guys it doesn't even google in any context apart from a demonstrating your own illiteracy!

Anonymous said...

I know my morals are getting looser as I get older but I don't think I'm a loser just yet.

Anonymous said...

Get something clear right now. Not everyone concerned with saving the Yacht Club is a Liberal/National Party voter or supporter. It galls me to see people politicise this most important issue. How dare you!!