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The Magpie

Sunday, March 10th, 2019   |   177 comments

Taking Double Dipping To An Art Form: Are Townsville Airport Owners QAL Asking Us To Pay TWICE for their airport upgrade?

It’s a genuine question now that the Townsville Airport has somehow managed to wangle a $50million low interest loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) for the terminal upgrade. You decide if you’re being had.

Also this week, try and blame this on evaporation – the much-ballyhooed Strand lagoon on the Strand is reported to be a dead duck. And nothing to do with the floods … The ‘Pie hears this unicorn project from a financially wobbly council was scuttled mid-last year.

And seems one TCC councillor will be calling it quits at the next election.

And the council offers it;’s own classic ‘Who’s on first’ comedy routine when asked a simple question by a ratepayer.

And an unmistakable message to ISIS maniacs who now want to return ‘home’.

But first …

Why Outsiders See Some Queenslanders As Special …

 … as in safety helmet and crayons ‘special’.

One moment their a dangerous pest that should be culled, and the next … well … The good folks of Cardwell are mourning the loss of Bismarck, the reputedly 100 year old croc that has patrolled Cardwell’s off-shore water front for years, keeping other more aggressive animals out of his territory. Understandably, the locals loved Bismarck albeit from a sensible distance, were outraged when some knuckle-dragging drongo used the old croc for target practice.

dead croc

Now, in the best tradition of what is known as ‘recreational grief’ in a town where there isn’t ever a lot to do, a ‘memorial day’ is planned Bismarck which may eventually result in a more tangible reminder. At least, according to Bentley.

croc fin smallAn interesting, quirky story, but not as quirky as the Astonisher’s usual grasp of basic maths , the numbers thingy has brought them undone again. Magpie’s Nest regular commenter Peewee Herman didn’t miss them when he sent this in:

Peewee Herman

Submitted on 2019/03/05 at 8:31 am

“Iconic” crocodile?

Page 7 of today’s papers has a story with the headline “Iconic saltie feared killed” that starts “THERE are fears an iconic North Queensland saltwater crocodile has been shot and killed.”  It then goes on to quote a police officer “Sgt Gillinder said police were yet to determine if the 4.5m crocodile had been shot, died of natural causes or been killed by a rival.”
Okay, so it’s 4.5m long, we’ve established that quite easily thanks to the police who have also got no idea how it died.

THEN we have this ripper par – “It is an offence under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to take an estuarine crocodile without authority and there are greater penalties in place for the unlawful take of an ‘iconic’ crocodile, defined as 5m or greater in length. The maximum penalty for the unlawful take of an iconic crocodile is $28,383.75.”

So hang on, we’ve got a 4.5m dead croc which clearly isn’t iconic (because it’s not 5m or longer), we don’t know how it died but we are subjected to more moronic garbage from the Astonisher who don’t seem to have a single clue even when it’s spelled out in THEIR OWN STORY!

As The ‘Pie has said elsewhere, it would seem the paper’s continual incorrect overuse of the word ‘iconic’ is now iconic of the Bulletin’s sloppy stupidity.

What Townsville Today Can Learn From Chicago Then

Back early last century, world heavyweight champ James J Corbett had to endure the downside of the fame his sport brought. Every barroom brawler in America would try to pick a fight with him, to either have a shot at being able to brag they decked the former world champ, or just boast down the years about the time Corbett decked them.


Boxer James Corbett

Corbett generally avoided such confrontations, more often than not with good humour. On one occasion, in a Chicago bar, one bantam weight challenger, a small, wiry guy who boasted he was faster and quicker than the champ because he had won several amateur lightweight titles, persisted in taunting Corbett, up to and including dancing up besides the big several times, and throwing real punches into his arm and body. Corbett stoically ignored the pest, but finally, beer in hand, he turned to face his tormentor, and told him” If you hit me one more time … I’d better not find out about it, or you’re in trouble.’

The ‘Pie was put in mind of this when reading about a non-existent ‘stoush’ between Qantas and the rapacious grasping efforts of Queensland Airports Limited to impose a ticket tax so passengers fund work that will benefit the company’s bottom line.

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 1.39.45 pm

Iditor Jenna Cairney is what we kids knew in playgrounds as a ‘promoter’, a third party urging two others to have a fight. Qantas has been and remains James J Corbett in this updated scenario, imperiously swatting away would-be barroom pests like QAL boss Chris Mills, the gormless and mostly irrelevant QAL office boy in Townsville Kevin Gill and our own dear Mayor Mullet, who caused great mirth in Qantas HQ and deep embarrassment in this city by calling for a boycott because Qantas wouldn’t agree to tax her citizens and visitors to her city with a ticket tax (an issue with which she as mayor had no business shit stirring about, and should’ve vehemently opposed). But her gal pal forever willing to don the jester’s motley and belled cap, Jenna Cairney is again trying to talk up faux controversy in the hope of sales and good favour from the power elite.

But it’s instructive to take a look at QAL’s other development in its network, the $380million expansion of its Gold Coast Airport. They’ve just signed a deal with Lendlease for the whizz bang upgrade, a very well worthwhile project for the premier tourist strip.

Gold Coast airportScreen Shot 2019-03-09 at 4.22.29 pm

And taking a look at crucial aspects of this project is very informative, in relation to the aspirations for their Townsville Airport.

The Gold Coast operation is in a competitive arena, vying with Brisbane for passengers, and therefore needs to upgrade to boost their through-put. Townsville is not in competition with anyone, it is a monopoly in a vastly smaller market and is already subsidized to an extent by public money, in the form of a deal with the RAAF.It appears to be in QAL’s DNA to get any enhancement to their assets bottom line to be paid by the public, and they make no bones about it. This from a QAL question and answer release about the Goldie project:

  1. Who will pay for the project? Will Gold Coast Airport passengers pay more as a result?

When Project LIFT is approved by the Australian Government and proceeds to construction, the project will be undertaken by GCAPL in its role as specialist operator. As with any major development, GCAPL as the proponent will seek to recover the costs of the development over its operational life. We will do this through revenue from commercial developments on the Airport as well as Airport charges.’

And, according to QAL boss Mills, this is the formula they want to apply to the vastly different case for Townsville. But allow The Magpie, no accountant he by any means, ask this: If we, as taxpayers, have already lent QAL the bulk of this money through the recently announced $50million NAIF low interest loan, why does the company think it is OK to charge US to pay back what WE have loaned THEM?

As Dame Edna says, ‘Spooky, eh, possums?’

Note That QAL Head Honcho Is Now On The Scene – Maybe Gill Is Being Sidelined.

But asking questions like this is going to have Kevin ‘Rhymes With’ Gill wringing his hanky in knocked-kneed dismay. Last year, he had a public sniffle which was clearly heaping hot coals on the Magpie’s blameless head when he told BD Magazine:

The ‘toxic’ cycle of social media and those feeding off it are harming our city. Those types of people are just negative, they’re not representative of Townsville. They may look representative because it’s so easy and its anonymous, but we need to switch off to that. Reasonable complaints and feedback is fine, but this horrid stuff is too toxic to let in”.

Harming our city? Oh, Kevvy … this self-serving tosh from a man who won’t answer a straight question about the upgrade … when faced with a list of queries n the ticket tax upgrade from former journo Doug Kingston, Gill wanted a closed door meeting to discuss them. Doug said no, he wanted the answers out in public. No meeting open or otherwise ever happened.

But look, maybe The ‘Pie should dial down the rhetoric a bit, he has been chastised by one reader for rushing to criticise Mr Gill. Perhaps a more conciliatory, philosophical approach is called for, so …

Kevin Gill shoes

A Footnote

Interesting to note one of the NAIF board members is this bloke …

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 1.25.48 pm

Not surprising that Mr Rolfe is kindly disposed towards airports … he is also a board member of NQ Airports, which owns Cairns and Mackay. Wonder why he has a soft spot for Townsville Airport, though, since the $55million Cairns airport upgrade currently underway will be fully funded by NQ Airports! And their PR people tell The ‘Pie no ticket tax is even contemplated, let alone a NAIF loan.

How do they do it?

The Unicorn Rainbow Fart Of The Week.

As we know, a mirage is an optical illusion of atmospheric conditions, especially the appearance of a sheet of water caused by the refraction of light by heated air.

Water? Illusion? Hot air? No description is more fitting for the unicorn rainbow fart of a 10 hectare ‘lagoon’ for the Strand.


Even the artist’s impression in the Bulletin at the time was lifted from a Cairns project.

Of all the things that this town needs to be realized, this shiny beads and blankets offering to the electorate’s natives was perhaps the most egregious. It seemed unlikely from the outset, and now seems to have been quietly dropped from Mayor Mullet’s regular mewlings.

Perhaps this is why.

The ‘Pie understands that a prominent citizen (a genuine leading citizen, who employs many people and invests his own money in this town) decided to put an apartment in Mariners North on the market. But in the middle of last year, he withdrew it because the Strand lagoon proposal suddenly came out of nowhere. He figured such a scheme would add considerable value to the property if he sat tight for a while. However, when he made some further high level inquiries – he’s the sort of bloke who has this level of access – and quickly learned that the proposal was largely bullshit, he promptly put the property back on the market and sold it a month later, about August last year.

So keep this timeline in mind if Mayor Mullet or any of her pack of urgers tries to tell you that the lagoon project has been delayed/abandoned because of the January flood … the lagoon was long gone from the drawing board before Jenny managed to create her own temporary lagoon and canal estates out of several usually dry suburbs.

Then There Were Nine …

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 11.09.35 pmDid you notice that Clr Murray Soars sounded a tad exasperated with the high-handed state government’s jack-booting decision to plonk a five storey up-market flop-house for young people in the middle of Aikenvale.? Soars told the Bulletin he had delivered a letter from the mayor to the member for Brisbane who lives in  Mundingburra Coralee O’Rort, objecting to the planned project. Neat move by the old Mullet, no dill she, because it makes it look like she’s championing the locals but since she doesn’t have a real say in a state matter, she chumship with Premier Alphabet will not be dented.

A sorry Soars told the Astonisher: “We [on Thursday] presented [Mundingburra MP] Coralee O’Rourke with a letter signed by the Mayor objecting to this structure in its format that they’re suggesting,” he said.

“Essentially no councillor was advised of this program.

“We are a toothless tiger unfortunately, it’s just the way the Act is written.”

Not that Maurie gives much of a toss anyway, word is that he will bail before March next year, having done his bit as a desperate lasted minute inclusion drafted onto Team Mullet, when Jenny has been rebuffed by a number of other choices asked to plug the vacant team spot.

But when you resign Maury, whatever you do, don’t shed any tears, otherwise you will forever be get the nickname ‘Weeping’ – which would be most unfortunate, Mr Soars, if you get my drift.

Communication Breakdown: A Conversation With The Council

Regular Nest correspondent The Wulguru Wonder was indeed left wondering during the week, after trying to tease out an answer to the simplest of questions from the TCC’s open and transparent media people. The WW was a bit confused by this TCC media release during the week. 

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill has welcomed the announcement of $1.96 million in Federal funding for the Castle Hill Concept Plan as part of Townsville 2020 vision for our city. “I’d like to thank the Federal Government for their funding commitment for the Castle Hill Concept Plan,” Cr Hill said.

The Castle Hill Concept Plan includes a vivid-style light show installation, a café at the summit, a zipline and a pedestrian connection to Walker Street.

“The Castle Hill project is a key part of the Townsville 2020 Master Plan and vision for our city,” Cr Hill said.

The Wulguru Wonder thought this a bit ambiguous; was the money was for the concept plan, or for the actual elements mentioned in the plan (ziplines, food trucks, a footpath to the top from CBD). He decided to make a polite inquiry of the council, and enjoyed this chat for his trouble.

TCC reply 1Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 2.29.22 pm TCC reply 2Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 2.31.09 pm TCC reply 3Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 2.32.48 pm TCC reply 4 TCC reply 5Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 2.33.43 pm TCC reply  6 TCC reply 7

 laurel a

If you think the Townsville Council sometimes acts like the Mafia, there is one big difference … the council makes you an offer you can’t understand.

Speaking Of Which ..

A most enlightening comment sent in today from Mark Harvey, a former pooh-bah in the council’s water area. Mark wrote:

The Water Supply (S&R) Act is the head of power for TCC to apply a water restriction. S41 details that the only time a restriction can be applied is: Urgent need (ie something broke); if the available water supply has fallen to such a level that unrestricted use is not in the best public interest (40% in RRD in the current policy); or if the restriction is an essential part of a comprehensive demand management strategy. This is why the 2015 restriction policy did away with the old permanent Level 1 restriction – it was illegal. The intention at the time was that when restrictions were lifted we would go to Permanent Water Saving Measures – simple non-mandatory ways of saving water: do not water during the heat of the day and you do not need to water more than 3 times per week. Following odds and evens is sensible – if everyone waters on the same day you get a drop in water pressure, and it gives the system operators a low demand Monday during which major works are conducted.

So now the dam is full and we have Water Conservation Measures – which according to the Council resolution are interim until the 3 point plan is implemented. Apparently good practice has an end date! The resolution makes no reference to restrictions at all. The summary does however state that the measures “allow” watering over 3 days on odds and evens. It is reasonable to assume that they do not allow watering at other times, and therefore constitute a restriction. This is also supported by the language in the promotional material, which would lead the average resident to believe that these are in fact a restriction.

By the wording of the resolution, I do not believe that this was intended to be a legitimate restriction under the Act. I am sure it could be legally argued however that the language makes it a restriction even if it is not badged as one, and it could therefore be alleged that it is an illegal restriction.

Any legal opinion out there?

Miracles Yet Remain To Cease

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 11.44.44 pm

Craig Gore has returned to face trial on multiple fraud charges. Many folk, including The Magpie, were skeptical when last December Gore was refused to allow to leave the country one day and the next, had his passport returned by the very same judge, allowing him to skedaddle forthwith to the bosom of his tax-evading missus in Sweden. The deal was that he return after three months to face trial on charges of swindling $800,000 from self-managed fund investors in 2013-14. We all thought that was going to be the start of Skase Redux, with the taxpayer facing a hefty legal bill for extradition proceedings.

But no, our man hopped off his return flight as scheduled, and he appeared in court on time last Wednesday., where the judge set a trial date of September 23, with a pre-trial hearing on May 24.

But in the past, Gore has proven to be smarter than the average outhouse rodent, and may have productively used his time in Sweden to work out a family move to a non-extradition country … and then wheedle his way into another conjugal visit before the trial starts. Gore is a grub of such ego that jail time certainly does not suit his lifestyle, and he certainly has plenty stashed away.

Hence the cynicism.

A Note On Climate Change

The debate on climate change goes on, and gets more confusing every day.

Global Warming ship

Taken 2 months ago in the US.


Vax-uous Thinking

There is a big court case involving anti-vaccination nutters in NSW coming up shortly. These thoughtless anti-social twerps need to be sorted out before there is a really serious incident, especially among very young children.

Anti vax Anti vax 2

This Week In Trumpistan

And many an editorial pen is noticing the number of Democrats coming out of the woodwork, eager to get the presidential nomination to take on Trump. (The ‘Pie’s money, purely from a betting standpoint, is Elizabeth ‘Pochahontas’ Warren). And much is made of one who won’t be running.

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Even A Stopped Clock Is Right Twice A Day.

Katie Hopkins maxresdefault

In Britain, this rather horsey looking individual is a rather unpleasant woman named Katie Hopkins has been the Pommy right’s gift to the leftish outrage industry. a darling of the tabloids, she outlandishes Pauline Hanson, that Burston bloke and the ninny Fraser Anning rolled into one. But, as occasionally happens, this sort of person makes a point with which it is hard to disagree. And thus it was a homily applicable to Australia when Ms Hopkins sent a message to the stupid British teenager who ran off to join ISIS, got pregnant and now wanted to return ‘home’ to have her baby and live a quiet life … not as quiet an existence as many of those she was complicit in killing. Unfortunately, the baby died shortly after birth this weekend, but the girl still wants to be allowed to go back to Britain, which may prove an impossible, and unmerited change of heart … Hopkin’s blunt message, dripping with understandable venom, rings true for those Aussie mental deficients to traipsed off to fight for ISIS.

We Learn Something New Every Day

… and sometimes wish we didn’t. An occasional miscellany.

‘The band Steely Dan was named after ‘Steely Dan 111 from Yokohama’, an over-sized, steam-powered, strap-on dildo mentioned in the William S. Burroughs novel Naked Lunch. But of course, you knew that.


As you can see, everything from weak jokes to serious and worthwhile comment keep coming in to be published in the blog comments throughout the week … it’s your platform, join in. And as always, a donation to support the Magpie’s Nest is always appreciated and always needed. The how to donate 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. Linda Ashton says:

    Re the anti vaxer species …. there’s a thread in the Bulletin online atm. I tagged you Pie. It’s astounding that these people can only think in terms of, “Well I’m not vaccinated and I haven’t died from those diseases.” I seriously thought by 2019 this scientifically vacuous lot had evolved somewhat from OCD reiteration of mass mercury poisoning and instant autism. None of the naysayers will answer basic questions like “If your child stepped on a rusty nail would you agree to them receiving a tetanus injection?”
    “If your child is bitten by a venomous snake … will you allow an antivenin?” “Will you allow your teenage daughter to have the free vaccine to prevent cervical cancer?” Prof. Ian Frazer isn’t held in particularly high esteem by the ring leaders in this contagious cult.

    If it wasn’t so serious it would be hilarious.

  2. Steve, Belgian Gardens says:

    The Aitkenvale residents protesting the youth foyer are on record as saying that their only issue is the height of the building. In that case, no future development in the area can make full use of the 5-storey zoning which has been in place since 2014. You can’t expect to keep a backstreet lifestyle in the block immediately adjacent to one of Townsville’s biggest and busiest shopping centres.

    • The Magpie says:

      Why not?

      • The Magpie says:

        And BTW, they also objected to the number of people being housed there, making a concentration of people that could be ripe by certain groups to exploit share imagined grievances of an anti-social nature.

        • Concerned says:

          As a comment I read the other day, why not build it next door to the youth detention centre.
          Thay way limited adjoining property values would be affected.

    • NQBing4814 says:

      So let them build it next door to you Steve.

      • Steve, Belgian Gardens says:

        I’d be ok with having it next door if I’d lived for half a decade in an area zoned for five storeys.

        Unfortunately, I don’t live in the block next to a giant shopping centre with all its amenities built at the intersection of two of the city’s major thoroughfares serviced by a major bus interchange.

        The proposed location is ideal for its purpose: giving a hand to young people who’ve made a commitment to improving themselves despite disadvantage.

        Adding a tiny bit of urban density to the vicinity of Stockland will benefit the city, and will probably barely impact property values, if they aren’t increased by the upzoning

        • The (Mostly) Civil Engineer says:

          Steve, I’m sure the good people of Aitkenvale would be happy to take you up on your offer of having something like this next door. You might cast your mind back to “Imm-Morrill Court” in Belgian Gardens which had a similar density and style; a development residents of your suburb demanded be demolished as inappropriate.

          As I understand it (and I am by no means an expert on planning or the Townsville City Plan) the proposed development is compliant in one respect with the City Plan in that 5 stories are allowed.

          However, it fails the planning regulation in that it (in simple language) takes up too much of the block with building and fails to provide green space, fails to provide adequate on-site parking for the number of occupants, the setback angles (amount of overshadowing of neighbouring properties) are too high, along with technical items including wastewater capacity and potentially water pressure/capacity.

          None of this takes into account the neighbourhood’s seeming legitimate concerns about plummeting property values, safety, and lack of consultation (certainly any project with which I have been associated would not be allowed to proceed without extensive consultation prior to decisions being made).

          There was an interesting comment in the Astonisher from someone comparing the distance to the bus interchange with the distance to the Aitkenvale Special School site. While I haven’t checked the writer’s figures, it did raise the interesting question about why QG is using our money to buy more land when it seems to have large existing stocks of property in the area. Surely they are not land banking ahead of a major asset sell-off in the future?

  3. Dena@Wulguru says:

    Thank you for your brilliant column each week. I raise a question regards the ‘facility’ proposed for Elizabeth St. for recalcitrant juveniles, and also another facility to be developed for Indigenous people requiring intervention. Why are these facilities being placed in the middle of suburbia when there is a huge unused block of land between Ross Rv. Rd and Charles St, Cranbrook. My belief is this area used to be for Indigenous people in transit between who knows where, but those days are long gone. I’ve been told the land is for the exclusive use of Indigenous peoples, so why aren’t facilities for people of this background requiring intervention being developed on this land. It has sat there since the 70’s unused. Perhaps your wide circle of helpers could shed some light on this.

    • The Magpie says:

      The answer to your first question is just two words – ‘social engineering’ – the extreme left’s use of power to override the rights of law abiding citizens on the theory, completely discredited through empirical experience, that putting bad, maladjusted people – particularly parentally neglected youth – in the midst of mainstream law abiders will influence their behaviour. Experiments like this, devised and implemented by people who would scream blue murder if it came anywhere near disturbing their cosseted academically arrogant fairytale lives, have proven to be disastrous … for instance, just ask the folk down in Bishop Street in Belgian Gardens, who put up with the sheer hell of the totally dysfunctional, lawless denizens of a half-way house … eventually, even that got too bad to ignore and was closed down.

      Governments forcing law abiding citizens to sacrifice peace of mind and financial well being to be a tool of a nanny state that caused the problem in the first place is one of the great obscenities of our society.

    • NQBing4814 says:

      These should be built next door to the three sitting State Members of the Great Southeast Kingdom Comrade Government. And on the other side a youth bail house

    • Plannit Townsville says:

      The area between Ross River Road and Charles st is indigenous owned and managed.

      I believe the developments currently proposed are for rehab. Townsville is desperately is need of these facilities as we have an epidemic. Can’t say I’d want them next to me either. But don’t really know where they should be located.

      • The (Mostly) Civil Engineer says:

        Plannit – would you have an opinion on the suitability of the QG-owned previous Aitkenvale Special School site?

        To my non-technical eye it seems to make sense – as close to community facilities (although further from the local tavern), park and pool next door, bus stop outside, large treed area, presumably already served with significant wastewater and potable supplies?

        • Westie says:

          I am not sure what advantage this site has over the Aitkenvale site. If you asked the residents of the thousand houses in Kirwan and Cranbrook within a few hundred meters, are you not concerned that they might say “NIMBY”.

          • The (Mostly) Civil Engineer says:

            Easy answer Westie – the Special School site has no near neighbours, backs onto a park for unlimited space, and fronts two main roads with their attendant transport links and parking options as well as being a similar distance to the Stockland hub (which was supposedly a defining characteristic of the first site).

            It is/was also already in the QG housing portfolio so no land cost would have been required.

    • NQGal says:

      In answer to the second part of the question, the title for the land was given to one tribal organisation and they will not allow development by any other tribal organisations.

      • Al says:

        As I understand what Pie says about some “racial prejudices”

        • Smarter than three rooms full of Wombats says:

          I was lead to believe that there were some complex trust issues (as in a legal trust entity, not the cheque-is-in-the-mail type) over use and/or ownership. Apparently no-one has the inclination or dollars necessary to untangle the legal threads.

  4. Dave of Kelso says:

    Dear ‘Pie,
    I take it that you are receiving a commission for the sales of Mr Burroughs’ book, which we are all about to purchase. Is it available on Kindle?

  5. Crankie Frankie J says:

    Townsville airport upgrade has to be a joke plus a complete waste of money, Townsville Airport lost all commercial international flights in the last 12 months, Tigerair no longer operate out of Townsville, Air Niugini in 2018 has ceased every direct flight from Townsville to Port Moresby, Tigerair no longer operate out of Townsville and now we have Jetstar stopping return flights to Bali in March, will this mean we now THEY will be paying us $5 everytime we arrive or depart seeing Gill & Co. got the loan?

    • The Magpie says:

      Oh dear, now you’re on Mr Gill’s toxic, city-damaging list, too.

    • Bentley says:

      OK, now lets see if I’ve got this right:
      1. QAL is to be awarded a low interest loan of our (taxpayers) money. Nice of
      2. QAL will put some of this money toward an upgrade of THEIR asset.
      3. Qantas, Virgin, etc. will be charged a premium for the use of the upgraded
      4. Qantas, Virgin, etc. will increase their airfares to cover their increased costs.
      5. In essence we will pay more for the privilege of lending a commercial
      enterprise our money.
      I wonder how much better off we might have been had we just coughed up the $3 surcharge. Naughty Qantas.

      Silly me, I was hoping the cheap money offered under the NA—-, whatever the acronym is, would be put toward power or water or a new industry to improve the bottom line.

  6. Cantankerous but happy says:

    In regards to Mark Harvey’s letter Pie, anyone from the legal fraternity wanting to delve into the murky legislation of water supply should probably consider taking a long run up and a giant leap head first into a brick wall, as it would be somewhat less painful.
    Water supply in this country has always been annexed from the consideration of most normal legislation, mainly because it was traditionally administered by local govt and the variances each one applied to their local supply. Even the right of an individual premise to remove themselves from the reticulated supply and subsequent charges is treated differently when it comes to the supply of water, as opposed to electricity for example where even though the infrastructure for the network runs past your door, you are not required by legislation to pay for that supply if you don’t want to, and can go off grid, that option is not available in regards to water supply, it was even exempt from competition policy when every other industry had to adapt to legislation changes 20 odd years ago.
    In over 30 years of involvement in the water industry I have heard of very few cases where someone has challenged legislation in regards to supply and charges of domestic water, I would presume mainly on advice that the various exemptions given to water over the years would make it hard to build a case.

    • The Magpie says:

      You’re probably right Cankers, but Mr Harvey seemed to be talking about restrictions, not refusal of service … and surely restrictions by local government can be challenged and argued?

    • Willy wonka says:

      I’m intrigued by the part you said about local government being the administrator of water. Please tell me if that means the same with the dam levels? Is this why it’s being spoken about the mayor intructing not opening up the gates earlier. Obviously that’s rumored and not proven yet without the so called enquiry that still hasn’t happened. But then we have state government telling us council own but mullet saying sun water owning it, (state government run department). I’m confused that’s all, if they can put restrictions on the water supply but were not in charge of letting water out in a major weather event to prevent flooding it dosnt add up to me. Mark hearvy letter very informative shame not still in council.

      • The Magpie says:

        The pivotal matter here for any inquiry is not only who made the call about the opening or otherwise of the gates and the crucial timing, but what went on in the Disaster Centre during that period. There is absolutely no reason why records of those meetings should remain secret … in fact, there is every argument in the world that they should not be withheld from the public … especially those whose homes were deliberately flooded ‘for the greater good’.

      • The Judge says:

        Mark Harvey is a very smart and dedicated man. I had the pleasure of working in the same department as he did some years ago at Townsville Water.

  7. Mike Shearer says:

    Thank you Wulguru Wonder for the Castle Hill proposal chat. Prompted by it I visited http://www.townsville.gov.au/2020/projects and immersed myself in the proposed projects reports, and highly recommend the exercise. Of most interest to me are the stadium precinct and Dean Park carpark concept proposals. The only mentions of car parking facilities – and there are a few – are that, well, there won’t be many. The plan for the stadium area includes the training field, and between it and the stadium are enough car spaces for perhaps half of the staff needed to run the precinct. Dean Park is proposed to be turned into a 1000-seat concert hall with an adjacent 4-level car park, not enough for the 1000 concert goers; and other buildings There’s no mention of under- or over-passes on Saunders or Rooney Street. But it is pointed out that the whole of the two precincts are within flood zones.

    As for the lagoon proposal, there are no links any more from it to any project webpages. But it’s still listed as a 2020 project.

    • The Magpie says:


      A new Magpie award, the Codswallop Cup – rather self-explanatory – goes to Cowboys coach and Lozza Lancini chum Paul Green. He gets the award for his little dabble in what we know as the the Fallacy of Transferred Authority(FOTA) … in this case, transferred self-interested authority. He has more or less indicated that $50million MORE of public money is needed for a training field and facility next to the new stadium. His call was couched in the ungrateful whinny an Oliver Twist from the Dark Side … I want more … and more … and more.

      Mr Green is a great footy coach and by all reports, a pleasant decent fellow, but his selfish call (no doubt to bum kiss Lancini) uses his position unfairly to cut across what are wider community social issues and the best use of public money. Without canvassing in detail much of what has already been said on this emerging training field issue – which very much sounds like a thought fart that is also an admission that there is no vision at all behind this whole looming stadium disaster – Green’s call makes Townsville yet again look like wheedling, whinging self-entitled beggars yet again holding out the alms bowl to the taxpayer … ‘$250m … is that it, mate? … won’t buy a decent stadium these days, guv, how about another $50million training facility to be used by only a handful of people?’

      Tell you what Greeny, how about making a bleedin’ obvious point and beg for an extra $50million TO PUT A BLOODY ROOF ON THE NEW STADIUM. If that happened, this white elephant money sink hole might just have a chance of breaking even with entertainment income, and benefit far more than just the footballing public six months of the year.

      While where here, you too, JT, so sad to see you allowing yourself to be manipulated by self-interested, narrow-focussed parties making you a sterling example of the FOTA when one of the greatest footballers ever doesn’t have the courage to independently think through the codswallop you are being fed.

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Regarding the TCC proposed 1000 seat Concert Hall. This little stand alone gem only came to being after the Townsville performing arts community (PAC) made a presentation to Council on the proposed Townsville Performing Arts Center, a facility with the concept and design to meet the needs of the PAC and there by all of Townsville and surrounds. By co-locating the venues great synergy would be achieved. Please examine the web site.


      And what was the TCC reaction to the proposal? 1. In colloquial terms, the PAC was invited to bugger off, and 2. It dawned on the Mullet and friends that there was a need to tick the box for a Concert Hall that met TCC needs, not that of the PAC. Isolated from other theater facilities, wrong location and inadequate parking and no synergy with other existing and proposed co-located facilities.

      BUT we will have an inner-city stadium in which, 11 times a year, or so, unsophisticated men can run around and bump into each other.

      The arrogance of the Mullet and friends is breathtaking!

      • The Magpie says:

        The real scandal is that there was no will, patience or negotiating skill ton get what was really needed as an economic starter … a 5000+ capacity convention hall and entertainment centre.

        This whole thing is a disgusting, narrow-focussed criminal waste.

    • Linda Ashton says:

      Parking atop Castle Hill for the zip liners will also be at a premium. Cafe as well? Again?
      Tge zipline had the Federal funding nod today. Campaign confetti $$$$ are fluttering into Herbert for all sorts of window dressing projects. The only cheque that really matters is the $225 million pledged by the PM for the extra 32km pipeline from Clare to be a concurrent build with stage 1. There’s no date set for convening the Steering Committee, the membership or brief, to oversee the $5 million Business Case. Herbert will be listening intently to the budget speech on April 2 awaiting confirmation of full pipeline funding, and to the reply. Let’s hope the momentum doesn’t stall because Ross Dam has just over a two year supply at present.

      Just a query about the role (or constitutional right) of the LNP candidate for Herbert to be “representing” the government in media coverage at these announcements. Candidacy and campaigning are fine. Claiming partial credit for and speaking about the projects isn’t taking partisan piggy backing a bit too far? Lobbying for funding is the role and responsibility of elected incumbents on the government payroll. Who’s really doing what here?

      • Old tradesman says:

        Well Linda with all due respects, the 37 vote representative has had 3 years to come up with suggestions, all she has said is “Let them Stay” and “NO” to coal mining.

        • Linda Ashton says:

          With respect I think this is irrelevant. My question is about the legitimacy of any candidate to be included and commenting, for all intents and purposes, as an elected representative. This is not about any individual or any party. Are there rules that allow-disallow this blurring of status?

          • The Magpie says:

            No … hasn’t stopped opposition member O’Toole from boasting about all she’s done for Townsville.

        • Linda Ashton says:

          Old Tradesmen and Old Bird. 37 vote win aside, Cathy O’Toole is the elected Federal MP for Herbert. A candidate is not.

      • The (Mostly) Civil Engineer says:

        Linda, noting the TCC call for contractors to attend a briefing on the HPDP pump-station and power substation. How does this gel with the Stage 2 announcement?

        When would the existing project need input to avoid spending whatever the cost of these two items be? My understanding is that neither would be required if the stage 2 option of a gravity feed from the Burdekin is adopted.

        • Linda Ashton says:

          Good question and yes a concurrent build would negate the cost of upgrades to the HBSA pump station and Haughton channel itself. The latter is costed at approx $20 million and would come out of the state grant of $225 million. SunWater would do the upgrade. Originally there were plans for solar as part of this work but we didn’t ever have 100% confirmation in mtgs with TCC. That was all before stage 2 was recommended, with funding announced in TSV Nov. 2018 by the newly sworn in PM. That really was a “water shed” day ⭐️⭐️⭐️.
          April 2nd is when we want to see the $200 million pledge made water tight.

          The latest industry forum focus on pumps doesn’t appear to gel with a concurrent stage 2 build with additional water sourced directly from the Burdekin River near Clare – not the Channel. Pumping will either be from the existing SunWater Tom Fenwick Station (WFTAG preference) or a new dedicated pump station owned, operated and maintained by council. Until the Steering Committee for the stage 2 Business Case is convened to oversee design, contracts and installation, nothing is definite. If two different companies, contractors, pipe types or other variables result, there will need to be tremendously effective, timely, transparent, continuous communication and collaboration. The only reason that pops into my head that explains the Haughton pump station upgrade, is if the stage 1 duplicate continues as a separate state project and completed as pledged by Council before March 2020.

          The WFTAG stage 2 recommended components are in our final tech report. Much of our Interim report in April 2017 was adopted in the Water Security Taskforce final Report. Since then we have made further refinements with scope for a larger 2400mm diameter pipe and some gravity feed from Clare to join up with the 1800 new duplicate.

  8. The Magpie says:

    Here’s a ‘well duh’ Magpie prediction for the hottest topic of the next 12 months:
    changes to both the manner and funding of local government elections, which appears to be a power consolidation by established political groups to infiltrate and control local government to the exclusion of all other groups through the system of voting. It is something we in Townsville cannot be indifferent to, and even Mayor Mullet was aware of the dangers of this sort of thing, with her spurious repudiation of being Labor and claiming she was an independent team (they lie so fluently, politicians, don’t they?)

    The Magpie will kick off this hornet’s nest with the following excellent summation of his own opinion of what is proposed. It comes from another site from someone named Jon:

    Party politics is the pariah of local government. Whether Mayors and councillors are elected from single or multi-electoral constituencies the method of voting should be such that it discourages the formation of politically aligned blocks. Local government elections ought not to be about nothing other than choosing the best candidates to represent and administer local community interests. The political alignment of the Brisbane City Council already works against the interests of local community interests. The political alignment of local governments is a pathway to the influencing of power and control that ultimately corrupts.

  9. Mike Douglas says:

    As we approach 6 weeks after the floods has anyone seen any $ amount from Townsville Local Recovery Chair Messagebank Walker on how much $ T.C.C. face in repairs ? . Emergency Services had detailed report on how many effected dwellings 3 weeks ago . Hearing that T.C.C. is using approved LGAQ “ local buy “ out of town contractors vs local so can any of our T.C.C. insiders shed any light? .

  10. One legged tap dancer says:

    Little Pattie down at TEL should get some pointers from Lozza Lancini on how to manipulate the major political parties at election time.
    He put JT up to his now famous (and eventually successful) demand for a new stadium at the 2015 grand final presentation, and now he’s getting both JT and Paul Green to do the same for this $50 million elitist “Centre of Excellence”.
    Noticed JT on tv news a week or so ago jogging with Bill Shorten (who incidently waddles like a pregnant duck when jogging).
    Now Green is out and about flogging the Centre of Excellence as something the community just cannot live without.
    If all goes to Lancini’s plan, Shorten will make the $50 mill an election promise and the LNP will follow suit in the mistaken belief that everyone in Townsville is a Cowboys tragic.
    For goodness sake Lozza, give the rest of the community a go for a change.
    I reckon more people would support a new entertainment and convention centre rather than a Centre of Excellence for a football team that wants state-of-the-art facilites, but doesn’t want to pay for them.
    Lancini will claim that the Cowboys stumped up $10 million towards the new stadium, but I think you’ll find that was prepaid rent.

  11. J jones says:

    Is the Magpie iconic?

  12. Concerned says:

    Hey Pie
    Regarding the use of local suppliers, or not, as per the percieved use of out of town suppliers and the use of the LGAQ Local Buy contracts with out of town suppliers.
    One of the 5 procurement principles that a local government must consider is the development of competitive local suppliers.
    So when we are using Local Buy how is this procurement principle being met.

    • Casper says:

      The stadium will most likely cost around 500 million or more once you factor in interest on the borrowed money to build it and maintenance. Those maintenance costs will rise from day one. In 20 years time we will be building another stadium to replace our clearly outdated stadium.

      Australia has entered that era of the stadium arms race with each state and city believing that building another bigger , better stadium will bring riches to their town. Even sydney mired in gigantic debt has been forced to knock down its stadiums to build more in their place. Megabucks stadiums have never broken even and contribute nothing real as such to the local economy.

      • The Magpie says:

        Damn!!! Now you tell us!!!

      • Mike Douglas says:

        Casper, Although I agree on some points re your stadium comments NSW had a $4 bil surplus last year and low debt of approx $11.2 bil driven by stamp duty and levies on real estate vs Qld $69 bil . Nsw + Victoria compete against each other on Football finals and attracting entertainment to their States = revenue .

        • Casper says:

          Then by this logic we should build another stadium in townsville as quickly as possible. More stadiums equal more revenue after all. We could i suppose build a third mega-stadium on top of the existing cowboys stadium, this will inject valuable revenue into the local economy no end. Scrap the pipelines, all we need are stadiums.

  13. Critical says:

    Elizabeth St & neighbouring residents should be alarmed and do everything possible to stop this youth facility. Qld government built a 40 unit complex for homeless Indigenous people on Bowen Rd and contracted the management to Yumba Meta. Since this opening of this facility residents of Rosslea and Mundingburra have had to put up with residents of this facility and Indigenous people who are not residents of this facility, wandering and congregating and at times defaciating in local streets, bus shelters and parklands. