Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Val Schier sends end of year message

"It's the end of a challenging year and I want to thank you all for your on-going support, positivity and encouragement," Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier writes in her end of year message.

She says that Council has a considerable number of achievements under its belt for the last year.
"I am having a short break over the Christmas and New Year period in Tassie with family, good food and hopefully some good weather too," Schier says. "I hope that you can find time over the coming holiday period to appreciate family, friends and the wonderful environment in which we live."

Schier says that the Prime Minister and Premier's response was valuable.

"I don't think that anyone anticipated that we'd have a visit from both the Prime Minister and the Premier when the 'New Deal' was developed two months ago by Advance Cairns, Cairns Regional Council, the Chamber of Commerce and TTNQ," Val SChier says. "The 'New Deal' proposed a range of short, medium and longer term strategies to reduce our unemployment, assist small businesses to get through the next 12 months, and to diversify our economy so that in the future we are not so vulnerable to downturns in tourism and construction."

Along with Kevin Rudd and Anna Bligh, Schier had meetings with Ministers Arbib, Ferguson and Emerson, and Treasurer Andrew Fraser, in Cairns. They also had an audience with eight Ministers when a deputation went to Canberra.

"The positive responses from the State and Federal Governments have been a clear demonstration that the region will be listened to if we show leadership, propose solutions and don't resort to ‘bagging' the three levels of government," Val Schier says.

"It's great to be part of a new collaborative style of leadership that has moved on from the old adversarial style of confrontation and complaint that has been so evident from some conservative elements in this city," she says.

Val Schier also says that Council will not police illegal clearing of vegetation.

"A key decision of our last meeting will now makes it easier for Council officers to prosecute people who have breached local laws for vegetation and management and have illegally cleared vegetation," Schier says. "Disappointingly, Council has only ever issued warning letters and has never taken a vegetation clearing matter to Court."

Under the new policy, the CEO will be able instruct Council's solicitors to initiate legal proceedings against a person who has wilfully or unlawfully damaged vegetation. Fines will range from $50 - 85,000.

"This decision complements another recent Council decision to erect 'shame' signs in front of any beachfront areas where coastal vegetation is deliberately damaged by people wishing to improve their waterfront views," Schier says.

Val Schier also joined about 200 people in the Walk against Warming on Cairns Esplanade recently, and along with Councillor Diane Forsyth and ALP Member for Barron River, Steve Wettenhall, were the only elected representatives to participate.

"Hopefully, next year the Cairns Climate Change Coalition, who organised the event, will invite the Council to participate and to share the many initiatives which Council has instigated to encourage us to live more sustainably," Schier says.

"Council is particularly proud of its progress on enhancing cycling and walking, and is pleased that both the State and Federal Governments have provided assistance to us through their various funding programs."

She says it's good to see the work being undertaken to make the northern beaches roundabouts safer for cyclists, and to see that the persistence of groups such as CBUG has brought these improvements forward.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Crime Stoppers update

In partnership with the Cairns District Crime Prevention office, CairnsBlog brings you Crime Stoppers update.

Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Cairns Police on 40307000 or Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or Crime Stoppers 24hrs a day.
Crime Stoppers is a charitable community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.

Break and enter, Mount Sheridan:
Edmonton police are investigating a break and enter that occurred at a Booyong Street residence sometime between 8.30pm on December 23 and 8.20am on December 24. A laptop computer and a mobile telephone were stolen during the incident. Police believe entry may have been gained to the residence via a closed but unlocked patio sliding door. Investigations are continuing into the offence.

Man arrested over theft of two vehicles, Edmonton:
Edmonton detectives have charged a 29-year-old Bentley Park man as a result of the unlawful use of two separate vehicles on December 23. It is alleged the man stole a utility from an Edmonton address before driving to a location at Gordonvale where he then allegedly stole a second vehicle. Both vehicles were subsequently recovered and returned to their owners. The man was charged with two counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on January 8.

Youth charged over vehicle break-in, Gordonvale:
A 15-year-old Gordonvale youth has been charged by Gordonvale police after an investigation into the alleged break and enter of a Toyota utility in George Street on Christmas Eve. The teenager was charged with one count of unlawful entry to a motor vehicle and one count of stealing and is due to appear in the Cairns Children’s Court on January 5.

Vandals target Smithfield High School:
Smithfield detectives are continuing their investigations into vandalism at the Smithfield High School which occurred overnight on December 23. A total of 19 windows were smashed as a result of the incident. Detectives yesterday charged a 16-year-old Trinity Park youth with wilful damage and trespass. He is due to appear in the Cairns Children’s Court on January 14. A number of other youths are also assisting police with their inquiries.

Wilful damage by graffiti, Bayview Heights:
Police are investigating a graffiti attack on a vehicle parked in Comet Street, Bayview Heights that took place in the early hours of Monday morning. Vandals targeted the Ford station wagon shortly before 3am and sprayed graffiti over the vehicle. The offenders then entered an unlocked Mazda station wagon which was parked in the driveway of a nearby house. Investigations are continuing.

Break and enter of motor vehicles, Mooroobool:
Police are urging owners to remove valuables and secure their vehicles after a number of recent thefts from unlocked vehicles throughout the Cairns area. In the early hours of Sunday morning thieves entered an unlocked vehicle in Pepperina Street, Mooroobool and stole a mobile phone. Another unlocked vehicle was entered in nearby Marigold Close and a wallet and bottle of liquor stolen. Investigations are continuing into both of the thefts.

Break and enter offence, Bayview Heights:
Police are investigating a break and enter that occurred at a Wirrah Street residence sometime between 4.15 & 4.40pm on Monday December 28. A laptop computer and a mobile telephone were stolen during the incident. Police believe entry was gained to the residence via an unlocked garage door. The resident returned from an early morning walk and heard the offender forcing exit via a back door. It is yet unknown what has been stolen and investigations are continuing into the offence.

Graffiti vandals target Whiterock High School:
Detectives are investigating vandalism that occurred at the Trinity Anglican School on Progress Road, Whiterock sometime between 1.30pm on December 23 and 2.30pm on December 28. Offenders targeted a total of over 50 different areas within the Junior School complex with spray paint causing extensive damage.

Break and enter offence, Mossman:
Police are investigating a break and enter that occurred at a Gorge Road residence sometime between 10.30 and 11.00pm on Monday December 28. A handbag and a bicycle were stolen during the incident. Police believe entry was gained to the residence via an unlocked screen door. Mossman police located the stolen bicycle a short distance away and it was returned to the owner. Investigations are continuing into the offence.

Break and enter of motor vehicles, Kewarra Beach:
Police are reminding owners to remove valuables from their vehicles after three similar break and enters to motor vehicle at Kewarra Beach in the early hours of Monday December 28. Thieves forced entry to vehicles in Poolwood Road, Ellis Close and Myalup Close and stole property including a handbag, a purse and cash.

Cairns Magic man to predict Taipans loss, ummm, score

Many may have seen our resident magician Sam Powers perform at the Casino over the last year or two, in his popular Extreme Illusions show.

Reminiscent of Derren Brown's correct prediction of the UK national lottery, yesterday morning live on Zinc FM, Sam predicted the winner and the score of the Taipans vs Tigers New Years Eve basketball game.

Of course we were not told what it was, however Zinc's radio host signed Sam's prediction and sealed it inside a clear jar, which was then locked inside a steel box.

"The steel box was locked into a glass box making it impossible for anyone to tamper with the prediction before the game," Sam said.

“All my life I have been having premonitions and lately they’re becoming too real to ignore. I have been working on this stunt for five years and this Thursday night will be the first time I have ever tried it.” says Sam Powers.

If you're one of the lucky ones that scored the $5 tickets from Stockland on Boxing day for the game, then you're in for a cheap night's fun.

Sam has also invited anyone attending the game has the chance to win $1000 of prizes if they can guess the winner.

