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Sat 1 Nov

Letters to the Editor

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Geoff Henderson, Forest Creek, 17-02-14 22:37:
It looks like we get the traffic lights whether we want (or need) them. Work continues apace. Today (Monday) I counted eight large trucks and various ancillary implements, road works signs and activity at the site. But no traffic control, despite the somewhat disruptive nature of the works. But traffic continued in and out of Woolies just the same without any apparent drama.

The drive for this project is apparently Main Roads. They are run by a government that is constantly complaining about its ability to fund projects. But they leave Main Roads to spend needlessly on this project.
Evelyn Nevett, Cooya Beach, 16-02-14 14:00:
Just wanted to say I that I am liking what I read in reference to the
renovations to the " Exchange Hotel " in Mossman.
I love the fact that it's to be stylised in the era of the 1940s. I've not been in the place now for a number of years, however I do recall some of it's features. I loved the space and charm of the place , and I will be one of the first through the doors to have a look see when the new owners have completed the refurbishment.

As to the traffic light at the Woolies turn off... I read a mention of
a round about. Thought that was a brilliant idea. We do classy round
abouts in this neck of the woods.
Marcus Anderson, Mossman, 14-02-14 23:24:
Marcus Anderson

What the Mayor needs to do is not give Woolworths a certificate of occupancy and get them to comply to what council wants, make it hard for them don't let them in the building , but you have to have the kahunas to take on big business like Woolworths this is the big test for the new council show your constituents why they voted for you Mayor Julia.
Geoff Henderson, Forest Creek, 03-02-14 09:17:
Malcolm McKellar (30/1/2014)draws further attention to the issue of traffic lights at the Woolworths site in Mossman. Mr McKellar's comments are apt and well made.

Woolies game has dropped (empty shelves, inconsistent product offerings and indifference to complaints) over the past few years, prompting many customers to shop at Coles at Port.

Woolies is an important member of the local social and economic community and my wife and I have tried to support them over the years. But if I have to run a gauntlet of needless traffic lights to go shopping there I will pass, and continue shopping at Coles, Port Douglas.
Malcolm McKellar, Mossman, 30-01-14 11:35:
Dear Editor,

On my return from an extended trip away last week I was distressed to learn that traffic lights are being required by the Department of Main Roads & Transport for installation at the entrance to the new Woolworths centre in Mossman.

It was comforting to see that our new Mayor, Julia Leu, is questioning the appropriateness of traffic lights for both Mossman and for our Shire, but disconcerting to see that the issue is very much up in the air.

The outcry when lights were proposed at the entrance to Port Douglas should tell us that no-one in the Shire wants traffic lights north of Cairns. These would certainly destroy the "country town" atmosphere of Mossman, and of the Shire itself, and would, I believe, be a very poor legacy (being the first traffic lights in the North outside Cairns) for the first Council of our reconstituted Shire, and for our Cook Electorate representative David Kempton, to have occur on their watch.

As I understand it, the Woolworths development was approved by both DMRT and CRC with nothing more than an additional turn-lane on the north-bound side of the highway, and though the new complex is larger I cannot see such an additional traffic volume in and out of that site to warrant or justify more than enhancement to the turning lanes - certainly not the need for traffic lights. I understand also that the developers are opposed to traffic lights and to this ex post facto DMRT change in requirements.

I have written to David Kempton to seek his assistance in resolving this from a DMRT perspective in a manner more appropriate for the township of Mossman and for the Douglas Shire, and also to Julia Leu strongly urging that our new Council stand firm on what is appropriate for our community.

Should traffic lights end up being installed despite the wishes of the community, and in addition to the then apparently unnecessary removal of a number of magnificent old poinsiana trees to make way for the north-bound turn lane, I personally would advocate a total boycott of the new centre.


Malcolm McKellar
Gavin King, Cairns, 28-01-14 14:09:
Dear Editor,

Mortgage broker and 'columnist' Roger Ward displays a lack of understanding about the dynamics and legislative oversight of the insurance industry in his column titled "Australia's equivalent of the Poll Tax of NQ".
Firstly, the Queensland Government absolutely understands how serious and outrageous the issue of skyrocketing insurance premiums in North Queensland truly is.

That's why Premier Campbell Newman has repeatedly said publicly that the insurance issue facing North Queenslanders is the number one priority for our government in North Queensland because population and economic growth in our part of the world is "being held back by almost punitive levels of insurance premiums".

The Premier made these public comments after attending a Cairns Community Forum I organised in October, where he had the opportunity to hear first hand from locals just how much pain the insurance issue is causing our community.

Our focus on tackling this issue is also why our government established the NQ Insurance Taskforce, chaired by myself. Our task was to compile an Action Plan to tackle this issue, which was released in November and featured 10-points to drive down the price of insurance premiums.
But in his article and related four point petition, Mr Ward fails to understand that the insurance industry is regulated by the Federal Government.

That is not buck passing. That is fact.

Just like policing, hospitals and schools are state responsibilities, issues such as national security/defence, Medicare and foreign affairs are Federal Government responsibilities. So too is the insurance industry.
While the state will do everything we can to address the issue, as outlined in our ten point Action Plan, most of the points Mr Ward raises requires Federal legislation Indeed, of the four points raised in his petition aimed at the "the state government of Queensland", only one of them (point 2) relates to the State Government. Points 1, 3 and 4 all require Federal legislation.

In his article, Mr Ward also claims that my website "has no reference at all to this issue", implying that I have not paid attention or acted on the insurance issue.

In fact, my website contains six separate articles dating back to October outlining the work our government and I have so far undertaken to tackle this complex issue.

Mr Ward fails to acknowledge any of the above, or the work we have already completed in terms of natural disaster immunity funding (such as our funding to help flood proof homes in the Cairns area around Moody Creek) or data sharing initiatives in partnership with the Insurance Council of Australia to force insurers to use the very latest and greatest sets of data when calculating premiums.

In terms of taking a lead on this issue, the Premier and I sought and attended a meeting with Federal Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos in Brisbane in December, where we agreed to formulate a bilateral policy response to this issue. Work on this bilateral Action Plan is currently underway within the Premier's Department and the Assistant Treasurer's office.

This complex issue is already causing enough pain in our region without misinformed articles further adding to the confusion and angst among local homeowners.

Kind regards,

Gavin King
Member for Cairns
Richard Lavender, Oak Beach, 14-12-13 10:12:
Hi Everyone! Some support for this idea would be helpful.

We all have opinions and we all want to be heard.

I suggest that council embrace an internet 'FREE' product called Disqus http://disqus.com/ This product allows an online 'real time' discussion environment where surveys, public comments, and debates can be held without leaving the comfort of your home or office. Using programs like this also reduce the carbon footprint travelling to and from meetings. It also allows shire residents living a greater distance away from a designated location to attend meetings.
Deborah Favier, Daintree, 13-12-13 12:52:
To the Honourable
Mr David Crisafulli
Minister for Local Government
Community Recovery and Resilience

Dear Mr Crisafulli

Re the costs of de-amalgamation, I commend you for standing firm to your word, & for clarifying that the costs of de-amalgamation are the responsibility of the successful proponent councils. This issue is still being dragged through the media which is certainly not helping any ongoing relationship between a fledgling Douglas Shire Council & Cairns Regional Council.

I wish to clarify certain points.

It has been stated in the media that Cairns Regional Council is attempting to shed unwanted staff. This is not only highly offensive to the staff concerned, but it contradicts the fact that CRC will be collectively losing a number of highly trained staff, with years of expertise that will be difficult to replace. The de-amalgamation process that has resulted in a loss of valuable staff represents a blow to CRC & it is one that was not initiated by the Cairns community.

As a resident in Daintree I see it as a distinct advantage & a cost saving measure to a fledgling council to inherit staff that could hit the ground running and who are already experienced & knowledgeable re our council. A new council will have enough problems without the added burden of having to source new employees from January 1.

Without prejudice, the publicly advertised Queensland Treasury Report made it distinctly clear to me that the proponent councils would be responsible for all costs associated with de-amalgamation. The QTC, Cairns Regional Council & the Proponent councils put forward their estimated costs, including the one-off costs, the fixed asset costs & the ongoing costs. The detail of costs was not teased out in any of these reports, so it is in my opinion erroneous to claim that the state government never informed us that the staffing cuts would be a de-amalgamation cost. This was understated as were other details of costs, but it was my interpretation that staffing costs would be covered by the section, “Governance, Planning & Implementation Costs” as well as the “Industrial Relations Costs” which the QTC estimated to be collectively $967,000 and the Proponent council to be $800,000. It should also be noted that the QTC Report considered its estimates to be conservative, ie estimates only. Please note also that the Proponent council had put forward an additional cost of $500,000 for “Other” costs.

Under the de-amalgamation guidelines established by the state government it appears that CRC could transfer up to 165 staff. Fewer than this number have been identified for transfer by CRC.

Minister, the QTC Report clearly states that the successful proponent council will be responsible for the costs of de-amalgamation & the costs of the remaining council. Mr Crisafulli, it is my concern already, that the dysfunction of the former DSC is being aired like dirty linen and that some of our council members may continue to argue for years, the point as to who is responsible for these costs. I am aware that your office has released a statement to clarify certain facts, but I urge you to release a further statement to end this dysfunction that is playing out in the media. Conflict may sell newspapers but it does not bode well for a harmonious community, tourist destination or a harmonious council.
Geoff Henderson, Forest Creek, 13-12-13 10:24:
Traffic lights at Mossman Woolies? Must be a ridiculous joke. Is there a serious history of collisions there that might justify the expense? Why was a roundabout built at the Port Douglas intersection instead of traffic lights where there is a history of vehicle accidents? And if the risk is so high at Woolies because shoppers and drivers can no longer manage an intersection, isn't the risk much higher and the stakes much more serious when the schools are active. Another set of light there too? That at least is worth some thought.

This is a case of deflecting some possible liability rather than addressing a demonstrated need.
Andrea Collisson, Oak Beach, 12-12-13 04:23:
Thank you Deborah. It is generous of you to compare me with Gandhi. I wonder if i could dine out on that notion.

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