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May 2017

Confirmed: Cruise Lines Refuse To Support Gold Coast – Royal Caribbean Says They Won’t Invest

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The Gold Coast is potentially facing a catastrophic planning blunder with Brisbane soaring ahead as the preferred future cruise destination in the region and major cruise companies refusing to offer any commitment to the proposed half-billion-dollar Gold Coast oceanside terminal.

Image above: proposed Brisbane super cruise terminal, via Port of Brisbane Authority

by Jake Dunn

 

BUILD IT AND THEY WON’T COME – WELL MAYBE, POSSIBLY … THEY’LL DECIDE AFTER THEY SEE SOMEONE ELSE USING IT

It is becoming increasingly apparent as processes advance that the two biggest cruise companies basing ships in Australia are baulking at offering any tangible support towards the concept or construction of a Gold Coast oceanside cruise terminal.

In a fresh response to questions from LiQUiFY Magazine, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean International (RCI) – one of two major cruise lines plying Australian waters – said they won’t be investing any money into the Gold Coast proposal and that, if a terminal were ever built, they would wait and see if it had anything to offer them before making any decisions about scheduling ships here.

“Royal Caribbean has no plans to build a cruise terminal on the Gold Coast,” said the spokesperson, adding that they ‘could’ be interested in a future terminal however would want to see the terminal first and know that it met the economic needs and suitability of the company’s requirements prior to coming to the Gold Coast.

EXCLUSIVE: CRUISE TERMINAL COST BLOWOUT REVEALED – FULL SCALE HOME PORT NOW ONLY OPTION

“If another party were to build one and it was economical, and suitable for use, there could be interest in calling there,” the spokesperson told LiQUiFY.

The current position of the company has diverged little since a statement issued in 2013 by the company’s then Australian Managing Director, Gavin Smith, made it clear that as a destination, the Gold Coast did not meet their business objectives and they were only interested in Brisbane.

“Royal Caribbean has no plans to build a cruise terminal on the Gold Coast” – 2017 Statement from Royal Caribbean International

“Our interest as a cruise ship operator however is in the potential for a base port to be created in Brisbane that can accommodate our 300m+ ships and enable a full ship turn around to be completed – this is our primary desire for cruise infrastructure in Queensland,” said Smith at the time.

Mr Smith said that both his company and rival cruise heavyweights Carnival P&O likely share the same position regarding a proposed terminal for the Gold Coast.

“I believe this is consistent also with the desires of the other major organisations.

“Such a facility would enable expansion of our business into Brisbane with a home ported ship … with this in mind, it makes it difficult for me to support a ‘way’ port development in south east Queensland that does not deliver against either the objectives of ourselves or the Australian based cruise industry,” – said the RCI Managing Director.

It is understood that the mayor of the Gold Coast, Tom Tate, is well aware of these views however is choosing to push ahead and continue an ongoing and uncapped rate-payer-funded investigation into various incarnations of a Gold Coast cruise terminal proposal.


LiQUiFY Magazine investigated the effects of such a structure on swell using computer modelling and ripple tank studies using a variety of basic swell directions, sizes and periods – the results demonstrated significant swell impacts in the immediate area and potential swell impacts for several kilometres both north and south of the structure. Despite the obvious surf amenity loss that the terminal will deliver, the mayor is strangely maintaining that there will be no impacts of surf amenity, defying all logic and scientific reasoning

 

Separately to RCI’s non-commitment, Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) – who operate the famous P&O brand in Australia – have also indicated they will not support the proposal and development of a terminal here, opting instead to wait and see if it offers anything they may be interested in after it is built.

A Carnival spokesperson admitted that the company has no interest in the Gold Coast as a turnaround or home port, and whilst they could possibly explore transit and day visits in the future, they would however wait and see until after it is built to make any decision.

“Irrespective of what ultimately happens at the Gold Coast, Brisbane would continue to be the main turnaround port where cruises start and finish,” said the spokesperson.

The comments mirror what Carnival’s CEO, Ann Sherry, recently told LiQUiFY in an response to questions regarding their potential commitment.

Sherry, who is considered a cruise industry icon in Australia, was adamant that building a terminal on the Gold Coast would not be something Carnival would participate in.

