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The Magpie

Sunday, May 13th, 2018   |   97 comments

Is The Townsville Council Up Corruption Creek In A Barbed-Wire Canoe With A Bent Safety Pin For A Paddle? Could Be.

It could be that the council is about to sink under a malodorous mire of its own making, and it all revolves around reported back flips on a secretive land grab deal on the northern beaches. There is a lot more … a hell of a lot more … to last week’s revelations about the disgraceful and probably illegal bullying aimed at forcing a 76-year-old widow off her Rollingstone property. The ‘Pie gives an overview.

Death by a thousand cuts. The latest yearly readership figures for the Townsville Bulletin are real wrist-slitters … likewise for the hapless goof Peter Typo Gleeson at the Sunday Mail.

And The ‘Pie poses a question for Chris Morris of The ‘Ville hotel/casino: everybody is mystified  – why are you spending tens of millions of dollars on a property which – in the present situation – will never return the investment? The Magpie has a theory.

Plus everything from a fist fight on the fairways to Nepal, a country where they laugh at things like ‘if its flooded forget it.’ And also … a new meaning to ‘just ducking out for a moment’.

But first …

The jaw-boning about the federal budget will continue for a while, but a pox on both their houses as far as The ‘Pie is concerned, the major parties are drunk on their own prejudices. For the Coalition, the cruel and discredited trickle down theory of giving big business – including those bastard banks – massive tax breaks in the hope – yes just the hope – that they will invest the savings into extra jobs (ha!) and/or wage rises (double ha!) is cynicism at its best. On the other hand, Labor’s witless ‘my tax cuts are bigger than your tax cuts’ is worthy of a debate behind the playground shelter shed – an typically uncosted debate at that.

Bentley believes Talkbull and ScoMo are channeling that latter day conservative twister and icon, Joh, with the tried and true policy of feeding the chooks … but in this case, we dumb clucks.

budget fin small

The Sandra Richards Saga: Criminal Or Corruption – Or Both?

margaret richards

The Magpie has been given information that strongly suggests the club-footed bullying of Sandra Richards, which she and her son are convinced is to force her sell her Rollingstone property below market value – is part of a wider campaign supporting a lucrative land grab in the area.

And the Townsville City Council seems to be involved with several unexplained reversals of previous decisions supporting Mrs Richard’s traditional right of access to her property.

In an extraordinary development in the past week, if appeals do not succeed, Mrs Richards’ is effectively barred any vehicle access to her property Moongobulla. In effect, according to her son Cameron, his mother is under siege by her neighbours the Navarro family, whom Cameron believes have designs on her land and want to bully her into selling.

Solicitor Connie Navarro - Emanate Legal

Solicitor Connie Navarro – Emanate Legal

Connie Navarro is an solicitor with Barry Taylor’s Emanate Legal, and is believed to advise the Townsville City Council on legal aspects of property matters.

The Richards indicates that attempts to have talks to settle the matter have been rebuffed, and cannot get a reply from the Townsville Council as to why they reversed previous support for Mrs Richards’ to have access. She relied on council assurances to spend $25,000 to have a suitable road graded on an access corridor.

This excerpt from Mrs Richards’ ‘please explain’ letter to the council raises many questions that the council MUST answer.

‘Last Sunday I was made aware of a new sign up indicating an additional new application to the Department of Natural Resources by the Navarros. This is not just to shut down my track along the dedicated Public Road Reserve which the Council initially approved, but also it seems an additional Crown Land section between the Highway and my property quite separate from the adjoining neighbour section. I am given to understand that the Council has also supported this application to apparently contradict not only earlier assurances and approvals given to help me find a solution but also your ongoing assurances about this as well in relation to both the water pipeline issues and also the ‘viable access’ issues. Can we clarify if this is the case, and if so what is the reason for this… if not for irregular purposes on the basis of possibly inappropriate influences and possible conflicts of interest? The council should be aware that especially if it is the case that you have actually supported such an obviously vindictive, profiteering and in some relevant respects illegal action – and especially if this has been done secretly and also in contradiction to the continued assurances you are providing me – that this will need to be outlined in relevant detail as part of a formal Objection to the Dept of Natural Resources due by June 14.’

The Magpie has been provided with a lot of relevant material and history of this disturbing matter, and not just by the Richards, but will not go into further details of the particular issue of access at this time to allow all parties time to explain themselves. Instead let’s look at the wider picture of what is happening in the area.

A Closer Look At The Players Involved

There is big money – and one reasonably guesses. big rewards – forecast for the Bluewater-Rollingstone area.

The big bucks belong to the Tiong family of Sarawak in Malaysia, who have parlayed a logging business there into a diverse global enterprise worth billions, including palm oil, aquaculture, insurance, banking, publishing, shipping and much, much more – significantly for us, that includes real estate and property development.

The Tiong family interests in this neck of the woods include four companies … Landmark Investments, Landmark Projects, Landworth and Roxbrook … managed by Thomas Tiong and Kar Wai Chan. (These companies own Darling Harbour Harbourside shopping complex in Sydney.) The family has vast holdings throughout Australia.

Thomas also has Mango’s in Queensland through N.A.P Townsville Pty Ltd, which is based in Giru.

Now it is interesting to note that sitting with the Townsville City Council’s planning department at the moment are detailed plans for an multi-million dollar equestrian centre in what is believed to be Tiong-held land at Bluewater. The plans have been awaiting approval for a year or more. The idea is that this horsey venture would be almost exclusively targeted at the Chinese tourism market, and would most certainly be a major job creator, and not just for those speaking Manadrin or Cantonese, but locals as well, although down the ladder so as to speak.

Warwick Powell

Warwick Powell

This project’s interests in these early stages are looked after by well known local Warwick Powell, who has long pointed out the potential of the Chinese tourism market. The proposed Bluewater centre would be a major fillip to the surrounding property market, and it is rumoured that Thomas Tiong is buying up lots in the area.

