Monday, 5 July 2010

Pokies plan for Cairns gets the biggest loser award

The weekend Courier Mail was awash with a rescue plan for Cairns from new Queensland Party MP Aidan McLindon, to move hundreds of pokies to Cairns from, around the State. The idea should not be discounted, according to local independent candidate, Wendy Richardson.

McLindon thinks Cairns could be Australia's answer to Las Vegas, who has in the past vehemently campaigned against more poker machines. A tourism meeting today in Brisbane will air the idea, that has had no discussion with locals in Cairns, and something Mayor Val Schier thinks is as a nutty as a fruitcake.

However Aidan McLindon, who wants to debate the idea, caught his fellow Queensland Party and local independent candidate for Barron River, Wendy Richardson, by surprise.

"Like most people, my initial reaction was that it conflicted with the purity of the region's natural attractions," Wendy Richardson told CairnsBlog this afternoon, whilst in a queue at the Gold Coast's Dreamworld with her children. She however suggests that the concept should not be dismissed without proper consideration.

"However, Aidan McLindon's idea is not intended for the suburban areas of Cairns, instead, it is envisaged as a 'satellite city' that could be established in an outback location, with Cairns as the international entry point," Wendy Richardson says. "As a society, we have a lot of issues with excessive everyday gambling. This solution would make poker machines only accessible on special occasions."

Richardson says community organisations would benefit from the plan, more than they currently do.

"With funding possibly on a per person basis, gauged on numbers of people involved in a sport or organisation, no doubt other applications for funding would also be considered," she says. "This could result in a great result; more people involved in sport. People should understand this is an idea only though so far; with potential to resolve some problem gambling, create employment and improve community funding."

Wendy Richardson says there is a lot of detail which needs to be considered, but asks people to think how they would feel if we were passed over and Townsville became the entry point.

"There is always more than one way to work through problems," she says. "Let's think about what is positive about this suggestion. Who knows - we may come up with an even better idea."

18 comments:

Alison Alloway said...

A far better idea for the stability and growth of the tourist industry in Cairns is to support the idea of the Cairns Cultural Precinct.
The spin-offs and capabilities of such a centre are endless. A state of the art performing centre will attract television and film studios to undertake performing and filming of shows here. Studio work may help with the demand for an institute of N.I.D.A. to be established here in Cairns as well as training facilities for technicians, film making etc. The muesum which is to be established within the Cultural Precinct will promote the development and training of skills in museum curator, archaeology and antiquities. Meanwhile, expanded convention facilities will mean international conventions...Cairns may be able to host C.H.O.G.M. meetings, or various committees of the United Nations...These alone will generate jobs and businesses, ie security, chauffeuring, IT communications, secretarial....
It's a big step up to the world stage and becoming a world city, and I am hoping the Federal Government comes good with funding.

Please go away Wendy said...

Wendy you are truely a f.cking idiot. C'mon enough is enough this is the most unpopular idea that's ever been proposed in Cairns. It's time to walk away from politics once and for all and stop dragging whats left of your family name through the mud. You are an embarassment and to be involved in this.... honestly it's time to leave the public eye for good.

Andrew Tunney (via Facebook) said...

Yeah, that's just what Cairns needs - more pokies when we already have the Reef Casino and heaps of other venues to gamble at.

Surely at some stage, the local and state Governments have to be above the almighty $$; aren't they supposed to do what's right for US as a community that votes for them?

Cairns Resident said...

Alison, people like you never seize to amuse me. You must have recently immigrated from Melbourne!
Do you really think "cultural whatever" will bring more tourists to Cairns? Don't we the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne to go to for culture?
We have a non-paralleled wealth of natural wonders such as the GBR and Wet Tropics rainforest - that's why tourists travel to Cairns! Do yourself a favor, take a walk in the streets and ask our visitors why they have chosen to come to Cairns. So far, the CCC has consulted business houses about the volcano rubish, of course they say "yes", they say yes to anything because most of them also immigrated from Melbourne, just like you.

Paul Christie (via Facebook) said...

They do whats right for those that fund their campiagns, or for those economic powers that threaten to stage a campaign against them, or those that can threaten job losses and those that can promise them nice jobs after office.
democracy has never been about the best interests of the masses.. it was always only meant to look like that.