“We are not party to the discussion and have flagged for some time that the decision to build a facility needs to be taken locally, ” she said.

Ann Sherry also expressed some concern over the reliability of the proposed oceanside terminal, highlighting that her company is well aware of the weather conditions and viability of the location in the open Pacific Ocean.

“The Gold Coast has very difficult logistical challenges given the sand movements, waves and general weather dependance of any facility outside a protected anchorage,” she added.

The actual stances held by the cruise companies are in direct conflict with recent newspaper headlines attempting to suggest that the cruise companies are backing the idea and that, if built, they will be coming for sure.

“The Gold Coast has very difficult logistical challenges given the sand movements, waves and general weather dependance of any facility outside a protected anchorage” – Ann Sherry, CEO Carnival Cruise Line Australia

One such headline published on the morning of the council vote read, “Build it and they’ll come: cruise lines keen on proposed Gold Coast terminal” – however the text of the article provided no such assertion and very little evidence of industry support for the Gold Coast other than brief and recycled industry statements that did more to demonstrate the industry’s lack of direct commitment or backing for the construction of a terminal on the Gold Coast.

BRISBANE IS THE PLACE, SAYS CRUISE LINES

Both major companies, Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line, have publicly and actively thrown their weight well and truly behind Brisbane’s new Luggage Point international cruise terminal project, investing both energy and money into the project whilst highlighting that their focus will be Brisbane in the future.

When asked recently about home port and turnaround port objectives in South East Queensland, especially when stacked against the Gold Coast proposals, Carnival CEO Ann Sherry was blunt and to the point.

“Our position remains that Brisbane would continue to be seen as the turnaround port for the area, and our focus continues to be on the construction of an appropriate facility there,” she said.

The Port of Brisbane Authority is guiding the Brisbane terminal development and is understood to have secured significant funding from both Royal Caribbean and Carnival which have emerged as willing partners and majority financiers of the project.


Royal Caribbean International are fully backing the new Brisbane terminal with their own money and their praises – no such interest is evident at all for the Gold Coast mayor’s costly proposal for an oceanside terminal off The Spit

 

According to leading cruise website www.australiancruiseingnews.com, the new project won’t require any government funding and is privately funded by the major cruise lines.

“Taxpayers will not have to shoulder the construction cost. Two of the world’s largest cruise companies – Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Corporation – will spearhead the building of the terminal,” said a recent article on the ACN website.

The cruise industry website asserts that 80% of the approvals are already in place for Brisbane and the project is ready to go.

In stark contrast to the Brisbane project, both major cruise companies have confirmed they are unwilling to spend a single cent on any Gold Coast terminal project.

Brisbane’s new Luggage Point site may not have the beaches that the Gold Coast has, however it does have a list of essential infrastructure items making it a significantly superior business option for investing companies.

Just some of the onsite or near-site infrastructure, characteristics and services confirmed that the Brisbane site already has in place but the Gold Coast either doesn’t have or can’t possibly achieve are –

  • Easy access to ship bunker fuel, overland and supplied from nearby fuel deposits and plants
  • Direct and close access to a full-scale international airport
  • Access to a nearby heavy rail line that can easily and cost-effectively be extended to meet the terminal
  • Scheduling surety from a proper deep-water harbour that is not exposed to ocean swell and elements
  • Near unrestricted space to expand and grow in the future, and space to develop the vast support infrastructure needed for a full turnaround home port
  • No impact to recreational amenity or visual amenity – consistent with its surrounding developments
  • Easy access to existing major customs and quarantine infrastructure
  • Cost-effective location with easy road access (already budgeted and planned to be upgraded)
  • Cost effective construction costs with estimated $100 million total price tag
  • Major cruise lines already publicly committed and financially invested
  • Strong State Government and local support
  • Little to no public opposition
  • No loss of prime beachfront public land or dedicated public park land

By all appearances it is evident that both the State Government and the local Brisbane council are on board with the project also with Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, putting his hat into the ring, offering his council’s endorsement and support towards the new super terminal.