The Magpie is in no way suggesting that Mr Tiong or his companies are involved in the behavior towards Mrs Richards, which is verging on the criminal. But there are persistent but unsubstantiated reports that other property owners have been ‘urged’ to put their places on the market. The name David Wadley is mentioned in this respect, along with his son, Tomas …

Tomas Wadley

… who runs Bluewater Real Estate.

Again, The Magpie makes no inference of improper practices towards the Wadleys, but he is certainly curious about any eagerness anyone is showing to have so many what are essentially scrubland properties on their books. Are the Wadleys expecting a sudden rush of Tree Changers to this rather bleak area, or do they already have a buyer waiting in the wings?

The same questions could be asked of th Navarros, given their role in the disgraceful treatment of Sandra Richards. Perhaps Connie Navarroi’s boss, Barry Taylor, might enlighten us … Cameron Richards is adamant that Taylor, who owns Emanate Legal both in Townsville and in Brisbane,  has attended several meetings of a local group interested in the sudden appreciation of local land.

Again, The Magpie makes no inferences against Mr Taylor, despite the popular aphorism around Townsville that the easiest way to get yourself injured is to stand between Barry Taylor and a bag of money.

But the confluence of events in the area certainly leads one to all sorts speculations. Both Mr Taylor and the Tiong’s already have separate interests in prawn farms, and maybe a defunct one near Rollingstone may be reactivated. That would be a nice little earner. especially if there was a contract to supply places that cater for Chinese tourists, one would think. There’d be a premium dollar there, you’d reckon.

And who knows, perhaps scrubland unsuitable for grazing and indeed much else could converted into a premium golf resort along the extensive beachfront that is available.

Of course, all this would require approvals from the Townsville City Council, and surely big business which requires certainty in its dealings, would be wary of dealing with Walker Street. Ask Mrs Richards, she could tell them how unreliable and prone to changing previous assessments that they are … without notification or explanation.

But wait A Minute, Could It Be ….

The Ville's Chris Morris

The Ville’s Chris Morris

Come to think of it, The ‘Pie has lately wondered about why Chris Morris, a canny businessman and no dill with a dollar, is pouring a reported $40millions into upgrading what is basically a rundown dreary casino for local no hopers, and a very ordinary hotel. Now such an upgrade will be welcomed by the whole community, but the question is, why the lavish investment? Surely it would be kinda obvious that even ignoring that Townsville Enterprise is in charge of tourism promotion, The ‘Ville could never hope to recoup such an investment, there is no foreseeable broadening of its customer base in sight.

Or is there?

Mr Morris also has interests in the much ballyhooed upgrade of Pelorus Island, presumably to luxury status. And he also has a helicopter company.

Now, let’s look at this, and start with a question: who are some of the inveterate gamblers in the world? Why, the Chinese of course. And what, as Mr Powell keeps telling the thicko at Townsville Enterprise, is the fastest growing and well-heeled market for tourists to Australia? Yup, China again.

So, is our canny Chris upgrading the casino and Pelorus so he can ferry lots of Chinese with jingling pockets to and fro for their tropical stay. Why, he might also get a heap of Bejing cowboys down from Bluewater when they have finished horsing around at the exclusive equestrian centre. There would even be a small but handy patronage from all the Mandarin-speaking staff on 457 visas from the resorts.

But hang on, there’s more in the Magpie imaginings. What if the upgrade of The ‘Ville and Pelorus is aimed ultimately at a sale, casino license and all … to Chinese interests.

Hey, that nice Mr Tiong might be interested, Mr Powell could do the translation and Bazza Taylor could look after the legal niceties for a smallish slice of the action.

Of course, the locals will have to press their noses against the window glass looking at all this, because if it should come to pass, there’ll probably be little it for Townsville, apart from a few menials jobs. Local businesses need not get their hopes up. The Chinese would be likely to indulge their usual travelling habit of doing everything on tick which is either paid beforehand or when they get back home … into a local bank probably owned by guess who?

All in all, it’s a great idea – for some. But hey, it’s all just a daydream, could never really happen. Could it?

Show Us The Money

This story popped up during the week, which stirred up massive apathy at The Astonisher and Walker Street.

Screen shot 2018-05-08 at 1.57.42 PM

If that is so, and the Jenny’s Carmichael ‘job factory’ vanishes, the question is where is out $18.5million for the now unnecessary Adani airstrip?

It is unlikely at this stage to have left the council coffers, but our proud keyboard warrior Philip ‘Anything But’ Batty, has an interesting theory which The ‘Pie would like to hear someone explain why it is wrong. Philip writes:

A liberal offer ... Mayor Mullet stuns us.

Mayor Mullet stuns us.

‘The mayor stated that we (TCC) would not be paying anything to Adani or any of its companies at all. 

Wagners have stated publicly that they have no involvement/contract with either council. So two things cannot happen:-

TCC cannot pay Adani which Wagners would have to invoice for the airstrip.

TCC cannot pay Wagners without a contract or an invoice to TCC from Wagners. 

Even if TCC put the $18m into EA2 development business (the council’s new and very sus development corporation) – Magpie) they still have no contract or invoice from Wagner so how they would justify the payment escapes me. All these facts are from public statements.’

Like The ‘Pie said, SHOW US OUR MONEY, MULLET.

Oh, Dem Numbers, Dey Am Disastrous•••

***This headline was written by a Townsviille Bulletin reporter.

The cross platform readership of several news publications actually went up over the past year, mainly in the metro areas. And the Cairns Post came in at number five in the top regional mastheads. But while some were breaking out the champagne during the week, Jenna Cairney, iditor of the Townsville Astonisher, was breaking out the hemlock.

R’ship (‘000s)

The first two figures are weekday from 2017 and then 2018, the second are weekend edition figures.

Screen shot 2018-05-12 at 11.59.05 PM

The Bulletin dropped 17% of its already depleted readership, with its weekday offering at just 34,000 and weekends at 44,000.

The full figures for all mastheads is here. The ‘Pie has mercifully run out of salt to rub into any wounds – in fact, he is actually quite despondent about the fate of a once fine newspaper – but have a look at the complete list here. The inept Peter Typo Gleeson continues to preside over the demise of the Sunday Mail, having turned off a further whopping 98,000 readers in the past year. (And going on TV regularly looking like and sounding like an oily used car salesman is a equally compelling turn-off, and doesn’t bode well for for hsi looming post-newspaper career.

Now For The Week’s Wandering Around Cyberspace

Golf is a above all game of honesty, where you polic yourself. And any departure from course etiquette is loudly tut-tutted … well usually, but not it seems at Colrado’s Fossil Trace Golf Club. Recently, a following player hit up too soon and his ball landed on the too near those ahead. Very big no-no. One picked up the errant ball – which was quite close to the hole – and threw it into the nearby lake. Whereupon, the owner of the ball approached the thrower full of sweet reason … and a straight right. But he picked the wrong bloke to have a go at.

Then there was the Riposte of the Week, which was just as stinging and hilarious without the biff.

31959640_604541679907300_7374846180267655168_n (1)From the file ‘If you tell the police, they’ll arrest you as a druggie’, this story from des Moine, made famous by Bill Bryson famous opening lne ‘I came from Des Moine – well someone had to.’ Seems another character was in a hurry to leave too.

Now Des Mone Ducky would not be subject to our local taboo of ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’ … and neither are some drivers in Nepal, where one imagines the concept of death is somewhat different.

And finally, just look. Bet you replay it at least once. I did.


That’s it for this week, and don’t forget, if you have any information or comment on these and any other matters, pop into comments, 24/7. And also don’t forget, if you have spare change in appreciation of this labor of love, you can help keep the Nest aloft with a donation. The How To Button is below.

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.


  1. The old peterbuilt says:

    I purchased Saturday’s bulletin and when I took all the Hervey Norman and good guys shit out it was as meagre an addition as during the week. I was recently quoted by a realestate smoothly a figure of 6k for a months marketing of a property in the bulletin. For fuck sake I could put a sign outside the Cathy Otoole office and get more views. I hope someone from the bullsheet does read TMN, especially the last couple of weeks because this is what journalism is supposed to be about. Well done old feathered one. Off to check my lotto. Hopefully I can send some of the winnings

  2. Cantankerous but happy says:

    Great post this week Pie, some real in depth analysis of what’s happening around Bluewater and asking some questions, what journalists are meant to do, follow some leads, put up possible theories and allow them to be rebutted if inaccurate by those involved, quality stuff.

    In regards to Chris Morris and the casino he had always held that the Casino would underpin and fund his range of projects across NQ, there is no doubt it always made money, but he always had plans to grow it substantially beyond the gaming aspect of it and judging by the packed car park nearby he has achieved that in the couple of years he has owned it and the purchase of land next door means he has much bigger plans in mind. This is where your point about his future plans is interesting, all this can’t be funded by Ma and Pa Kettle from the local area blowing a few bucks on the pokies every now and then, it will take some serious coin to fund these things and that takes getting some serious volume through the door and no doubt his plans include some other attractions to get people here, hence his public criticism of the performance of Townsvile airport.

  3. Old tradesman says:

    Pie I might be mistaken,but I think the island is Orpheus not Pelorus,Pelorus is still full of goats. Also hasn’t the area around Ollera Ck suddenly been granted exclusive Native Title Rights?

  4. Terry Smith says:

    I wonder where the Bluewater airport fits into this equation? They have been trying to expand its offering for a longtime but as I understand, faced multiple objections from residents.

    A dedicated private airport with international capacity to SE Asia in Bluewater might be another piece in the puzzle?

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Year’s ago I flew light acft in and out of the Bluewater strip. I would have thought the proximity of the high ground to the west would preclude it’s use by international heavy twins. Light comuter acft in good weather maybe, just. Rotary wing comuters yes but horrendously expensive.

      • Dave Nth says:

        About 25yo I flew out of there in a Caribou to Puk Puk up on High Range. Memories are dim but recall 10ft high grass all round, sounds like nothing has changed.

        Private airstrip would be interesting a-la Wellcamp style but sorry I can’t see Chinese flocking to Townsville in any great numbers besides from what I have seen on my many trips into Asia I am wary of them, they aren’t the most amiable tourists & are very miserly with spending.

        • Dave of Kelso says:

          D Nth,
          For me it was Kiowa in the 80’s. Regards.

          • Dave Nth says:

            FYI, just for the record I was one of the packhorses in the back not in the pointy end… My dream of military aviation ended when I was diagnosed with R-G colour deficiency, thanks grand dad but was good enough to be cannon fodder. Meh, such is life I suppose…

    • Adele's reg grundies says:

      Hallo Mister Smith, we’ve been talking about it – have you been eaves-dropping? You naughty man! NOT! Next rediculous rumour please.

  5. One legged tap dancer says:

    Given that not one of the wishlist budget items supplied by TEL’s Patricia Puppet got a mention in treasurer Scott Morrison’s budget, how does she justify her existence?
    A mate of mine who is trying to get the State Government interested in a big project told me he had been advised not to let TEL anywhere near it because they would probably stuff it up for him.
    And we ratepayers pay a lazy $750 grand for this!

  6. Critical says:

    I’m scratching my head trying to work out what Chinese tourists would come to Townsville for because there certainly aren’t any quality tourist attractions or activities for international tourists.
    Maybe it’s the rundown crime ridden city that the Mullet and her ALP followers have let a once liveable and attractive city become.

    • The Magpie says:

      Let’s go through this slowly for you Critical, me old dear. The ENTIRE point of the conjecture in the blog was that a Malaysian billionaire and perhaps a local savvy businessman or two could be quietly planning a resort or two that will do exactly that, attract Chinese tourists for specific reasons, in the initial phase, horse riding (an expensive but popular pastime in China), gambling at the casino and/or a stay on a tropical island.

      And the way it would be designed, in The Magpie’s guess, is a closed circuit for the visitors, who would rarely venture beyond the confines of their resorts, so there would be very little beyond a few menial jobs for locals and bugger all for Townsville businesses.