"Everyone can put their name and chosen team into a barrel before the game starts," Sam says. "After I reveal his prediction, a lucky spectator will have their name pulled out, and if they chose the winning team they take home the prizes."

Sounds a bit too hocus pocus for me.

Here's Sam on breakfast TV recently, for those that don't get up at that time of the day.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Storm by Tim Minchin

Here's a great holiday watch, Tim Minchin's witty demolition of irrationality in the medium of a beat poem.

One of my fav Minchin moments was Inflatable you. Thanks for the hat tip from Jake Roberston.

A Tiger Woods holiday poem

Twas the night of Thanksgiving and out of the house

Tiger Woods came a flyin', chased by his spouse.

She wielded a nine iron and wasn't too merry,

Cause a bimbo's phone number was in his Blackberry.

He'd been cheatin' on Elin, and the story progressed.

Woman after woman stepped up and confessed.

He'd been cheatin' with Holly, and Jaimee, and Cori,

With Joselyn, and Kalika. The world had the story.

From the top of the Tour to the basement of blues,

Tiger's sad sordid tale was all over the news.

With hostesses, waitresses, he had lots of sex,

When not in their pants, he was sendin' them texts.

Despite all his cryin' and beggin' and pleadin',

Tiger's wife went investin' -- a new home in Sweden.

And I heard her exclaim from her white Escalade,

"If you're gettin' laid then I'm gettin' paid."

She's not pouting, in fact, she is of jolly good cheer,

Her pre-nup made Christmas come early this year.

Also, here's a great Xmas holiday game.
Just download this fun Tiger game. See how many points you can get before his wife catches him speeding away in the car!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Freebody's arogant and rude behaviour continues

Here's the Facebook page from Kim Freebody, wife of the notoriously rude and aggressive former Councillor and waterpark developer, Paul Freebody.
Kim, and her family, are supporting a new Facebook group called Val Schier is a crap Mayor, that appears to largely have school-age children as it's 900+ members.
"Val Scheir [sic] has done a crap job since becoming Cairns mayor. Rate hikes, radio blunders, and now a ukulele festival!!" the group boasts in it's description.
As a mother and a so-called "director" of her partner's business, she's setting a fine civic example for her Christan sons, who also have subscribed to the Facebook page. Kim also lists the family 5 Star Carwash Cafe business on her Facebook profile.
Kim Freebody, who turns 42 on January 15th, must think they're home free with Cairns Regional Council. The Freebody family apparently have no compunction at dissing our Mayor, or those elected to public office, yet still seek their backing and advice in supporting their waterpark venture.
The development application for the Freebody waterpark, to be situated on the Barron River flood delta, was narrowly passed by Council in November, after he personally attacked a number of female Councillors on radio. He called Councillor Kirsten Lesina, who pipped him at the polls the year before, a "young kid."
"The only one that is negative, and always negative, is Kirsten Lesina because - I mean, I don't know what the problem is with this young kid, but she hasn't got a clue," Freebody screamed on the radio. "You've got Kirsten Lesina coming out going 'oh I don't understand the report'. Of course she doesn't understand it, she's 21 and she shouldn't be in council. But read the report, girl. I mean if you're going to be a councillor do your job and understand the report," Paul Freebody said when the Council unanimously deferred the application for two weeks.
Regardless of political leanings, the Freebody family must think this is an adult way to act and encourage their children and run down the elected Mayor of Cairns.
Next time I see Kim, or Paul for that matter, I might take Facebook's option to give them a jolly good poke.
The personal hatred on the Facebook group is full of silly nonsensical comments.
"Didnt she say during the election that she was going to fix the potholes? coz there's this one near my house thats been there for the past 2 years," Dominic Scafidi wrote.
Felix Matey Nicholls writes "what about the rut on the inside lane on mulgrave rd just outside hungry jacks i get people swerving in front of me just to avoid it lost count of the years thats been there."
28 year old Sheriann Luckie accuses the Mayor of not turning up too her workplace for a function, yet fails to disclose where she works.
"My workplace held a function for her to attend a morning tea. Alot of organising and alot of people She was the guest of honour, the morning tea was for her, blah, blah, blah. But she didnt even turn up! She never called to cancel, reschedule it or even apologise! Management were very disappointed and they didn't hesitate in letting her know!..what happened to 3rd strike your out?And Im sure people are going to spend thousands of dollars to travel from other countries to come here just to watch a uke festival!"
However an ALP member Chris Rollason, an outspoken critic of Schier, says that the only good thing she has done was found the Council's Indigenous Advisory Committee.
Paul Freebody recently returned from a "revenue gathering" mission to find investors in the United States, to make up a $20 million shortfall. I guess when he showed them the plans that his waterpark was to be sited in the middle of a river system, they laughed at him. However, all was not lost. Paul returned with a bunch of coloured wrist bands that he stole from a swimming park in Florida and an idea to have a mascot mutt named "Adventure Dog."

Top 10 Xmas spots

Reuters names their top ten:
  1. Bethlehem, West Bank
  2. Santa Claus Village, Finland
  3. New York City, USA
  4. Bondi Beach, Australia
  5. Midnight Mass, Vatican City (not if you're the Pope!)
  6. Dublin, Ireland
  7. Nuremberg, Germany
  8. Zurich, Switzerland
  9. Tokyo, Japan
  10. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Hat Tip: David Farrar, KiwiBlog

A few Queens, and their Christmas messages

Our Majesty Queen Elizabeth II delivers her annual Christmas message to the peoples of the Commonwealth. That's you and me.

And some out-takes...

Here's an alternative Christmas Message from legendary drag queen Bette Bourne and playwright Mark Ravenhill (courtesy of The Guardian)

Here's a 'English for dirty foreigners Not Real Queen of England makes her Christmas speech to the nation, an honest and heartfelt address to all her subjects.

Here's another Majesty, the officially unoffical monarch, His Royal Weaselness King Randy the First of Weaselvania's Yuletide message to the nations of the world. [Available with captions for the hard of hearing]

And yet one more alternative Christmas message from Thelma Falls-Hand, from 'Chocolate Moon', a new comedy sketch show.

Saturday SoapBlog: Rodney Hudson - Suffering in Silence

This week's SoapBlog I've invited 15 year old Trinity Bay High student, Rodney Hudson, to take the stand.

Rodney writes about factory farming in Australia, and asks us to think about how we support this without even knowing.

Imagine a field of Chickens and Pigs and whatever other animals you would perhaps like to eat all grazing and free, out to spread their legs and feed their own offspring.

Sadly this is not how most farmed animals in this country are treated.

Perhaps you may already be aware that most laying hens in this country, in fact some 11 million hens, spend their lives in cages so small they can’t even spread their wings. Most of them endure pain similar to you having your fingers cut off when their beaks are cut off, cutting through nerves in the process without the use of pain killers.

One of the main reasons behind this unethical treatment of farmed animals is because it is cheap. It costs the Australian Government a lot less to keep 1000 hens/pigs in a small shed than if they were to put 50 hens/pigs on a farm the same size so they had room to move around.

Many people would rather pay more money to know that the animals they are eating are being treated ethically though. Rhys Watson, year 10 student at Trinity Bay State High School, said that he “Would rather spend more money to know the animals were being treated ethically,” after being informed on just some of the cruelties farmed animals have to face every day of their lives. Although not all people feel this way. Nerissa Scaife, year 12 student at Trinity Bay, Believes that she “Would rather continue to pay the regular price.”

Scientific studies show that pigs are very social animals and are every bit as smart as household dogs. In Australian Factory Farms pigs are put in cages so small they can’t even turn around and are kept in these cages for their whole lives. Piglets often have their tails cut off and again nerves are sliced through with no pain killers used.

When asked her opinion on the way these animals had been treated, year 10 student Madi Brooke said that “It’s disgusting and wrong. If I had my way I would do the same back to the farmers and see how they liked it.”

Farming practices like the ones mentioned are all legal farming practices in Australia. This means that politicians believe that it is okay to treat animals this way. In a recent survey, more than half the people interviewed believe that animals that are kept in factory farms are not treated fairly. Although some people do still believe that they are treated fairly and support the decision to continue treating them this way.

One of the reasons that a lot of people continue to support these acts of cruelty upon animals by continuing to purchase factory farmed products is a lack of education on the way the animals have been treated.

Out of six people interviewed, no one knew what a factory farm was until they were informed.

Year 9 student, Kody Johnstone, said that he “Has never heard of it before.. Is that where they grow factories?” If more people were educated on unethical Australian farming practices, perhaps all animals could be given an equal opportunity to live their lives.

So next time you go to grocery shopping, before you buy factory farmed products ask yourself.. How would my dog cope being confined to a cage so small it can’t lie down properly?

How would I like to have the tops of my fingers cut off with no pain killers? Why love one and eat another?

Friday, 25 December 2009

The importance of telling a good lie

Last month four JCU students were partying until late and did not study for a test which was scheduled for the next day.

In the morning, they hatched a cunning plan.

They made themselves look as dirty as possible, with grease and dirt. They then went to the teacher and said that they had gone to a wedding party last night and on their return, a tyre burst on their car and they had to push the car all the way back home and that they were in no condition to do the test.

The teacher kindly allowed them to do a re-test after three days. They thanked him and said they would be ready by that time. On the third day, they went for their test.

The teacher said that as this was a special condition test, and all four were required to sit in separate classrooms. They agreed as they had prepared well in the last three days.

The test consisted of oine single question, worth a total of 100 Marks....
  • Q1. Which tyre?

    a) Front Left
    b) Front Right
    c) Back Left
    d) Back Right

Best Xmas decoration ever

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Andrew Griffiths: Use your time wisely

Cairns business coach and writer Andrew Griffiths shares a few words as we head toward the 2009 finishing line...

Well it’s that time of year where we’re all looking longingly at the finish line.
Wow, what a year it has been. In my own little world it’s been a roller coaster ride on every level and there have been many days where I have had to stop and scratch my head and say “well that was a new experience”.

Christmas is the perfect time to stop and reflect. I like to take a three step approach to this. It is the time I like to really stop and give thanks for all that I achieved during the year. Hopefully you have got your own whiteboard up with a list of your 2009 victories in big, bold font. Celebrate them out loud and give yourself a really good pat on the back. There are plenty of businesses that are no longer out there – if you have survived what has been one of the toughest times in our history, you well and truly deserve that pat.

Secondly I like to ponder on what it is I have learnt during the year.
And I have to say this year has been one big, hairy year of learning, that’s for sure. I think most of us have plenty to ponder and hopefully there are lessons we can grow from. If we haven’t learnt anything from the GFC we are destined to repeat the mistakes. Real business success that can be sustained comes from experience. I have made pretty much every mistake known to man kind, but I don’t beat myself up over them. I learn from them and try to help others from making the same mistakes.

Third and in many ways most importantly, think about where you are heading in 2010.
Now is the time to spend a few hours getting very clear about what it is you want to achieve out of every facet of your life in the coming year. Goal setting is a big topic but to keep it short and to the point my advice is simple – be very specific about what you want to achieve, write it all down, start to visualise that you have already achieved it all and last but not least, don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. They are your goals – make them as big or as little as you want. But make them.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say “thanks”. I have about 1000 subscribers to my Business Bullet and I get a surprising amount of feedback. This year I had three books published, next year I am back to one, so keep an eye on your email and an eye on the bookstores. I look forward to sharing some of my adventures and my advice with you in 2010.
Safe travels, get passionate about all that you do and dream big.

Drink yaself silly

The cool iPhone application DrinkTracker, created right here in Cairns, is running a $1000 video competition.

Just upload your video to YouTube and you could take a share in the $1000 prize pool!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Acting is an honourable profession for temporary Mayor Cochrane

Just a couple of days after Cairns Regional Mayor Val Schier stepped on a plane for a Christmas holiday to her Tasmanian hideaway, her Deputy has revelling in her new-found title.

"Cairns region continues as a Dengue free zone with Council encouraging residents to maintain the status all year round, "acting mayor" Margaret Cochrane said, in a media release flicked out yesterday.

Insiders say she was hunting for an issue to get a media statement out with her temporary title "ASAP after Schier left the building."

"Many people would be away over Christmas it was important for neighbourhoods to maintain constant vigilance in preventing a reoccurrence of the dreaded disease," Cochrane says in the statement. "The Cairns region has not a single case of the disease active at the moment, however community efforts to keep Cairns Dengue free should be kept alive and well.”

“Everyone is encouraged to keep up with all the Dengue preventative measures Council has outlined over the last year including emptying and cleaning dog bowls, pot plant trays and other water holding containers, cleaning out gutters and using insecticide spray around the home,” she said.

As serious as it is to clean up yards preventing mosquito breeding, Council dropped the ball last wet season with Cairns recording 909 Dengue infections, one of the highest-ever recorded outbreaks.

Port Douglas had 3; Yarrabah 1; Mareeba 1; Innisfail 35; and Townsville 73.

Council's environmental department, headed by Council's senior environmental health officer Gil Farrow, who was in control of the outbreak last season, appeared out of touch and took weeks to mobilise staff. In early December 2008, as the first 15 cases were notified by Queensland Health, Farrow failed to react and was simply lazy in dealing with reported cases were action was required. A vacant property in Gatton Street that was reported to Council and handed directly to Gil Farrow by a resident, totally ignored any action for three weeks. An old outdoor concrete washing tub contained "hundreds of larvae," and was left to kick-start the breeding cycle.

I hope they have not only totally reviewed their operations, but got someone else in charge.

Laurie Phipps, with the auspicious title as manager of Environmental Assessment, says it's critical residents be vigilant.

“We have had an extended dry period which adversely affected the breeding cycle of the mosquitoes that carry dengue, but the community is required to remain watchful in order to stay Dengue free as intermittent rainfall creates conditions for mosquito breeding,” he said yesterday.

This season Laurie had better get his staff to clean out their own yards first, before preaching to residents. In March, at the height of the outbreak, Council's Martyn Street Works Depot was found harbouring buckets of breeding mosquito larvae, after a local resident spotted the disgusting situation whilst walking his dog. Six members of his family had already been infected with Dengue. The works depot, situated in North Cairns, was just a couple of blocks away from where the initial cases were found, and the first 100 Dengue infections subsequently were recorded. Unquestionably, Council exacerbated the already volatile situation.

Let's hope Lady Margaret enjoys her reign and sends out as many media statements as possible whilst Val Schier is out of town as "acting mayor." However the track record of Council on Dengue management is rather sad, verging on incompetency.

Let's hope with a new CEO at the top, and having a woman in charge, someone will be told to take out the rubbish, and do what they're told.


This statement just out from Council.

  • Holiday season protocol

    23 December 2009

    While Mayor Val Schier is away on holiday over the Christmas season, Deputy Mayor Cr Margaret Cochrane takes on the mantel of Acting Mayor.

    “The Mayor is on a well deserved break from duties and it is part of my job to lead Council in her absence,” Cr Cochrane said.

    “I will be spending the holiday season here in Cairns with family,” she said.

    Council offices will be closed for three working days between the Christmas and New Year public holidays, Tuesday 29 – Friday 31 December. Officers will return to normal working hours Monday 4 January 2010.

    The Mayor will return to the helm of Council Monday 11 January, 2010.

    Acting Mayor Cr Margaret Cochrane 0419 706 372.

Not the full square

The stunning new Cairns Square development on the corner of Abbott and Shields Streets, is almost completed.

Women's clothing store Lorna Jane, is one of the first to open. However, I think they need a new window dresser, because things really aren't the square deal.


Some clever staffer removed the offending mistake this morning!

Cairns Regional Council holiday stuff

This just in, your contacts and info for our Council over the hols... It's an exciting read.
  • Customer Service call centre will operate standard hours on business days – phone 4044 3044 (Cairns area), 4099 9444 (Mossman area) or 1800 070 444. Counter service and specialist enquiries will be unavailable from 2pm on Thursday 24 December 2009 until Monday 4 January 2010.

  • Emergency calls will be taken at all times by Council’s after-hours call centre (phone 4044 3044).

  • Cairns Esplanade
    Inner City Facilities administration office will be closed from 2pm Thursday 24 December. Reopening on Monday 4 January 2010.

    The City Heart is alive with colour, lighting, lanterns, music, movies and fun over the festive season. New Years Eve – Free Family Entertainment near lagoon 6pm to 12am. Fireworks at 9pm and 12am. NO GLASS, SPARKLERS OR ALCOHOL!
    Visit the Esplanade website for full event details.

  • Civic Theatre
    Closed from 2pm on Thursday 24 December. Reopening on Monday 4 January 2010. Ticketlink – closed Public Holidays.

  • Animal Control:
    McCoombe Street Pound will be closed Christmas Day and New Years Day. On all other days between 26 December 2009 and 3 January 2010, the Pound will be open 2.00pm – 2.30pm by appointment only. After Hours will continue to operate over the entire period and Local Laws Officers will be on duty each day. Patrols will continue as usual throughout the Christmas and New Year Period. Phone 4044 3044 or 1800 070 444.

    Animal control officers will be on call throughout the Christmas and New Year period. Mossman Pound will be open by arrangement only. Phone 4099 9444.

  • Flecker Botanic Gardens
    Gardens open on 25 and 26 December 2009, 1 January 2010 and weekends from 7:30am to 5:30pm. Open 7:30am to 5:30pm on all regular business days.

  • Garbage & Recycling Waste Collection
    No disruption – collection as per normal service days for garbage and recycling waste disposal.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Steve Ryan of CAFNEC responds to "blowing up his office and shooting at greenies"

Steve Ryan from the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre attended a volatile meeting of the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, held at Crosswell Hall recently.

He was interested to hear CAFNEC mentioned on a number of occasions, and takes this right of reply to respond to some of the statements.

Whilst certainly not wanting to overreact to John Mondora's comments about people blowing up CAFNEC offices and shooting at greenies, it should be noted that these comments were made.

Two speakers on the night claimed CAFNEC doesn't care about people and the impacts of its proposals. As a community organisation we represent the views of our membership as best we can. Mostly, these members want to see the integrity of the natural environment of the region maintained for both its own sake, and to retain the lifestyle and surroundings that define our lifestyles. As our population increases there are ever more pressure on our natural systems.

CAFNEC's role is to ensure the changes required occur without dispossessing the greater community of our lifestyle and that natural systems of the region continue to function and provide for us all into the future.

Speakers at the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party meeting commented on the changes they have seen in their lifetimes and the restrictions being placed on their enjoyment of the sea and bush. Speakers also claimed that CAFNEC sought to lock people out from the landscape and that we do this with "no science" to back us up. These are issues regarding the control of access to some areas, such as designated camping areas in National Parks, road closures and fishing restrictions.

CAFNEC would like to point out that most speakers were at least of an age where, in their lifetimes, they would have seen the population of the planet double with the regional population also doubling over the last 30 years, from 110 000 in 1976 to 221 000 in 2006. We continue to grow at one of the fastest rates in the state. This growth, together with the increase in 4WD and boat registrations, results in increasing pressures on our environment that have necessitated changes in how we view and manage our local areas.

Simply, the world has changed and so must our approach to it. Responsibility for the impacts of this continuing growth must be taken and there is a price to be paid by us all. The freedom to go anywhere and do anything is one we can now scarcely afford, and the places where we still can "escape" this world grow smaller as we continue to expand our presence.

The need for protected areas, such as National Parks and marine reserves, is now widely accepted in the scientific and natural resource management community. Protected areas are vital, but the job of ensuring healthy landscapes is too great for protected areas to achieve on their own. Through efforts such as Landcare, sustainable use principles are also gaining greater acceptance in land and sea outside protected areas. The science, and common sense, tells us that both approaches are required to succeed in preventing species after species from disappearing.

CAFNEC formed around the campaign to create the Wet Tropics World Heritage area and worked hard to secure greater protection for the Great Barrier Reef. At the time of their creation, there were those in the community claiming these proposals would lead to economic and social disaster. These two assets are now the backbone of our regional economy and enjoyed by residents and many others from around the globe.

Working towards the creation and better resourcing of protected areas is only one area of CAFNEC’s activities. The FNQ 2031 Regional Plan has been a major focus for the past three years, as has preventing inappropriate development in areas such as East Trinity, False Cape, Ella Bay and others. Community based climate change initiatives, regional sustainability forums, sustainable housing solutions, Cairns Central Swamp revegetation, natural resource management and a number of other areas are all part of our activities.

Funding is primarily via membership and donations from the community which is supplemented by fundraising events, and government and philanthropic grants. We are a lean and efficient community organisation which tries its best to cover this vast region with the meagre funding available.

The Coral Sea Heritage Park campaign is one of our current projects and is carried out as part of a national and international coalition of organisations working to a common goal. With over 99% of the world's oceans open to fishing, we feel a fully protected Coral Sea (starting far out, beyond the outer Barrier Reef) would make an invaluable contribution to the long term health of the Western Pacific Ocean. As the gate way to this region, Cairns stands to bear the most cost of creating this park, but also stands to gain most as the gateway to what would be the world's largest marine protected area network.

The costs can be managed and solutions to problems found, but to miss this opportunity risks to forgo many of the potential opportunities it will bring. The Coral Sea belongs to all Australians, not just the few with the resources to exploit it.

Watch the sneaky Council and what they're up to behind your Christmas turkey

Cairns Regional Council have done it again, and everyone should be as skeptical as hell.

In last Saturday’s weekend paper, there was an advertisement for the "lease and upgrade" of Council’s Palm Cove Caravan Park (read: ours) .
For the nerdy readers out there, like Sue, Warren and Jude, that's lot 242 on SP202695. It also including the optional sublease on and development of Council’s adjacent tourist facility site, which is lot 253 on NR7824.
The advertisement stated that tender applications close on the 2nd February 2010. So the ad goes in just six days before Christmas and closes a few days after the Christmas holiday period ends.
I recall this type of "consultation" happening last year when Council held a series of meetings to get the public input at around the same time, over the proposed Smithfield Town Centre development. So, if you really want to exclude the community, tell them about it when they distracted with more important things like their family.
"The skeptic in me says, that they already have someone or some organisation lined up to take on the management and 're-development'," says Fiona Tulip, president of the Combined Beaches Community Association. "I don't think they want this too widely publicised."
"Two previous public notifications and consultation processes to do with the upgrade of this caravan park were all done over the Christmas period," says Fiona Tulip. "I even joked to a friend about looking out for the ad just before Christmas, and bingo, she spotted it!"

The Combined Beaches Community Association says that he two public consultation processes so far have been "lip service" and nothing more.
"A promise by the Mayor at a community meeting held earlier this year in Clifton Beach for more community involvement in the upgrade decision making processes came to nought," Fiona Tulip says.
This tender process should have been advertised at a less busy time. What an insult to the community. If the new CEO does not over rule the planning department and extend the public submission until at least the end of February, we'll know who's got the trousers on.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Another Dengue case confirmed in Townsville

Today, another locally-acquired dengue fever case was confirmed in Townsville.

This brings the total to 12, made up of 9 type 1, and 3 type 3 infections.

Out of the four pending cases from the weekend, one has been confirmed as dengue type 3 in Wulguru. A further two have come back negative. Queensland Health are still awaiting on one result.

Also of note, testing has revealed that the current dengue type 3 circulating in Townsville, is different to the one we had during the epidemic earlier in 2009. This confirms that this strain is a new import.

CairnsBlog will keep you informed via our MoziWatch tally on the sidebar of the blog. Stay tuned and be vigilant in emptying those containers and other places were water collects and becomes stagnant.

I wonder if Council staff are checking the Martyn Street depot this year?

Grab a Cairns Mum's Diary for 2010

A Facebook friend, Vickie Farquhar, told me about a special gift, produced right here in Cairns, that I should share with my readers.

It's the 2010 Cairns' Mum's Diary, for all the mums, and those who have one out there, and it's a really nice gift idea this Christmas.

"The diary is designed exclusively for busy mum’s living in Cairns," says publisher and Brinsmead mum, Samantha Thyrd.

This is the first edition of the Cairns Mum's Diary. Samantha says there wasn't a diary on the market that facilitated her needs in Cairns.

"It's a handy A5 size, perfect for handbags or to sit by the telephone. I designed the diary out of necessity for some sanity," Samantha says.

"I am a graphic designer, so figured I could put my skills to some good use and help other mums in the process. I have always wanted to work for myself and somehow raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and producing the diary would help me to do just that," she says.

Samantha's brother died of Muscular Dystrophy when he was just 18, and his group of friends didn't make it past the age of 14, she says. Muscular Dystrophy is a muscle degenerative disability, and sufferers are born with it, and rarely live past the age of 20.

"I'm passionate about helping anyone with a disability, especially children. If I can help just one child improve their quality of life, I'll feel like it's all worth it."

The Cairns' Mum's diary is aimed at mothers living in Cairns. It highlights Queensland school and public holidays and has all the relevant family "what to do" activities in Cairns.

"There's many Cairns events which are family friendly," Samantha says. "Each week, there is a tear out shopping and to do list, and its in A5 size, which is convenient for the handbag. It has a PVC plastic zip lock pocket to keep loose papers and pens," says Samantha.

To get your copy for available for $24.95 and support the Muscular Dystrophy Association, order via the website, from many local Cairns stockists, or email Samantha.

  • Packed with convenient reminders throughout the diary of “what’s on” for families in Cairns
  • School holidays and public holidays are highlighted throughout the diary
  • A week to week tear out shopping list and to do list
  • Never lose your shopping list again
  • A plastic pocket for storing all those loose papers and receipts
  • A useful website page for mums
  • Two pages of ideas for what to do with kids in and around Cairns
  • A page of cheap and easy activities to do with kids at home

Crime Stoppers update

In partnership with the Cairns District Crime Prevention office, CairnsBlog brings you Crime Stoppers update.

Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Cairns Police on 40307000 or Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or Crime Stoppers 24hrs a day.
Crime Stoppers is a charitable community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.

Man charged over theft from the person, Cairns City:
A 72-year-old Mooroobool man was arrested and charged with stealing from the person on Friday morning after he allegedly stole a mobile phone and a wallet from a 28-year-old man who was asleep in City Place. Police charged the man and he appeared in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon.

Children charged over unlawful use of motor vehicle, Cairns:
Detectives from the Cairns Child Protection and Investigation Unit have charged four children in relation to the unlawful use of a motor vehicle. The Holden sedan was allegedly stolen from outside a Thomas Street North Cairns address overnight on Thursday and was later located crashed into a pole in Tulip Close at Manunda. Two boys aged 12, and another aged 13 are due to appear in the Cairns Childrens Court later this month and a 15-year-old is to be dealt with under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Man arrested after jumping between buildings, Cairns City:
Police have arrested and charged a 30-year-old Mareeba man after a dramatic escape attempt on Sunday night. Police had attended a Lake Street high rise apartment complex in order to speak with the man in relation to a number of matters. On entering the fourth floor unit the man allegedly fled and jumped over the balcony onto a garden mezzanine level of an adjoining building. Police then gained entry to a unit in that building and allegedly located the man hiding in a pantry. He was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a dangerous drug, unregulated high risk activity, trespass, obstructing police and a number of Bail Act offences and is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court later today.

High range drink driver arrested, Whiterock:
A 24-year-old Innisfail man is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on January 7 after he was arrested for driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or a drug early on Friday morning. Edmonton Police intercepted the man’s Mitsubishi sedan on Sheehy Road at about 3.50 am and he allegedly returned a breath alcohol reading of .152%.

Break and enter offence at Port Douglas:
Police are investigating the theft of a mobile phone and charger and a set of keys after a break and enter offence that occurred at a Trochus Close address overnight last Thursday. Thieves entered the dwelling via an unlocked door and stole the items. Police are urging residents to secure their properties to prevent similar offences by opportunistic thieves.

Man charged after driving unregistered vehicle to police station:
A 34-year-old Holloway’s Beach man has been charged with driving an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle after he allegedly drove his Toyota van to the Smithfield Police on Friday. He had been required to attend the station in relation to other matters when police detected the offence. He is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court January 14.

Four charged with public nuisance, Manunda:
Four people were arrested on six charges including public nuisance, contravening a direction and obstructing police following a birthday party at skate rink on Behan Street, Manunda on Saturday night. The party had been registered with police and around 400 people expected to attend, however was shut down by the venue management after considerable damage was done to the toilets. Police attended after some of the party-goers became involved in a disturbance outside the complex. The crowd was dispersed with four people charged. No one was injured in the incident.

Man arrested after damaging property, Edmonton:
A 24-year-old Manoora man is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on January 6 after he allegedly damaged two letterboxes belonging to Bruce Highway residents on Saturday night. It is alleged the man left an Edmonton Hotel shortly after 10pm and walked along the highway where he damaged the letter boxes and was creating a disturbance. He was detained by residents until police arrived and arrested him. The man was charged with two counts of willful and unlawful damage.

Theft of vehicle, Cairns City:
Cairns police are investigating the theft of a Holden Commodore utility from Aplin Street overnight on Saturday. The vehicle is blue and when stolen was bearing Queensland registration 543JPE.

Unlawful entry to motor vehicles, Westcourt:
Police are investigating the unlawful entry to two vehicles from neighbouring properties on Aumuller Street sometime between 7.30pm on Saturday and 6.30am on Sunday. In the first instance the vehicle owner had forgotten to lock her vehicle and thieves entered and removed a quantity of wrapped Christmas presents from within. Thieves then targeted an unlocked vehicle in a neighbouring yard and stole a satellite navigational system as well as a fob watch. Police are urging vehicle owners to secure their vehicles and to remove valuables from within while vehicles are unattended.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Premature Toyota advert came and left early

Toyota has dumped a TV advert for the new Yaris after several thousand complaints that it was sexist.

The boyfriend arrives to take a girl out and says to the father:

Boyfriend: "I'm here to take Jennifer's virginity out tonight."
Father: "She can take a good pounding in any direction"
Daughter: "I'm ready to blow."
Boyfriend: "I'll have her on her back by 11."

Appropriately is was called Clean Getaways. With all this climate and world recession stuff, I think we need to lighten up and have a bit of a giggle.

If you missed it on telly, here it is:

Saturday, 19 December 2009

These little [Aussie] piggies went to Copenhagen

The following Australian officials went all the way to Copenhagen and came home with no agreement. Amazing.

  • Kevin Michael Rudd Prime Minister
  • Ms. Penelope Wong Minister, Climate Change and Water, Office of the Minister for Climate Change and Water
  • Ms. Louise Helen Hand Ambassador for Climate Change Department of Climate Change
  • Mr. David Fredericks Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Mr. Philip Green Oam Senior Policy Adviser, Foreign Affairs, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Mr. Andrew Charlton Senior Adviser Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Mr. Lachlan Harris Senior Press Secretary Prime Minister’s Office Office of Prime Minister
  • Mr. Scott Dewar Senior Adviser Office of Prime Minister
  • Ms. Clare Penrose Adviser Office of Prime Minister
  • Ms. Fiona Sugden Media Adviser Office of Prime Minister
  • Ms. Lisa French Office of the Prime Minister
  • Mr. Jeremy Hilman Adviser Office of Prime Minister
  • Ms. Tarah Barzanji Adviser Office of Prime Minister
  • Mr. Kate Shaw Executive Secretary Office of Prime Minister
  • Ms. Gaile Barnes Executive Assistant Office of Prime Minister
  • Ms. Gordon de Brouwer Deputy Secretary Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Mr. Patrick Suckling First Assistant Secretary, International Division Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Ms. Rebecca Christie Prime Minister’s Office
  • Mr. Michael Jones Official Photographer Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Mr. Stephan Rudzki
  • Mr. David Bell Federal Agent Australian Federal Police
  • Ms. Kym Baillie Australian Federal Police
  • Mr. David Champion Australian Federal Police
  • Mr. Matt Jebb Federal Agent Australian Federal Police
  • Mr. Craig Kendall Federal Agent Australian Federal Police
  • Mr. Ian Lane Squadron Leader Staff, Officer VIP Operations
  • Mr. John Olenich Media Adviser / Adviser to Minister Wong Office of the Minister for Climate Change and Water
  • Ms. Kristina Hickey Adviser to Minister Wong Office of the Minister for Climate Change and Water
  • Mr. Martin Parkinson Secretary Department of Climate Change
  • Mr. Howard Bamsey Special Envoy for Climate Change Department of Climate Change
  • Mr. Robert Owen-Jones Assistant Secretary, International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Clare Walsh Assistant Secretary, International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Jenny Elizabeth Wilkinson Policy Advisor Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Elizabeth Mary Peak Principal Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Kristin Tilley Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Mr. Andrew Ure Acting Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Annemarie Watt Director, Land Sector Negotiations international Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Kushla Munro Director, International Forest Carbon Section International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Kathleen Annette Rowley Director, Strategic and Technical Analysis Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Anitra Cowan Assistant Director, Multilateral Negotiations Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Sally Truong Assisting Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Jane Wilkinson Assistant Director Department of Climate Change
    Ms. Tracey Mackay Assistant Director International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Laura Brown Assistant Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Tracey-Anne Leahey Delegation Manager Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Nicola Loffler Senior Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Tamara Curll Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Jessica Allen Legal Support Officer Department of Climate Change
  • Mr. Sanjiva de Silva Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Gaia Puleston Political Adviser Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Penelope Jane Morton Policy Adviser, Multilateral Negotiations (UNFCCC)
    International Division Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Claire Elizabeth Watt Policy Advisor Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Amanda Walker Policy Officer, Multilateral Negotiations Department of Climate Change
  • Mr. Alan David Lee Policy Adviser, Land Sector Negotiations Department of Climate Change
  • Ms. Erika Kate Oord Australian Stakeholder Manager Department of Climate Change
  • Mr. Jahda Kirian Swanborough Communications Manager Ministerial Communication Department of Climate Change
  • H.E. Mr. Sharyn Minahan Ambassador DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
  • Ms. Julia Feeney Director, Climate Change and Environment Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Mr. Chester Geoffrey Cunningham Second Secretary DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Germany
  • Ms. Rachael Virginia Cooper Executive Officer, Climate Change and Environment Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Ms. Rachael Grivas Executive Officer, Environment Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Moya Elyn Collett Desk officer, Climate Change and Environment Section Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Mr. Rob Law Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Mr. Robin Davies Assistant Director General, Sustainable Development Group Australian Agency for International Development
  • Ms. Deborah Fulton Director, Policy and Global Environment Australian Agency for International Development
  • Ms. Katherine Renee Ann Vaughn Policy Advisor, Policy and Global Environment Australian Agency for International Development
  • Mr. Brian Dawson Policy Adviser Australian Agency for International Development
  • Mr. Andrew Leigh Clarke Deputy Secretary Department of Resources Development, Western Australia
  • Mr. Bruce Wilson General Manager, Environment Energy and Environment Division Department of Resources Development, Western Australia
  • Ms. Jill McCarthy Policy Adviser Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
  • Mr. Simon French Policy Adviser Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • Mr. Ian Michael Ruscoe Policy Adviser Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • Mr. David Walland Acting Superintendent, National Climate Centre Bureau of Meteorology
  • Mr. Damien Dunn Senior Policy Adviser The Australian Treasury
  • Ms. Helen Hawka Fuhrman Policy Officer, Renewable Energy Policy and Partnerships
  • Mr. Scott Vivian Davenport Chief Economics NSW Department of Industry and Investment
  • Mr. Graham Julian Levitt Policy Manager, Climate Change NSW Department of Industry and Investment
  • Ms. Kate Jennifer Jones Minister, Climate Change and Sustainability Queensland Government
  • Mr. Michael William Dart Principal Policy Advisor Office of the Hon. Kate Jones MP Queensland Government
  • Mr. Matthew Anthony Jamie Skoien Senior Director, Office of Climate Change Queensland Government
  • Mr. Michael David Rann Premier, South Australia Department of Premier and Cabinet, Southern Australia
  • Ms. Suzanne Kay Harter Adviser Department of Premier and Cabinet, Southern Australia
  • Mr. Paul David Flanagan Manager, Communications Government of South Australia
  • Mr. Timothy William O’Loughlin Deputy Chief Executive, Sustainability and Workforce Management Department of Premier and Cabinet South Australian Government
  • Ms. Nyla Sarwar M.Sc student Linacre College University of Oxford
  • Mr. Gavin Jennings Minister, Environment and Climate Change and Innovation, Victorian Government
  • Ms. Sarah Broadbent Sustainability Adviser
  • Ms. Rebecca Falkingham Senior Adviser Victoria Government/Office of Climate Change
  • Mr. Simon Camroux Policy Adviser Energy Supply Association of Australia Limited
  • Mr. Geoff Lake Adviser Australian Local Government Association
  • Sridhar Ayyalaraju Post Visit Controller DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
  • Mr. Tegan Brink Deputy Visit Controller and Security Liaison Officer Diplomatic Mission of Australia

Cairns North sporting precinct will include hockey and tennis

The $1 million Cairns Hockey Association bid to establish their iconic Cairns North site, alongside the new tennis facility, looks set to go ahead following a meeting with Pat Flanagan and hockey representatives yesterday.
Councilor Robert Pyne confirmed his support for Council funding the project.

Pyne's decision follows confirmation by Desley Boyle, the member for Cairns, that the State Government funding was not capable of being transferred to the Cairns Regional Council-favored Edmonton Multi-Purpose Centre.
“It is hard to detail the merits of this project to folks who are not aware of the significant contribution that Government and the Cairns business community are prepared to make to create this vision," Robert Pyne said.
The State Government is contributing $1.3m to the project, and Cairns Hockey will put in $200,000.
"The fact Hockey are not in the habit of putting their hand out and have run a very professional outfit in the past is very important," Pyne says. "But I would be lying if I did not admit the State funding is the ’clincher’."

Saturday SoapBlog: Ross Parisi - Emission Trading Scheme could cost Rudd

Former Mulgrave Shire Councillor who now farms on the Barron River delta, Ross Parisi, takes this week's SoapBlog and says that Rudd's Emission Trading Scheme is nothing more than a tax.

Parisi explains that everyday consumers will wear the cost, with no benefit to the environment.

The re election of the Rudd Government in 2010 is no longer an assured shoe-in.

There is every chance that Rudd will have to pull out all stops to retain a working majority, let alone win with an increased majority. The unexpected election of Tony Abbott to the leadership of the Liberal Party has caught the Rudd Government and its advisors on the hop.

Totally unprepared for the elevation of Abbott to the Opposition leadership has got the Government in a spin. Rest assured there will not be an early election notwithstanding what happens to the Emission Trading Scheme, ETS when it is reintroduced into Federal Parliament in February 2010. Rudd will hold off calling an election right up to the last minute in the hope that like Latham, Abbott will self-implode.

As sure as night follows day the ETS legislation will be rejected by the Senate with the taunt from the Opposition for the Government to call an early election. If Rudd had the ability to hide the ETS legislation under the biggest of rocks, he would readily do it. Rudd has snookered himself.

What was used by Rudd to hammer Turnbull into political submission may well be the poison chalice that could cost the Rudd Government the next election.

What has caused this phenomenon, this major turnaround in electoral landscape to eventuate?

Rudd, the process politician, the micro manager, the control freak, the king of political spin, has failed to take to Copenhagen with him the Australian people. He has left them behind due to his lazy politics and miscalculation.

Rudd, Wong, Combet and others, put all their efforts into Turnbull. The thing is that Turnbull needed no convincing. All he needed was a face saving opportunity. This was presented to him on a plate when Rudd agreed to negotiate.

The Rudd Government was always going to agree to the bulk of the proposed Liberal amendments. Rudd surmised that if the Liberals could be given a face saving opportunity, then there was no need for the hard yards that would be needed to convince the electorate of the ETS and the costs thereof to Rudd’s working families.

As political observers have since realised Turnbull was/is no politician. That became evident by the way Howard set up Turnbull during the Republican referendum of 10 years ago and of more recent times by calling for Rudd’s resignation based on false emails. How politically incompetent was Turnbull!

Rudd had the measure of Turnbull, but he does not have the measure of Abbott.

Abbott, amongst many other things is a moving target and therefore at times may appear as erratic. Nevertheless, Abbott is the retail politician. He has form. He was given the task by Howard to negate the impetus of Pauline Hanson and we well know that result.

Abbott is a politician, not a merchant banker, whose ilk would stand to make million in the application of ETS, nor the process man that Rudd is. In the end, in the game of politics, politicians always win through against pretenders.

The template for Abbott strategy was set by Keating in the 1993 ‘true believers’ election. Hewson, the then Liberal Party leader lost the “unloseable” election. During the course of the election campaign the major theme that Keating ran on was visiting retail outlets including the infamous cake shop and stating how much extra the cake would cost once the GST was applied. Well the rest is history.

Abbott will be using this strategy to damning effect during the course of the 2010 election campaign. Only this week it was flagged that the NSW electricity price would rise over the course of a 3 year period by 60%. Here in Queensland electricity costs are forecast to rise by over 16%.

Every Mum and Dad that made up Rudd’s working families, the same ones that abandoned Howard in the 2007 election, will listen to Abbott’s mantra and it will resonate with them all the way to the ballot box.

This scenario will be compounded if there is no substantial agreement in Copenhagen which at the time of writing seems likely. This is the risk that Rudd was desperate to avoid when he demanded that the ETS legislation be approved by the Senate before Copenhagen.

One of the smartest politicians in the Parliament is Senator Barnaby Joyce. He picked up on a simmering disquiet in the country community which has since spread to the cities and continues to spread with subtle determination. Generally by their very nature Oppositions reflect more accurately community sentiment.

Rudd chose to gamble on the Liberals being frightened to the point that they feared electoral annihilation and would surrender meekly but he did not consider that while Turnbull could be easily persuaded because of his previous public utterances, the majority of the party would not be.

Rudd thinking that Turnbull and the Liberals were in his pocket saw no need to articulate the effects of the ETS on working families. The electorate is left out of any consideration when there is bipartisan support.

This miscalculation may well cost Rudd the next election. The 24/7 process man may yet prove to have been a lazy and careless politician.

Best Xmas buys for geeks

Carl, the Butcher of Kuranda, has picked his best buys for the geeks this commercial Christmas season.

What, no digital radio?

The USS Warship welcomed to Cairns

Here's a video compilation of Bryan's altercation with the might of the USS military machine, when it visiting Cairns in November.

Editing and movie direction: B Law. Obama or Bryan Law for the Nobel Peace Prize?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Auschwitz thieves set sign free

Probably the most famous and iconic sign in contemporary history, the Auschwitz entrance sign, was stolen overnight.
The sign that graced the entrance of Poland's Nazi-era concentration camp Auschwitz, that was inscribed "Arbeit macht frei" meaning, work will set you free, was removed at around 5am today.
"A police dog has been set on the trail of the thieves,'' a local report said.
It was removed by being unscrewed on one side and pulled off on the other.
"We have launched an intensive search. There are currently no suspects but we are pursuing several theories," local police said.
This is the first time the sign has been stolen since it was erected in 1942. The sign was made by prisoners. Around 1.4 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz.
"It's a terrible thing," Auschwitz official Pawel Sawicki, the BBC reported. "The sign means everything - it's a symbol of what Auschwitz stands for. But a place where hundreds of thousands of people died obviously doesn't mean anything to the thieves," he said.
A replica sign has already been installed.
The words also adorned the entrances to other Nazi camps at Dachau and Sachensenhausen. The Auschwitz barracks and other structures are almost in ruin nowadays as they were not built to last. Just this week Germany donated 60 million euro ($97 m AUD) to fund conservation work.

Student Union officials manipulated accreditation report

Due to the alleged misconduct by the general secretary and returning officer of the National Union of Students, there will be no ballot for 2010 as planned.

"This is also about the withholding and manipulation of the campus accreditation report," national president David Barrow said this afternoon in a brief statement.

"The Union is currently seeking legal advice and will seek to resolve this situation as soon as possible," Barrows said. "These issues remain confined to the governance of the organisation and have no relation to the day-to-day operations of NUS staff and volunteers."

Crime Stoppers update

In partnership with the Cairns District Crime Prevention office, CairnsBlog brings you Crime Stoppers update.

Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Cairns Police on 40307000 or Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or Crime Stoppers 24hrs a day.
Crime Stoppers is a charitable community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.

Police hunt male offender after Manunda assault
Cairns Detectives are continuing investigations in relation to a sexual assault that occurred at a Manunda unit at about 5.20am yesterday. The male offender was last seen running along north McCormack Street in the direction of Birch Street.
He is described as being a male aged about 30 years and of Torres Strait Islander appearance. He is believed to me about 178 cm tall and has a proportionate build. He has black hair and was wearing a goatee type beard.

Police dogs locate burglary suspect, Edge Hill:
A 25-year-old Whitfield man was charged with two counts of burglary and six counts of entering premises and stealing. The man was tracked and apprehended by a police dog and handler in Edge Hill shortly before midnight. Officers attended the neighbourhood after receiving reports in relations to a number of break-ins to houses and motor vehicles in the vicinity of Boden and Richardson Streets. The man is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court later this month.

Drink driver crashes into vehicle, Cairns City:
A 28-year-old Cairns man has been charged with drink driving and unlicensed driving after allegedly crashing his car into a parked vehicle on Lake Street around 1.30am today. The man allegedly returned a breath alcohol reading of .127%. He is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court next month. Police are urging motorists to take greater care on the road and not be tempted to drink and drive.

Drink driving charges, Cairns:
A 42-year-old Woree man was charged with drink driving and unlicensed driving after police intercepted his vehicle for a routine traffic matter in Mario Street, Woree around 10.30pm yesterday. The man allegedly returned a breath alcohol reading of .168%. Police also seized the man’s vehicle. He is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on January 5.

Unlawful entry to motor vehicles, Port Douglas:
Police are investigating thefts from two motor vehicles that have occurred outside a Limpet Avenue residence. Thieves targeted the unlocked vehicles sometime between 1pm on Wednesday and 2am on Thursday.

Yet another reason not to visit Townsville

Townsville now has two separate dengue fever outbreaks circulating at the same

A dengue fever outbreak was declared last month, with a total of 11 confirmed cases so far, mainly in the suburbs of Garbutt and Heatley. Additional tests showed dengue type 1 was causing the outbreak.

Now Queensland Health has determined two confirmed dengue cases in Wulguru residents are type 3.

Tropical Regional Services Public Health Medical Officer Dr Steven Donohue said that this means two separate strains of the disease are now in the city.

“The fact there are now two strains circulating is of great concern,” said Dr Donohue. “We are unaware of the origin of this new dengue type 3 outbreak, but significant mosquito breeding sites have been found by mosquito control officers in Wulguru."

“We will be genotyping this virus to compare it with the dengue type 3 epidemic strain early this year — although we feel it’s unlikely it managed to persist through from last season,” Dr Donohue says.

Queensland Health says that those who have had another dengue type previously, are at increased risk of more serious illness with a second dose of the disease. This can include complications such as dengue haemorrhagic fever, with can lead to death.

Dr Donohue confirmed that results were also pending on four other cases.

“This is a bad sign given that we have not even had significant rains yet and lots of people travel around over Christmas,” he said.

It's important that individuals as well as businesses — get rid of mosquito breeding sites around the yard and workplace, Queensland Health stresses.

“We want to ensure people are as prepared as possible this year to avoid a repeat of last year.”

The North Queensland dengue epidemic during the last wet season was the largest in at least 50 years.

Dengue outbreaks last season recorded 915 cases, mainly in Cairns, whilst there were 57 type one and 16 type three cases in Townsville.

Cairns glass bottle recycling deposit called for

Are you getting flatted by glass?

"There needs to be lobbying at national level to bring all the states in line with South Australia," Cairns mayor Val Schier says, if we are to see a Queensland bottle deposit scheme that has operated in South Australia for many years.

Bicycle Queensland is calling for the scheme and is combining with Planet Ark, schools, and the Queensland Conservation Council, to encourage the State Government to introduce a deposit on glass bottles.

Local environmentalist, Terry Spackman says that his son recently got a nasty gash to his foot from a broken stubby bottle while wading in the Mulgrave River at Gordonvale.

"I get furious when I visit our many natural beauty spots and find stubbys and cans that can be carried in full but not out empty," Terry Spackman says.

He says that a deposit or return fee or 10c is too low.

"50c would really keep Queensland free of discarded drink containers and help protect us from morons who are so stupid, they would brake and leave a stubby at a known swimming spot."

Geoff Holland is another local activist that is supporting a scheme for glass bottle return.

"This is to increase recycling and reduce the habit of glass bottles being left near roads," Holland says. "Bottles are prone to being smashed, and Bicycle Queensland has recently had increasing evidence of injuries to cyclists from tyre blow-out caused by glass embedded in tyres," he says.

In South Australia, where there is a 10 cent bottle deposit, there is less incidence of glass on roads and fewer injuries to cyclists, according to Bicycle Queensland.

"We encourage people to contact their local state MP to voice their support for this cycle-safe initiative," Geoff Holland says.

There is an e-petition to introduce a refund on drink containers to clean up our streets, parks and cycleways of glass and associated litter.

Mulgrave MP, Curtis Pitt says that the litter laws introduced in 2007 have made enforcing littering offences easier, particularly when litter is thrown from a vehicle.

"Before these new laws were introduced, an authorised person had to stop the vehicle, obtain the details of the person who littered and issue the infringement notice directly to that person," Pitt says.

"This had the potential to be dangerous and confrontational for the authorised person and as a consequence, very few litter infringement notices were issued since 2000. The new laws have allowed an authorised person – Environmental Protection Agency officers, local government officers and Queensland Police officers - to send an infringement notice to the registered operator of a vehicle from which a littering offence has been observed," Curtis Pitt says.

However, in relation to the glass bottle deposit scheme for Queensland, he says that Government is currently considering this option in the development of a Queensland Waste Strategy.

"A wide variety of waste avoidance programs were raised in a discussion paper, previously released for community feedback," he says. "A draft strategy will be released in coming months."

Curtis Pitt says the Environment Protection and Heritage Council, made up of all State and Territory Environment Ministers, is currently conducting an assessment of potential options for national measures – including container deposit legislation.

"This will address resource efficiency, environmental impacts and the reduction of litter from packaging wastes, such as beverage containers."

Cairns Reef Casino - a drug and gang hideaway

According to leaked Crime and Misconduct Commission papers, a gang of wealthy criminals from the southern states that have links with mafia cocaine cartels, and have used Cairns' Reef Casino for their activities.

The Australian reports that nightclubs that were used for cocaine parties and to house special gangster rooms providing drugs and prostitutes to local criminals.

"The group was recorded gambling thousands of dollars at the Reef Casino in Cairns, using high-priced callgirls on the Gold Coast and associating with senior members of some of Australia's most dangerous bikie gangsters," the reports says.

"At one establishment they regularly frequented, the suspects were so notorious that their bar table became known as 'the mafia table' and was where they held 'white parties' with strippers in special 'gangster' rooms."

The CMC confirmed that the project was undertaken but would not discuss any operational details.

Lake and Wharf streets will still flood, says Williams

Lake Street and Wharf Street will flood again this year, CairnsBlog cartoonist Robbie says, even after the huge investment by Cairns Regional Council installing massive pumps below Lake Street.
He says that the floods generally come in February and coincide with a flood tide.
"For example there will be a 3 metre tide on February 2," Rob Williams says.
"If we have had our average rainfall then, 200 mm every 24 hours is pretty common."
"The water level can be the same at the corner of Lake and Spence with the other side of Trinity. The new pumps will be useless as tits on a bull and a total waste of ratepayers money."

Jim Turnour: "We're turning schools into construction sites"

History Bites: The Cairns beach

CairnsBlog brings you our weekly column, History Bites, a series of historical vignettes, pertinent to our unique and special region.

Produced by Dr Timothy Bottoms, a published and widely respected historian based in Cairns, North Queensland. He has spent ten years researching and writing City of the South Pacific, A History of Cairns.

History Bites is a series of unique and easily readable pieces for
CairnsBlog readers.
Dr Bottoms is a specialist in Aboriginal and North Queensland history and has wide experience in writing, producing and presenting radio documentaries and music biographies.

CHSP 3051 (Historical Society of Cairns)
Looking north along the Cairns Esplanade in the 1890s.

The Cairns Beach, which before the First World War, had huge sand spits, some of which ran out over a half a kilometre (⅓ of a mile) and began where the East/West streets joined the Esplanade, can be clearly seen.

The combination of filling in the hollows between the sand dunes that ran north/south, as well as swamps, and the continued use of the dredge TSS Trinity Bay to keep the shipping channels open, was to change the beachfront forever.

In 1919, a local wrote in his diary:

  • “We had a walk along the Town beach as far as the Blacks camp near the mangroves past the Hospital…”

Three years later in 1922 a visiting writer recorded on his arrival at the Strand Hotel ‘on the beach of Cairns’, that

  • “The white beach invited our attention first, and we strolled along it. It stretched like a band of pearl and saffron along the blue water’s rim, dotted with palm trees, with giant fig-trees, and flame trees just bursting into flower.”

However, fourteen years later in 1936, after the dredge had been operating for 23 years, saw the editor of the Bendigo Advertiser, observe of the foreshore at Cairns:

  • “At low tide, however, the receding water leaves a rather unsightly mud flat…oozy, mangrove mud.”

This is an extract from: A History of Cairns – City of the South Pacific 1770-1995, by Dr Timothy Bottoms, PhD, Central Queensland University, 2002, Photo 2.1, p.72.You can contact Dr Bottoms via email. There is more information on his website.