In a statement released by the South East Council of Mayors, Graham Quirk said, “at a local level, Brisbane City Council included this location in the local plan in 2012 and in City Plan 2014 for a potential cruise ship terminal. We’re pleased to see the Port of Brisbane has now received the support of the State Government for this project.”

The Lord Mayor confirmed his council is backing the plan in saying, “The proposed deep water terminal at Luggage Point will enable vessels of any size to dock in Brisbane, and could be up and running by as early as 2019. The nature of the proposal means it will be 100 percent privately funded. No tax payer or rate payer funds are required.”

Late last year the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, made it abundantly clear that her government saw no need for a second cruise terminal to be built just an hour down the road from the new Brisbane one.

The Premier, on ABC radio, said, “once this cruise ship terminal opens up here at Luggage Point, with its proximity that it has to the airport, I think you’ll find that there may not be a need for that second cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast.”

“If they want to do their business case and submit it to us, then they can … if the council wants to do their work, let them do their work but I think you’ll find once it opens up here in Brisbane there’s going to be less of a need for it on the Gold Coast, because people will be able to travel down there quite conveniently,” added the Premier.

“I think you’ll find that there may not be a need for that second cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast” – Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

The new Brisbane super cruise ship home port is currently scheduled to be opened in late 2019 according to the Port of Brisbane, around the same time the City of Gold Coast council is still wrapping up initial environmental impact studies for their Gold Coast proposal.

In a statement released by the Premier, she said, “a new purpose built, deep water Cruise Ship Terminal would be a major step forward for the tourism sector here in Queensland.”

 

COUNCIL FORGES AHEAD, IGNORING A SEA OF WARNING SIGNS AND RED FLAGS

Despite revelations that the major cruise companies are solely focussed on Brisbane and have already shown considerable hesitation and concern regarding the Gold Coast proposal, the City of Gold Coast council voted yesterday to progress their own process and spend another round of rate payers funds pursuing their pipe-dream oceanside terminal.

In the face of limited industry support and calls from the Premier of Queensland saying there may be no need for the Gold Coast project, the council abandoned the mounting concerns and a growing series of red flags to shift direction towards an oceanside home port terminal for the city – again shattering mayor Tate’s clear election promises that there would be “no cost to rate payers” and it would be a “transit port only”.

Opponents of the terminal plan have taken aim at the council, labelling those councillors that voted to support the progression of the process as ignorant and blind, telling LiQUiFY that the project fails to financially stack up and the recent estimations regarding the possible patronage and economic return on such a development are fanciful and unrealistic.


An almost-comical conceptual video being purported by the local council shows the Pacific Ocean looking like a flat and smooth lake for miles in all directions, with a blank cruise ship glistening in the mid afternoon sun, barely a breath of wind, and almost no corresponding home-port infrastructure appearing on the shore site – no wonder the local councillors are supportive when they are constantly being bashed around the head with unrealistic imagery and claims like this

 

Late yesterday a Save Our Spit Alliance spokesperson said, “Brisbane is the preferred home port option and the industry has made that clearer than clear to our councillors, yet they have again blindly followed the mayor down his pet-project development rabbit hole – the ignorance demonstrated by some of these elected representatives is unprecedented.”

“The visible links between this proposal and the adjacent Chinese ASF Consortium casino highrise development are numerous and obvious given that the same companies, Price Waterhouse, MacroPlan Dimasi and Aecom are doing both of them – how can councillors be so naive to this blatant land grab?

“We know how Aecom works, just look at what they did with the economic and operational projections for the Clem 7 Tunnel in Brisbane … if you want inflated figures that defy logic yet benefit construction companies and development proponents, then they seem to be the go to firm,” they added.


Approximately 11 hectares of irreplaceable oceanfront public reserve and parkland are under threat as the proposed terminal encroaches on dedicated public spaces – something the now-Premier of Queensland promised would never be touched under a Labor government

 

The Save Our Spit spokesperson expanded on their take on the constantly escalating figures and complexities of processes involved, calling out the council for what they believe are dodgy dealings and secret agendas.