      • Critical says:

        Good summary and if Australia isn’t the flavour of the month and the Chinese stop coming then what. That question is already being looked at in Cairns because it appears that the number of Chinese tourists is decreasing.

        • The Magpie says:

          Just so long as taxpayers money is not involved, so what? It’s called free enterprise, an exercise in risk and reward, and the risk is the reason why The ‘Pie will never begrudge those who – so long as they use legal means – take the punt and get richly rewarded. But a bullying land grab for a hidden agenda cannot be countenanced.

  7. Willow the Wisp says:

    Attacking old ladies to force them off their land makes me angry

    If the council is going to get sunk , this is going to be the iceberg.

    • Sandgroper says:

      Forget a piddly iceberg. The TCC Titanic is in the middle of a minefield without a moral compass or competent crew.

  8. Mike Douglas says:

    Based on the shanigans on the Northern Beaches with possible involvement of Adele the Impailer, you wonder how many other Labor aligned nests are being feathered? . Any document shredding at T.C.C, based on complaints by ratepayers to the CCC?. It explains why T,C.C couldn’t get dog registration and food licence renewals as the Ceo has converted Walker Street to Labor HQ. Fortunately whist there is fiddling at Walker st other activities like GBMPA relocation to Northtown of 210 rumour would be a welcome to foodies and retailers as well as International Lion Brewing possible micro brewery, tap room, beer garden in Anthony st South Townsville. How many minutes walk to the new stadium from Anthony street?.

  9. The Magpie says:

    Wadda ya doin’, Ewen?

    More clowning around, that’s what.

    Seems Ewen Jones has squeezed the last of what little air there was left in his chances of a political revival.

    Even out of office, Dumbo Jumbo seems to have retained a knack for massive misjudgments, a disconnect from reality and an uncanny ability to annoy the local business community.

    According to info that has just floated into the Nest from an irate business person, last week Ewen committed a cardinal political sin, that of trying to get the business community to lobby for his preselection over a younger and eager rival for the LNP candidature for Herbert. The ‘Pie has never heard of this tactic, because since time immemorial, all parties except the fancy dress fringe of politics have had the strict rule that preselection is entirely in-house and never discussed outside until a choice is announced … and even then, losers are expected to show solidarity and keep their traps shut (an impossibility for Jones, who has been chucked out of parliament 8 times in his brief career for his runaway gob.)

    Last week, many local business owners were fuming when they received a bumptious request from Jones for their support in his pre-selection battle for the LNP candidature of Herbert. Praising himsel with unstinted generosity, Jones claimed he was the best person to represent the Townsville business community, although he admitted he didn’t know who was challenging him. Denigrating an opponent whose identity you do not know is as dangerous as claiming you were the darling of the business community when you held office when you were anything but … but Ewen was impervious to the peril. or reality..

    He even hinted that he knew he was breaking the rules when he wrote:
    “The preselection process is an internal one and only party members, the State executive, and a couple of others are able to vote. I need to send these people a message that the business community feels that I would be the best LNP candidate to contest the election, and drive our economy forward.
    I have written a short letter to the local pre-selectors which would have your name and business identity attached to the base. It is important to note that this will not be a public document. It is purely intended to go to my preselectors.”

    Oh, the naiveity is both endearing and staggering at the same time. He then attached a toe-curlingly embarrassing letter that was a paean of self-praise claiming the broad ‘unequivocal’ support of the business community. To be signed by the recipients of his request. Hilariously, he included this little pearler: “We need the ideas to grow our economy to be the focus of the campaign, and not be distracted by (someone) trying to establish a profile.” It obviously did not occur to Ewen that establishing a new profile is far easier than trying to hide an old one.

    Laughter and/or profanity no doubt rang around the town, and one person hit the keys just to make sure Ewen wasn’t suffering any delusions of adequacy. The business person wrote:
    Dear Ewen
    Thank you for inviting me to sign your pre selection support letter.
    Unfortunately I cannot agree with its contents, in particular, “you have broad business community support”.
    It is my understanding that the broad business community of Herbert was extremely disappointed in your ability to represent them when you were the member for Herbert.
    It is also my understanding the  broad business community viewed your last election campaign as dismal, allowing an enthusiastic but low level Labour candidate to take the seat of Herbert.
    I wish you and your family well, but cannot accept your kind invitation for all the above reasons and more.
    Kind Regards etc

    Jones then enigmatically replied ‘Thank you, if it’s any consolatio, you are the first to say no.’

    The Magpie imagines not only was the writer the first to say no, he/she was probably the first and last to say anything at all.

    Anyway, the process is underway, and we will soon know who The Tool will be defending her margin of 37 votes against. Bets, anyone?


    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Ewen was lucky to survive a push from Spring Hill to have him punted before the last election, just like what is happening in Ryan now. I personally know of one offer direct from the PM and state executive to a talented local woman to stand for preselection from outside the party, that in itself is indicative of how much concern there was within the party that Ewen would lose the seat, it was also an indication of a lack of respect for him within the party, and a growing intolerance to his antics and behaviour. Peter Lindsay would have no doubt convinced Spring Hill to stay the course and support a sitting member, but with his standing within the party reduced to snoozing grandpa status I doubt he would have that influence now, they would have to exhaust every other option before endorsing Ewen once again.

  10. Achilles says:

    Well done Dumbo, you’re a classic Dunning–Kruger effect example, also a great acrobat as you managed to pull your foot out of your mouth just long enough to shoot a bullet through it.

    A legend in your own mind old son.

  11. Memory Man says:

    The Adani write down is almost as much as we have shelled out for a bloody airstrip …


    • The Real Philip Batty says:

      Mayor and CEO of TCC deliberately mislead councillors in order to secure the vote on Adani airstrip, quote from Paul Jacob:-

      ““Both the CEO and the mayor said that we would own the airport, the money was like a half-ownership deal with Rockhampton,”

      Given this was widely reported in the press before the backflip from the Mayor to ” we wont own the airport” I think I know who I would believe.

  12. The Wulguru Wonder says:

    I’m starting to think they do it as some kind of deliberate joke. Check out the story and advertisment on page 14 of today’s Asthonisher.

    Headline of “No way to avoid shooting tragedy” and the advertisment directly below story for “Your local firearm and ammunition supplier.”

  13. Sceptical says:

    Jones may well have annoyed some of the business people in this town…certainly those aligned to Loza but there are plenty others who are not and had those aligned not outwardly destabilise his campaign Jones would have beaten Otool. I’m sure the LNP are well aware this and if they don’t then they are fools and we’re (Townsville) destined for a long time in the wilderness!

    • The Magpie says:

      Probably so …but doesn’t change Dumbo’s unfortunate judgement in this matter … and that most certainly will be taken into consideration.

  14. The Real Philip Batty says:

    The former Bulletin deputy editor and the paid PR man from TCC seem to think having potshots at the Magpie is fair game, well here is a direct quote from a Bulletin journalist when writing a story about TCC and the Adani Airport fiasco.

    “ Yeah there was a lot of tooing and froing with what I was and wasn’t allowed to say”

    ” I was very restricted”

    I didn’t realise newspapers couldn’t print the truth because they were not allowed.

    Stay tuned plenty more to come, the Tweet at Magpie just declared the season well and truly open

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      So much for a free, independent and fearless press. One of the pillars of our democracy is crumbling.

  15. The old peterbuilt says:

    Told yesterday by tcc staffer that the budget that was allowed by comm games organisers was exceeded by the mullet by many tens of thousands of buckeroos and tcc have to pick up the tab for the excesses. This I’m told has but a dagger into next years budget and cuts will need to be made. In the words of Shultz Veryyyy interesting.

    • The Magpie says:

      Which brings us to a question that The ‘Pie expected to be asked by now … how long are those painted ship containers going to be a blot on Strand Park? Fun for a fling, but we don’t want to be married to ‘em. Maybe the council hasn’t the dough to mov e them, or, in their demented way, think they will be a drawcard when the V8s come to town.

      • Old tradesman says:

        Walk around the Kissing Point circuit very often to keep the kilos off,all the grass is dying and the war tales voice recording system has not worked for at least 3 months. I suppose Jenny needs a Federal loan to fix it.

      • seagull says:

        heard similar re the cost blowout…. & believe it or not some of the HOG (motorbike) people visiting town recently thought the containers were pretty out there/ good….the whole thing seems a bit like masturbation …….felt good at the time, achieved nothing really and now we have to clean up the mess !

      • Adele's re grundies says:

        Hey Pie, look over there, a bit choppy on the water today. What containers?

        PS – staying until after the V8’s – thanks for asking.

      • cobalos says:

        I think the council is waiting for the hard rubbish collection truck to come and take them away.

  16. Dave of Kelso says:

    ALERT THE MEDIA or Credit Where Credit’s Due (I am not sure which)

    For the first time in many years a TCC gang is trimming the footpath trees throughout Kelso, thus improving driver visibility at many suburban intersections.

  17. A Keen Eye says:

    Under attack by her god bothering “colleague” Joanne Miller about what she knew about Ipswich corruption , Deputy Premier Jackie Trad says she we make a public statement on Thursday . When she was the registered labor party agent for donations disclosure , she personally signed off on one of the first “Rocky Springs Rural” donations . Its in the 2010-11 Qld Labor return along with the Obeid donation https://periodicdisclosures.aec.gov.au/Returns/48/OMFP1.pdf Rocky Springs has changed its name since the proposal in the Mooney days and the name is now Elliot Springs and Public funding was signed off on by Dep Premier and local Government Minister Jackie Trad in 2016 http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/11/14/15-million-injection-to-kickstart-townsville-residential-estate , there were a shit load more bribes declared later too. Go Figure . The Belcarra corruption legislation including the developer donor ban wont do bugger all about granting tenders to those who have been a donor if they arnt technically within that definition. http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableoffice/notice_paper/2018/180516_NP.pdf For instance , at the 2016 TSV Council Election , just why did Richard Toigo of Toigo Investments donate $1K to Arlett , he heads up Wulguru Steel which got that big Stadium tender after the election https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/candidates-and-parties/funding-and-disclosure/disclosure-returns/election-disclosure-returns/2016-local-government-quadrennial-elections/townsville-city-council I dead certain it was because he was in competition with Marcel McLeod of Total Fab Engineering which also does steel . He donated $7K https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/62468/Total-Fab-Shared-Resources-Pty-Ltd.pdf https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/62467/Total-Fab-Engineering-Pty-Ltd.pdf . Vision Survey’s and GTRE does pipeline sureveys and gave 5k each to arlett and Pat Brday’s UDP who got the Consultant Engineering Tender for it gave $3k. “Oonoonba rd” is Grant McOmish from Igenta and Citylink Industrial Park Bohle . So , regardless of what laws are passed , the donations for tenders thing is gonna explode as the new growth area for corruption . Even more so than now. http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au

  18. A keen eye says:

    Oh yeah, and the 25k from empower is from BMD who got the bris 2 and runway and tsv utilities upgrade in the team hill return linked in the
    Tsv donor list linked above. They come under construction not development apparently , and the new rules allow bent councils bought/captured by donors to say “quick hands” and instead of delegating to bent ceo’s send it to the LGA min. That decision is not appealable . everyone gets what they want.

    • I'll be plucked says:

      Pluck me ‘eye’ – can ‘see’ you’ve got something to say/share but it’s very, very ‘jumbled’ – not quite mumbo-jumbo but heading in that direction!

      SLOW DOWN and help us all understand, please!

  19. The Magpie says:

    Palmer’s massive spelling fail!

    Not only should that be ‘GRATE’, but should be completed ‘its teeth’.

    Especially in Townsville.

  20. Cantankerous but happy says:

    The Ballina Byron Gateway Airport have announced a $6.5 million terminal upgrade to allow the business to keep expanding. Passenger growth has nearly doubled since 2010 from 270,000 passengers to 530,000 passengers today, compare that with Numbskull Gill and his band of no hopers at Townsville airport who have basically stagnated over the last 10 years, 1.59 million passengers in 2010 and will only return to that level this FY, absolutely hopeless. If the leaders of this town want to do something to grow tourism in this place I would suggest pushing hard for the sacking of Gill and his hopeless team and offer the management of Ballina Byron airport a job in Townsville and get something happening.

    • The Magpie says:

      And a The ‘Pie said a week or so ago, th TCC should look into making an offer to by the airport, or if not, to get a slice of the Bluewater strip and start expanding it. There are clear limits on what the current airport can stretch to.

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        Dear ‘Pie, the range to the west would preclude development of the Bluewater strip to all weather international standard. Start looking around Donnington or Reid River, both WW2 strips and within cooee of Townsville.

      • No more dredging says:

        “Pie, back up there in the Bluewater airport discussion you wrote:

        “And a The ‘Pie said a week or so ago, the TCC should look into making an offer to buy the [Townsville] airport, or if not, to get a slice of the Bluewater strip and start expanding it.”

        Quite apart from the fact that Townsville airport is a RAAF base, is under-utilised and has an unbeatable location vis-a-vis access to the CBD and suburbs, the idea that the Townsville Council should buy into yet another airport, either here or a new construction miles from Town, seems kinda counter-intuitive (leaving aside the Adani airstrip which I notice has jumped back onto the radar today). Isn’t Council incompetence – as reflected in this week’s headline – at the centre of the Magpie’s DNA? I simply can’t imagine why you would support the Townsville Council’s newly created development arm – already labelled a likely corrupt dud – founding a start-up international airport just 25 kilometres out of Town when the existing one is going to stay right where it is in perpetuity. WTF?

        • The Magpie says:

          Your comments are certainly up for discussion but allow The ‘Pie to disabuse you of certain presumptions. ‘council incompetence?’ yes, THIS council’s incompetence, but in no way is The ‘Pie predicating any moves by this mob, they are way too shifty … the idea is that when a new ethical grouping takes over in Walker Street (yes, yes, but a bird can dream can’t he?) and a development corporation is transparently operated and open to full public discussion. And Bluewater will never be … well not this century … a passenger focussed operation, but a training and produce export hub.

          And The Magpie’s information is that there are some severe limits on the expansion possibilities of the current airport, but yes, it will always be there, and so it should be ( a better, less rapacious management would be nice, but hey, we’re talking about an Australian airports here.)

          • No more dredging says:

            ‘Pie, just sniffing around the Townsville Airport website, in particular the 2016 future planning document, I notice that the Airport Ltd has a 50 year lease with a further 49 year option. There appears to be ample physical space to expand airport services space although they don’t expect much increase in ‘freight’. Not sure about the capacity to expand passenger handling or aircraft parking at the terminal.
            One thing that caught my attention was the passenger charges levied on airlines using the airport. There appear to be three such charges quite apart from the aircraft charges based on the tonnage of each plane.
            Terminal usage charge/ common user charge (per passenger both inbound/outbound) $5.85
            Aeronautical passenger charge (per passenger both inbound/outbound) $7.36
            Passenger and checked bag screening (per passenger both inbound/outbound) $2.15

            So the plan to up the ‘passenger charge’ by $3 should be seen in the context of a current total charge of $15.36 per passenger.

          • The Magpie says:

            And just what does that last bit mean, we shouldn’t be worried about a 20% increase … for nothing in return? Or has The ‘Pie read you wrong?

          • No more dredging says:

            No I think you have misinterpreted my clumsy wording. I didn’t know that the current passenger charge was about 15 bucks. That’s all.

          • The Magpie says:

            Fair enough, good info. But of course, we would never expect or get clumsy wording from The Magpie, his cap guarantees it.

          • The Magpie says:

            Actually, pretty good trick for someone who’s had his vocal chords chopped out.

    • Westie says:

      I don’t know much about airports- perhaps someone can enlighten me. Surely passenger numbers are governed by the number of people who want to come here- not by the airport itself which has a monopoly (other than the train and bus stations).

      Perhaps there is a slight impact from passenger charges built in to the cost of the ticket, but that would be small bikkies in the price of a ticket. I have been to some pretty horrendous airports in my time, but it did not stop me going there. Fifteen minutes and you are out of there, and enjoying or not your destination.

      • The Magpie says:

        Westie, the issue about the ticket tax is the rort aspect of it, not the actual dough, which anyone can afford … the plain simple fact is that Queensland Airport Ltd (and Gill) are trying to bully Townsville passengers into paying for something that they themselves should pay for since it only ever going to enhance both their bottom line and the thieving rental rates that are a black tradition with airports everywhere.

      • Scientician79 says:

        Westie as a regular flier I largely agree.

        The airport is a necessary evil, I want to spend as little time there as possible and I’m only interested in upgrades that help me get in and out faster. That would be faster security lanes, better layout of the drop off/pick up arrangements in the car park, and a reasonable chair to sit in by the gate.

        This airport renovation seems to be built on the flawed assumption we want to spend more time there. The sorts of upgrades, more food/retail, only make sense to me if this is a hub airport. I’m not inclined to make much use of the shopping facilities at the Brisbane Airport, but as a hub I understand it provides a distraction when you are stuck for a few hours between flights.

        For the most part I’d say Townsville is a destination/departure airport. You generally don’t stop at Townsville Airport waiting for a connection onwards – I’m sure there are exceptions, but my observation is when four flights land at once everyone is heading for the door as fast as possible.

        Which gets to the question, why should I pay for an upgrade that I don’t need or want? It could be funded by the airport corporation themselves and paid back from the rental returns they will earn from all this retail splendour we are being promised.

        • The Magpie says:

          That is simply the best rational analysis of what is wrong with this whole approach by QAL. And on top of that, we have this completely incompetent fool as the board chairman of an organisation tasked with getting tourists and busiess – industry – here. This is a bit like Donald Trump’s presidency … it is so outrageous we’re getting used o it and will soon accept that it is the norm.

          The Magie NEVER will … on both counts.

        • Non Aligned Worker says:

          S79 Perfect analysis of our airport. This should be used as a baseline for further discussion.