Chris Forsberg said...

The emerging political movement that is the North Queensland Party rejects suggestions that it is 'in-talks' with Queensland Party founder and sole MP Aidan McLindon.

There never were plans for any form of affiliation, noting that Mr. McLindon's overall agenda appeared to be based on state-wide issues and items, in contrast to NQP policies, which are concerned solely and exclusively with aims for the state's northern region.

We certainly wish Aidan well - he has some bright ideas for future governance of the state - and the LNP have lost an energetic and engaging MP with his decision to leave the ranks of the state opposition.

However, NQPeople overwhelmingly were aghast at a Sunday Mail item yesterday (4 July) which quoted the dynamic Beaudesert MP as promoting a plan to convert Cairns in to a 'Gaming Capital' along Las Vegas lines.

Most curious was the exclusion from the item of any mention of the Queensland Party's own candidate in the area, Barron River QP nominee Wendy Richardson.

CairnsBlog readers may well wonder why her 'party leader' choose to brief an influential media outlet like the Sunday Mail without as much as mentioning his party's candidate for the seat where his proposal would impact most!

Carl Butcher (via Facebook) said...

To take a quote Bender from Futurama: "We're starting our own Vegas, with hookers and blackjack!"

Al said...

Is this the best these jokers can come up with? This just highlights the absolute dearth of leadership in the alternatives to government.

A Real Cairns Resident said...

Cairns Resident- what is your problem? Your narrow minded views never CEASES to amaze me (seizes?)
We ratepayers have just paid out another $600,000 to maintain the backpacker's swimming hole and yet not a whinge from the likes of you yet you make fun of people who can see the financial and community potential of a cultural precinct in this town.
As a conference venue alone we rate as one of the most desirable venues in the world held back only by the size of our current facilities. This argument is supported by the Conference Centre itself as well as Advance Cairns. The tourism potential alone of this venture would make this a money earner for our city, especially if people are paying to use the facilities, which is a better financial proposition than the currently 'free' lagoon that I help pay for but will never use.

KitchenSlut said...

"Wendy Richardson says there is a lot of detail which needs to be considered, but asks people to think how they would feel if we were passed over and Townsville became the entry point."

Actually, I would feel quite good on this one and perhaps we should consider Townsville as the more appropriate venue for this scheme if it has any viability! Which politically it doesn't!

In terms of policy reform politics Aidan is looking a bit like some version of Kevin Rudd with a quarter the IQ.

I find the references to childrens sport somewhat bizarre from any economic perspective if the intention is to limit gambling and consequently state revenue? The winner from any positives would be more likely Tweed Heads than Cairns?

Wendy Richardson said...

A few points for people who are actually interested in anything constructive:
Aidan McLindon proposed this Aus Vegas model in his first parliamentary speech a year ago. It preceded the Queensland Party by 12 months and is not Queensland Party policy.

Aidan has raised the topic at this time as he presented a paper yesterday on the concept at a tourism conference attended by National and International tourism representatives.

The concept is for a stand-alone development in a fairly remote location, not within close proximity of existing towns or cities. It is highly unlikely that the Cairns Regional Council would be asked to host the concept as it only covers areas close to existing population centres.

I was consulted about it and I suggested that it could be in conflict with our general theme of natural, eco-friendly tourism. However, I do think it may have merit if located in the ‘outback’ area where unemployment is even higher than that of Cairns.

Cairns could benefit from the spin-off of being the entry point for tourists arriving through either our domestic or international airport terminals. There would also be the obvious spin-off of work for local trades people in the set up phase, and hospitality workers and many others, once it was operational.

For people who are concerned about the effect of the pokies already in Cairns, that is the main reason for this initiative. Re-locate poker machines into one major new spot, away from the damaging effect of everyday availability without losing the income from them.

A small number of FNQ tourism representatives have been contacted informally about the proposal; further discussions are planned. The idea has initially met with an open-minded, positive response.

Tim Costello, World Vision’s CEO has responded positively today to the concept for its ability to reduce problem gambling, although he too has not yet gathered that the site is to be a remote location, not in downtown Cairns, or for that matter downtown anywhere.

The idea is certainly ‘outside the square’ but don’t we need a bit more of that? And no-one is forcing this on anyone – it’s out there for a long period of public scrutiny.

Alison Alloway said...

Cairns Resident, take your personal sneering and scoffing and shove it. I am a fourth generation born Far North Queenslander, the descendent of pioneers on the Atherton Tableland. One ancestor was also among the first shipload of convicts to Moreton Bay. I am a proud Far North Queenslander.

Al said...

Wendy Richardson; please show me where I can find the 'positive response' to this proposal from Tim Costello.
Thank you

Black Jack said...

April 1st was 3 months ago...Wendy and Aidan are both losers and that not pun.

Tony Hillier said...

Cairns needs more cultural events of the magnitude of last weekend's ukulele festival to attract interstate and international visitors to Cairns, NOT more casinos — or car races, come to that. Townsville's welcome to them, and all the attendant human detritus those kind of activities attract.

Those ignorant naysayers who made disparaging remarks about ukefest when it was first announced were seen eating large portions of humble pie on Monday. The festival was a huge success (a fact that was acknowledged even by the dear old Compost, who finally came on board after initially pouring scorn on the event).

A big crowd attended the Court House Hotel for a doco screening on the opening night, and over 1200 people crammed into the forecourt on Saturday for the world record attempt. It warmed the cockles of an old music lover's heart to see so many people, from toddlers to old age pensioners, getting into the spirit of the occasion, and having fun. The humble 4-stringed instrument has almost single-handedly brought about a social revolution in recent years. Anything that brings families together, encourages people to make music (good for the human heart and soul) and gets kids away from behind their playstations and computer games has to be good, does it not?

The culmination of ukefest at Sunday's Tanks Arts Centre big day out, featuring some of the world's best players, was a sell-out and pronounced "world class" by the people who matter.

The Cairns Regional Council is to be applauded for having the perspicacity to support festival organiser Gaby Thomasz's vision. They were rewarded with a big turn-out of visitors from all over the country and from around the world. They will return next year with their friends, rest assured.

The event also succeeded in garnering publicity for Cairns far and wide, with stories in the Weekend Australian, Courier Mail and several national magazines.

Other locally staged music festivals are in the pipeline. Adelaide has stolen a march on the rest of the country when it comes to hosting festivals — one of the true burgeoning areas of the music business — but it's not too late for Cairns to establish itself as a tropical centre of such events. It's win-win all the way. It gives the local economy a significant boost, puts Cairns on the national cultural map and gives local music-lovers a reason to get excited.

Alison Alloway said...

A world class museum contained in the Cairns Cultural Precinct will be able to participate in the World Collections Program. Imagine being able to see collections from Egypt, artifacts from Babylon and Pompeii, here in Cairns?

KitchenSlut said...

Wendy, I have emailed Aidan for a copy of his paper to the tourism conference with no response! Can you provide a copy?

I presume you have both read and understood the report from the Productivity Commission released a few weeks ago on gambling in Australia and policy on problem gambling?

Your political use of Tim Costello is very cute particularly the way you avoided his response in the ABC interview that if he was in Cairns he would also be opposed!?!

Oh hang on that's ok its outside Cairns! Mareeba? Innot Hot Springs? How about Lotus Glen? All problems solved? My financial brain is boggling at the quite extraordinary leaps that would be required to financially justify all that!?

On that ABC interview I just loved Aidon's visionary quote of a pokie driven family venue? Disneyland with pokies?

There is a difference between ideas and delusion!

KitchenSlut said...

Wendy, I have emailed Aidan for a copy of his paper to the tourism conference with no response! Can you provide a copy?

I presume you have both read and understood the report from the Productivity Commission released a few weeks ago on gambling in Australia and policy on problem gambling?

Your political use of Tim Costello is very cute particularly the way you avoided his response in the ABC interview that if he was in Cairns he would also be opposed!?!

Oh hang on that's ok its outside Cairns! Mareeba? Innot Hot Springs? How about Lotus Glen? All problems solved? My financial brain is boggling at the quite extraordinary leaps that would be required to financially justify all that!?

On that ABC interview I just loved Aidon's visionary quote of a pokie driven family venue? Disneyland with pokies?

There is a difference between ideas and delusion!