“The visible links between this proposal and the adjacent Chinese ASF Consortium casino highrise development are numerous and obvious given that the same companies, Price Waterhouse, MacroPlan Dimasi and Aecom are doing both of them” – Save Our Spit Spokesperson

“It’s just unacceptable that a terminal idea that was supposed to be modest and cost so little has now been revealed as a half-billion-dollar behemoth that’s going to be an incredibly high-risk and low-return project by all evidence – of course they knew – the mayor knew this would happen all along and he’s kept the public in the dark.

“Our council must have rocks in their heads if they think this is a good way to attract investment and tourism to the city, it’s a massive risk and low to negative return venture that masks a subversive real estate plan.

“They’ve totally wasted money and squandered the chance to position the city to capitalise on the emerging and growing Brisbane market and passenger numbers, and Gold Coasters are going to be the sore losers when we miss Brisbane’s cruise passengers and nobody is willing to pay $450 million or likely more for a defunct white elephant,” said Save Our Spit.

With costs spiralling out of control, the local mayor promising that ratepayers won’t be paying for the terminal and the cruise industry unwilling to spend a cent, Save Our Spit says only one logical outcome remains, and they suspect it has been the plan all along.

“The only possible way to get this deliberately unusable and broken piece of hoax infrastructure in place is to trade prime public land to cashed up foreign developers for it – they tried it with Wavebreak Island and nearly succeeded in ripping off Queenslanders of their land and property, now … here we go again – the worse the project economically is, the more land and public parks they will try to give away to pay for it – it’s an age-old real estate scam,” the SOS spokesperson asserts.

“The council is involved in a land scam and it’s a shyster’s process to see a small minority benefit greatly at the expense of the majority.

“Save Our Spit are calling on the State Government to intervene and it’s long overdue that the Local Government Minister stepped in to put this dodgy LNP process under the microscope.”

In yesterday’s council meeting, just four councillors voted against the progression of the proposed project.

Both Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Lines have expressed that their focus is Brisbane as the new home port and turnaround port for South East Queensland, and that the Gold Coast would be considered an afterthought should it ever be built.

LiQUiFY recently broke news that the terminal was unviable as a port of call, and that feasibility reports suggested the proposal had secretly grown to now be a full-scale industrial home port with an almost a half-billion dollar development cost – something that the mayor strongly campaigned against and promised voters would not be happening.

The feasibility studies into the economic case for the terminal, produced by Price Waterhouse Cooper in conjunction with Aecom and MacrPlan Dimasi, remain secret and confidential despite calls from the public – who paid for the studies – to release them.

“The terminal would be a port of call only, without refuelling or disposing of sewage” – Mayor Tom Tate, 2016 election policy

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate’s own 2016 election policy that prescribed his intention for an oceanside terminal – the one he loudly took to voters as part of his campaign in 2016 for re-election – has now all but been abandoned in the wake of recent revelations regarding the cost, scale, home-port infrastructure and the addition of fuel and sewerage infrastructure and services.

The current and very different incarnation of the cruise ship terminal has not been taken to the public for comment, endorsement or public consent and no consultation or public feedback has been sought //

 

Monday Lunch Break – 45 Minutes Yesterday At A Certain Queensland Beach Break

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PHOTOS: Is it possible to take an exotic surf trip to some far away tropical island during your lunch break and be back in time for the afternoon shift?

We tested the theory yesterday, skipping out of the office just long enough to ditch the suit and immerse into a world of little blue gems, making it back in time to clock on after lunch without the boss suspecting a thing.

Uncrowded, a few late pulses of swell and the odd freak set made this a pretty rewarding little late Autumn junket in Queensland.

Pics by Luke Sorensen


Classic Autumn kegs, and just a lunch break away if you time everything right!

 

 


A shady spot to chill out before the arvo shift

 


Surprisingly uncrowded with a handful of people sharing multiple peaks

 

 


We’re not sure who this Tom bloke is, but going by the local signage, we’re pretty sure he’s not welcome around these parts

 

 

EXCLUSIVE: Gold Coast Cruise Terminal Bombshell – Transit Port Abandoned Amid Unimaginable Costs

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Gold Coasters are copping a combo of low blows over the oceanside cruise terminal pre-election promise by Mayor Tom Tate, with LiQUiFY able to exclusively reveal a staggering $500 million cost blowout that could sink the terminal.