      • Cantankerous but happy says:

        Fair call Westie and certainly passenger numbers will always represent the number of people wanting to travel to or from here but the lack of enterprise by TAPL in attracting new airlines and routes to expand their business is atrocious, for every new route they have opened up another has lost passengers, hence why they are still stuck at the same passenger volume from 8 years ago..
        What steps are TAPL taking to address this, sweet fuck all by the looks of things, it is a floundering business run by an incompetent dickhead, and what makes things worse is the parent company QAL seem content to let there Townsville business just flounder along, collecting revenue from the travellling Townsville public and investing nothing, if it was still turning over the same volume of passengers in 20 years I don’t think they would give a shit, but the people and businesses of Townsville do, it is a vital piece of the puzzle in the success of this city and the lifestyle of its citizens and as Pie said if they don’t give a shit about it then sell it to TCC to operate or someone else interested in growing the business.

        • Airline says:

          I understand that Virgin Airlines Management are extremely annoyed (Pissed Off) would be better put) with the little Dill from the Airport.and have advised him their proposal to pay the $3.ticket tax could be in jeopardy… It is over the Application that Qantas and Air Nuigini code share (ie share revenue & costs on the Townsville/ Nuigini Route which Virgin strongly oppose… A letter from Gill, TEL & TCC has been written To the airline board that is looking at the proposal supporting the proposal. . Given that Virgin do not have Airline right to New Guinea it should get approval..

          • The Magpie says:

            Your information is generally spot on in this area, Cankers, si if that is, where does that leave the ethical situation of an airport manager taking sides as the board chairman of our ‘peak tourist and industrial investment body” (oh, stoppit, ya killin’ me!). Why get TEL (and therefore the TCC) involved when it looms as a lose-lose situation, from which there is no gain for Townsville? By all means, let this idiot write his little heart out on TAPL (QAL) letterhead, but the community being seen to be taking sides through TEL could end in retaliatory action by whomsoever loses in this minor spat.

            TEL MUST be restructured if it is continue to be propped up by ratepayer funds.

  21. Miss Lou says:

    Always good
    Always entertaining.

    Chink Chink and Cheers to Prince Henry and Ms. Rachel Markle.

    Best Wishes,

    Miss Lou.

  22. Lucifer's love child says:

    An airport’s success is not based on so much its operations but what it gives access to. Sydney airport brings tourists to the bridge and opera house , domestic flyers travel there for “business” and the basketcase of sprawling housing estates and real estate scams.

    Townsville airport is a private entity and has chosen its management to carry out its orders, if they want to strong arm carriers into paying for an “upgrade” that is their prerogative – thats how the free market works. If a carrier marches out of townsville in defiance of the airport, thats just how the free market works when you create privately owned monopolies; there might be a lot of social and financial fallout but that’s how the ball rolls.

  23. Kirwan Joe says:

    Hey Magpie,
    I see the Astonisher finally caught up with your story about Ewan and put it on their front page. How come they didn’t give you the by-line?

    • The Magpie says:

      Nine letters … confuses ‘em.

      • Droopy draws says:

        Gee that really points out the level of integrity at Bully typewriters, Pie.
        Things like this must give you the reassurance that you have your own space in ‘credible journalism’ around town.
        Always a good read. Thumbs up from me, mate!

        • The Magpie says:

          Thank for the support, DD, but for a paper that puffs itself on the ridiculous and meaningless slogan ‘We’re for you’, it would be much better if they followed the Sandra Richards matter, which in the end they will be forced to anyway, it is heading down the path of criminality and hopefully all will be revealed soon.

        • Lord Howard Hertz says:

          The Bulletin editor, a wee Scottish lassie, I hear, reminds me of an old joke I heard in pommyland years ago … what’s the difference between a computer and a Scot?
          You only have to punch information into a computer once.

          Keep boxing, ‘Pie.

  24. Memory Man says:

    It’s a farce!

    Adani is downsizing its Townsville workforce and, reportedly, is seeking sub-tenants to fill empty space. Them moving to Townsville last year as a pathetic PR stunt, and those fooled by it (the Gormless Walker St Gang and the Dudley Do Nothings in particular) have been well and truly exposed. The City as a result is a laughing stock.

  25. The Magpie says:

    NEWSFLASH (a real one!)

    PETER LINDSAY, the former long-standing Member for Herbert, has this morning resigned from the local LNP, as has John Wharton, the mayor of Richmond Shire. Mr Lindsay has now joined the Liberal Party and is a member of that party’s ACT branch.
    This was received by a short time ago by The Magpie

    Dear Malcolm,

    This is to let you know that Cr John Wharton AM, Mayor of Richmond Shire Council and myself have both RESIGNED FROM THE LNP THIS WEEK.
    You may recall that we were unfairly hit with suspension in December for making a constructive comment about the loss of the State election.

    Since then. the President and State Executive have continued to refuse to acknowledge our point that the LNP needs to be politically smarter if the Party is ever to beat the ALP.

    Following the loss of the last State election, there is now very little prospect of having an LNP member elected here in Townsville in the next eight years (apart from Senator Ian Macdonald if he is preselected again).

    After more than 40 years of continuous service as an LNP member and holding the honour of winning more elections than any other LNP member ever (10 in a row), I am not leaving. I have joined the Party in another State Division.

    To understand why we have resigned, kindly read my letter to State Executive below.

    Warm regards


    (NOTE FROM THE MAGPIE:The attached letter below is long for the comments section, but included because of the significance of the situation.)

    Dear Member of State Executive

    Prior to the lest State election, Labor were gone by any measure.

    But once again our campaign dismally failed and Labor were returned with an increased majority. That has probably guaranteed another two terms for the ALP in Queensland.

    Following the State election loss, I was moved to make my first public statement in the seven years since my retirement. The guts of it was that the Party continues to lose elections due to poor political decisions and has been unable to come anywhere near matching the Labor machine when it comes to being politically smart.

    I was astonished to be suspended.

    Suspension wasn’t a decision that the politically savy would have made. After all Section V.13 does not mandate any particular action against an offender. It’s really there to protect the Party from rogue members. I have certainly never been rogue!

    By hitting me with a sledgehammer, State Executive reinforced the very point I was making. This action was politically unwise and subsequently, news of this my suspension triggered two weeks of bad media from others across the state.

    I had judged my single statement to be politically helpful. How?

    After the State election loss, there was widespread disillusionment in North Queensland with our branch members, supporters, the business community and our donors. By standing up and saying what everyone was thinking, our supporters felt that there may be some hope for the future.
    State Executive took a decision that immediately got everyone offside. Local anger was virtually universal. Support for the LNP hierarchy plunged to a new low and turned a political positive into a disaster. The business community and our donors were equally stunned and upset. (Business leaders are still angry at the incompetence of Ewen Jones campaign in losing a 6.5% margin seat when other Queensland members like Michelle Landry and Luke Howarth survived on virtually no margin.)
    For my part, I have been a continuous member for more than 40 years. I have put my life into the Party during that time. My reward has been suspension. This was very hard for me personally but I came to Brisbane to set things right knowing that Gary Spence had assured some that my membership would be reinstated.

    Alas, at its last meeting, State Executive’s decided to extend my suspension for a further six months. Another politically unwise decision was made!

    This was particularly upsetting for me knowing no action had been taken against several others who had spoken out about the affairs of the Party without attracting penalty. (For example Campbell Newman, Scott Emmerson, Ewen Jones, Michelle Landry and Warren Entsch).

    As it stands now there is only a remote chance that our region will have an elected LNP representative for at least 8 years. (apart from Senator Ian Macdonald if he is again preselected).

    Since the latest decision, I have taken time to count to ten. I have decided that I do not want to spend the next six months being desperately unhappy with what the Party has done to me. Life is about being happy, not being stressed.

    I have better things to do with my life and other more fruitful ways to contribute to society than by involvement in a party that treats members in the way I have been treated.

    Consequently, I have resigned my membership.

    All of the corporate knowledge I have will now be lost to the Party in Herbert and Kennedy where expertise is scant on the ground.

    The actions of a few have not affected my commitment to my values and to the platform of the Party.

    I have therefore joined another State Division of the Party and so my decades long membership will continue.

    It is with great regret that I say

    Goodbye and Good luck.

    Hon Peter Lindsay OAM

    • No more dredging says:

      One way or another the LNP is losing contact with its ‘base’ in Townsville. Sen. Ian Macdonald is more of a plank than a girder, Ewan Jones more a paper clip than a nail so one wonders where the current government’s support in this town comes from? Labor’s local member is at least articulate and active but has no friends in Murdochland. The Redhead makes no sense, Greens are stuck on 10%, the Katters are lost inside their hats so it looks like a wily, rational independent might have a chance. Whoa!

  26. Cantankerous but happy says:

    Well done Peter Lindsay for standing up for your principals and showing self respect by telling the tossers in Spring Hill to get stuffed, the merged LNP is a complete farce and your point is 100% correct, we will be in opposition for a very long time whilst this Executive team and party hierarchy stay in place. I quit 5 years ago after only a short return, I was a member of the Nats for many years but left after the takeover and was convinced to become involved again, I regret I ever did after seeing the way the party was run and my disgust at the antics of head office, in particular their refusal to punt the brainless tree stump up in Cairns who oversees the whole of the Northern region, anyway there seems to be a long list of expelled Liberal Party members who have found a little earner on Sky News, might be a spot for you too.

    • The Magpie says:

      Christ don’t inflict Prince Peter on TV on us, even if it i for 10 people – and eight of them are studio crew.

      But on a more serious aspect which The ‘Pie has touched on before, it is time to de-merge, and the Nats paddle their own canoe again. There is no reason why Nats could not represent a place like Townsville with sensible policies that at the same time serve their core rural constituency. Venal Labor has lost the plot around here, and its time fo a wake call … and that is my call if we must have major party involvement.

  27. 007 says:

    Kevin Gills house is up for sale – has been on the market for a month and he has just dropped his price. He may just be downsizing or whatever so this info is of no consequence unless we hear of any movement at the airport which may support the fact that he is leaving Townsville.

    • The Magpie says:

      Very interesting, and not sure why you suggested this was not for publication (which was deleted from comment). You are not identified, and your suggestion it doesn’t mean anything at this stage denies every ratepayer in this town the chance to be hopeful.

  28. Sandgroper says:

    Crikey, ‘Pie, if you keep breaking the big stories you’ll soon become known as the town’s “organ of record.”……. a reminder of happy evenings spent skirt-chasing in Poseurs Bar.

    • The Magpie says:

      The happy nights I remember were the ‘skirt catching’ ones. I remember them well … both of them.

  29. Honkers says:

    The lie exposed.

    This once and for all exposes the Mullet’s false claims some months ago that the “deal” with Adani was done … it was typical blown-up spin. People are entitled to treat everything from her mouth with the scepticism that is now fully deserved.

  30. Muz says:

    Noticed the latest offer from TB, twelve months digital and tablet but no delivered paper. Not able to gaurantee delivery of paper for 12 months on the latest figures?

  31. Achilles says:

    So sleazy Palmer’s mine is twice as big as Got’em Adani’s according to the TB.

    So why don’t they amalgamate and share the costs or simply fuck off back to India and sell their “assets” and lease to Palmer?

    By assets I mean the TCC funded airport and the gov funded (non existent) railway to the coast.

  32. Surely says:

    Headline: “Car hits tree on highway”

    Body of story: “…after a car collided with a tree with one occupant inside”.

    • The Magpie says:

      Yeah, got it …

      A single vehicle rollover has occurred on Flinders Highway at Calcium.

      ‘Police were called to the collision at 2.40pm after a car collided with a tree with one occupant inside’.

      Obviously that box of commas Jenna Cairney has ordered from Holt Street hasn’t arrived yet. Otherwise, we must believe that the housing situation at Calcium has driven at least one local to take to a hollow log.

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