EXCLUSIVE by the LiQUiFY Team

The unexpected new cost of almost half a billion dollars tops the list of a range of critical issues which have the potential to render the oceanside terminal concept as unachievable.

A source close to the proposed project has revealed exclusively to LiQUiFY that a looming Gold Coast City Council meeting by the Economic and Major Projects committee, scheduled for Thursday this week (May 25), is going into closed session over hundreds of pages of a Pricewaterhouse Coopers report commissioned by council. The report is said to contain the findings of recent engineering and feasibility studies, and according to the source, is expected to explicitly shut down any option of a port-of-call or transit port due to serious risk factors and the concept’s failed business case.

The report also suggests that a large-scale and expensive industrial home port is now the only remotely conceivable option.

The meeting and discussion is set for a ‘closed session’ meaning the public are blocked from accessing the reports or any of the councillor discussions about it, despite rate payers paying for the reports

A home port would require a full range of services including large-scale refuelling and sewerage facilities, dedicated customs and passport control, food and water supply as well as other potential infrastructure components like shore-to-ship power – all items that the mayor vocally shouted down as unnecessary when campaigning with his proposal.

LiQUiFY can also exclusively reveal that the confidential report estimates the cost of this new ‘home port’ to be in the vicinity of the half-billion-dollar mark, an inconceivable leap up from the clear election promises of Mayor Tate who told voters his proposal would cost a ‘modest $70 million’ to build and make operational.

This new and unannounced price tag would make the Gold Coast oceanside cruise terminal easily the single most expensive stand-alone cruise terminal on the entire planet, and one of the least equipped home ports in the world, having no direct or nearby access to heavy rail or airport infrastructure, having significant traffic and transport restrictions and almost there being limited land available for the vast network of storage, supply, sewerage and other standard home port operational infrastructure.

 
“They can’t do the port of call so they are opting for the home port and even with the minimal option to take only one ship docking at a time, they’re estimating it’ll cost about half a billion to build … it’s pure madness, but they (councillors) somehow still think it’s a viable thing – that it’s somehow a good thing,” said the council source to LiQUiFY.

At a press conference last Monday, Mayor Tate labelled the home port option that his council applied to the Federal Government for approval as ‘the worst case scenario’.

“they’re estimating it’ll cost about half a billion to build … it’s pure madness”
– Council source

Excerpts from Mayor Tom Tate’s official policy as he went into the 2016 local government elections seeking a second term

“They are also trying to tell councillors that they’ll be getting over 200 ships a year from the moment it opens, but that just flies in the face of everything we know about the industry and the local conditions here. They’d be extremely lucky to get a quarter of that – surely the councillors can’t be that stupid?” added the source.

Mayor Tom Tate has long sold the city on the very glamorous and enticing idea of a port of call – as a place where ships simply turn up, passengers get off and spend up big in the city.  At the last election the voting public backed those themes and ideas, and the mayor was re-elected with a majority first-preference vote showing support for his various promises, including the official election policy for a modest and less-intrusive port-of-call option.

Tate’s terminal, in a very rudimentary sense. The crude computer graphics fail to show any associated development, infrastructure or other key and significant components of a $500 million home port

“This will be a port of call only, so that means no refuelling, and it’s mainly for people to get on and off,” said Mayor Tate on Channel 7 news, ahead of the last election.

As recently as March 23rd this year, Mr Tate reaffirmed his commitment to the Gold Coast terminal only ever being a ‘port of call’ and not requiring all of the invasive components that a full home turnaround port would deliver.

“My position hasn’t changed — a ‘port of call’ is what I want and if it doesn’t tick all the environmental boxes, I’ll be the first one to vote it down,” Tate told the Gold Coast Bulletin in a conversation lambasting Australian surfing icon Mick Fanning, who had made his views public in opposing the proposal.

“This will be a port of call only, so that means no refuelling”
– Mayor Tom Tate before the leaking of council’s oceanside terminal feasibility report

This pristine beach surf break is in the exact place the mayor wants to place an 850m long swell-blocking rock wall and double-berth international shipping port. Mayor Tate has continued to tell the city that the terminal project would not impact the surf breaks nearby, which is at direct odds with the terminal design’s written purpose – to literally block swell from hitting nearly 1km of our beaches, including the Philip Park beach breaks, and provide ships an environment with little to no waves or surf in it // Photo Luke Sorensen

Mayor Tate is now backing the two-ship berthing option and continued boasting about the double berth capacity on his Facebook Page yesterday, without acknowledging to rate payers the true cost estimations of his choice.

The two-berth option is understood to cost even more than the half billion already estimated for a single berth terminal.

Council sources told LiQUiFY that the likelihood of a private investor taking the project on would be next to nil, and that the only option left may be for tax and rate payers to cough up their hard-earned cash for Mayor Tate’s pet project dream.

Other options suggested to LiQUiFY about funding the half-billion-dollar bill have included:

  • Get rate payers to pay for it
  • Hold a massive ‘fire sale’ on city parks and public assets
  • Beg the state government to pay for it even though sources close to the Premier’s Department have told LiQUiFY they are not at all interested
  • Ask ASF and their Chinese-Government-owned developer partners to fund it, and offer them a huge plot of free public parkland on The Spit in return
  • Sell the 16,000 square metres of public land known as Bruce Bishop car park and Neal Shannon Park in Surfers Paradise, which was cooincidentally approved to be sold by council last week to fund Tate’s pet projects

Mayor Tate stumbled through questions at a press conference held on the subject last week. When asked specifically about how the terminal will be funded, he couldn’t elaborate on any type of funding source.

When asked if the initial cruise terminal would be a home port or not, the mayor gave unclear responses that failed to specify particulars.

With the now-exposed cost blow-out and the only proposal left on the table being for a half-billion-dollar full home port with associated infrastructure, it would appear that the rate payers and voters of the Gold Coast have well and truly been fed half the story at twice the price again.

 

SUSPICION MOUNTS AFTER FEDERAL ENVIRONMENT APPROVAL FAILS TO STACK UP

Despite Mayor Tate’s promise and pledge that if the terminal didn’t tick the environmental box he would abandon it, a controversial decision from the Federal Government’s Environment Department last week to rule the proposal as not a ‘controlled action’ did in fact leave a few environmental boxes unticked – at least for now.

LiQUiFY can also exclusively reveal that a major step in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) process has potentially been skipped, and that the reasons as to how this may have occurred have left opponents of the proposal dumbfounded.

Speaking today to a spokesperson from the Save Our Spit group, LiQUiFY learned that a crucial standard component of the process which would have allowed the resubmitted application to be opened to a second round of public submissions and scrutiny may have mysteriously been skipped over.

“It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before and it’s got a lot of people talking,” said the spokesperson.

A crucial step of the federal environmental approval process has been skipped according to Save Our Spit researchers. Source: www.environment.gov.au

Save Our Spit added that they had been in contact with an EPBC applications expert to learn more, telling LiQUiFY, “It’s clear that this proposal fell into the ‘Not Controlled Action – Particular Manner’ bracket according to the Government. It is standard then for the Government to call on the proponent (council) for more information, and they did, but they must also then publish the updated conditions and specific controls – the ‘particular manner’ in which the approval is granted – so that the public is granted another ten-day period to make submissions to be considered by the minister. There’s been nothing published, they just skipped ahead and said, ‘here Tom, here’s what you wanted.’

“The due process was completely abandoned by the Federal Environment Minister and his department. Our guy who had been doing these applications for years says he’s never seen anything like it and is quite shocked.”

The Save Our Spit spokesperson was adamant that the EPBC process had been totally abandoned by the Federal Government and that the due process in the handling of the application appeared to have been modified to benefit the proponent.

“We’ve crunched all of the possible reasons the Feds would just skip such a crucial and fundamentally necessary part of the legislated process – we’re left with only one thing and that’s political interference,” they told LiQUiFY.

Further to the mayor’s repeated claims that if the proposal didn’t ‘tick all the environmental boxes’ he would be the first to scrap it, it appears the conditions imposed by the Federal Government have highlighted environmental concerns for marine wildlife in the area, acknowledging that both the construction and operation of the terminal could impact protected species.

“They’re not going to be able to see turtles or grey nurse sharks that may be at the Scottish Prince … are they going to stop work? We doubt it”
– Save Our Spit Alliance

The Government’s own EPBC flow chart (displayed here) calls for a ten-working-day period where the public can make submissions regarding any controls or conditions they have imposed on an application.

In a statement from the Federal Government’s Environment Department, it was admitted that the project would be, ‘subject to certain requirements to protect nationally significant listed species’.

The Federal Government has recommended spotters be stationed on the structure to alert workers to any approaching marine life, and enact a mandatory 30-minute stop work period.

Save Our Spit says that the measures are laughable and will do very little to protect marine life.

“They’re not going to be able to see turtles or grey nurse sharks that may be at the Scottish Prince, or whales and dolphins from that structure, and are they going to stop work? We doubt it,” said the Save Our Spit spokesperson.

 

TERMINAL’S STRONG LINK TO ASF CASINO PROJECT

It has also been revealed that the new oceanside terminal feasibility report commissioned by the council and paid for by rate payers has been produced by the same three firms that are listed as ‘project partners’ in the ASF China Consortium, which is proposing five highrise towers and a casino development directly across the road from Tate’s proposed terminal site.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Aecom and MacroPlan Dimasi, which have completed and supplied the latest report into the feasibility of the oceanside cruise terminal idea were also involved when the original studies into the earlier plan were investigated for a multi-billion dollar private city and cruise terminal to be built inside the Broadwater at Wavebreak Island.

The clear relationship the three firms have to both development proposals calls into question claims by the mayor that the ASF Casino Resort and Cruise Ship Terminal are not linked.

Both proposals will require the State Government to give the proponents large sections of Crown public land on The Spit – something that the current Labor Government campaigned strongly against and vowed never to do.

The proposed terminal site (left) is actually a well-trafficked public parkland, dedicated to Prince Philip of England and part of the southern component of the Federation Walk Reserve. Right is the proposed ASF highrise casino project site. Both proposals are on Crown public land and have caused significant controversy and division amongst Gold Coast residents. A recent Reachtel poll of Gold Coasters found that over 70% of residents did not want the ASF development on The Spit but the state government is refusing to end it, pushing ahead with the process regardless. The mayor continues to deny the two proposed projects are in any way linked // image supplied

Original terms set down by the previous LNP State Government stated that ASF would not be granted a casino license until they produced a functional and successfully operating cruise terminal.

Then Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Jeff Seeney, was explicit that the government terms would be to only grant favourable development options to ASF after the ‘prior establishment and ongoing operation of a successful cruise ship terminal’ by the foreign developer.

 

It is understood that these conditions reflected the fact that ASF were only ever invited to develop on The Spit or in the Broadwater so that the city may get a cruise terminal at no cost to ratepayers.

Under the new Labor Government the Wavebreak Island project has been abandoned, however, ASF have still been invited to submit a proposal for an integrated resort and tower development on The Spit and apply for a casino license. This time around they are not require to provide for the construction of a cruise ship terminal.

Mayor Tate has repeatedly denied that the proposed ASF casino development and his own oceanside terminal project are in any way linked, despite being across the road from each other and featuring the exact same companies undertaking feasibility studies for both projects.

Last Monday Mayor Tate spoke at a media conference and said, “And be clear, this cruise ship terminal project is separate, and it’s a project of its own, nothing to do with any other project nearby.”

The angle of view that ASF doesn’t want the public to see, showing their obtrusive development plan and how it, and an international cruise ship home port, could scar the mostly-undeveloped Spit area permanently // Artist impression supplied via Save Our Spit

CREDIBILITY OF ASF CHINA CONSORTIUM IN QUESTION

ASF China Consortium’s main construction arm and likely financier, should it get approval for any of its Broadwater or Spit development proposals, would be the China State Construction and Engineering Corp. According to a report in The Australian, ‘the World Bank refused to grant a $232 million loan to another member of the ASF Consortium, China State Construction Engineering, over concerns it had engaged in corrupt practices on a different road project in The Philippines. The World Bank investigators suspect the company had also ­attempted to rig bids and had worked in a cartel with firms on other contracts’.

Separately, another ASF China Consortium member previously listed on their website is CCCC Guangzhou Dredging, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company.

In 2011 the World Bank also announced it had debarred CCCC ‘and all of its subsidiaries’ from participating in World Bank projects over bid rigging and other corrupt practices of an entity it acquired in 2006. The five-year ban and debarment was lifted early in 2017.

Both companies – the CCCC and CSCEC – are state-owned (government) Chinese companies which stand to secure a prime parcel of public Crown public waterfront land on The Spit if the state government proceeds with and grants them land and approval for their casino and tower resort plan.

The outcome of Thursday’s council meeting may not be known for some time and the reports into the feasibility and potential risk factors of the oceanside terminal are being withheld from the public for the time being, but it is likely the council and mayor will face significant public backlash once the reports are made public.

LiQUiFY will be following the issue closely.

Gold Coast’s Secret Funk Band You Can’t Afford To Miss – New Video & Debut EP From Dr Dirt

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VIDEO PREMIERE EXCLUSIVE: They’re loose, dangerous and bathed in hues of purple and pink, and they’re about to shake the foundations of what you thought a party band should be like – welcome to the funkadelic world of Dr. Dirt!

Dealing out delicious melodies and grooves that sooth, Dirt – as they are sometimes known – are a bucket of instant classics that have already made their rare and highly sought after live performances the stuff of local folklore and legend on the glitter strip.

One way to describe their music is a 1970s through to the 2000s styled funk experiment with scorching riffage, thundering bass lines, sexy harmonisation and provocative lyricism which is hilarious yet comfortably skirts the fringe of social acceptability and political correctness – their new video below.

 

As good looking as these slick cats are, don’t let that loose swagger fool you … even for a second.

Behind the glorious and sensorially vivid frontage lies the mechanism of a ferociously talented band, featuring past and present members of mighty Australian outfits such as Helm, Electric Horse, Lump and A Delayed Reaction.

The band has actually been around, playing the private and underground party scene, for about a decade and has endured despite several incarnations and chameleon-like transitional stages.

Their bass player Ricky Thunder tells LiQUiFY, “Dr. Dirt demo tracks have been floating around the Gold Coast scene for years, scattered across a few random iPod playlists or found on a scratched up CD lost under Randy’s car seat.”

Like a rare butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, the Dirt is spawning with full bloom this time and if this video is anything to go by, they’re live shows are going to be full tilt as well.

We were also granted an exclusive full listen to the new EP, and yep, it’s a winner winner chicken dinner all the way.

According to a media statement sent to LiQUiFY just yesterday, now that the EP is done and ready, singer Randy Vandal has, “assembled a motley crew of musicians to bring the music to life on stage which features Hell-Cat on vocals, Maestro Nightro, Scotty Holliday and Flesh on guitars, Sticks N Stones on drums and Ricky Thunder doing his thing on the bass.”

They added, “The live show is nothing short of a full spectacle with naked bodies, funky bass lines and fat beats for days.”

The band proclaims they are an ‘all style, no class’ outfit ready to dazzle your ears and eyes.

Get a feed of ripping grooves and scandal with their debut video for their track Break Of Dawn Parade, taken from their debut EP which we know to be called Life’s Dirt And We Dig It – scheduled to be released on Friday the 19th of May via links on their Facebook page.

Only one chance to see them live: Dr. Dirt are playing one show only so you’ll have to be there early to not miss this – at the Currumbin Creek Tavern, Friday 26th of May with guests MNVR, Mickey and Ruckus.

So, up your dose of Dirt, it’s what the doctor ordered – you’ll be glad you did and feeling so much better in no time at all!

LIVE SHOW! Dr. Dirt “Life’s Dirt & We Dig It” EP Launch show – Friday May 26th
w/ guests: MNVR, Mickey and Ruckus

Currumbin Pub, Gold Coast – Tix $10 on door and doors open at 8pm
Facebook: www.facebook.com/drdirt69
Instagram @drdirt69

Dr. Dirt’s new EP – Life’s Dirt And We Dig It – Out May 19th via Flash Trash Records

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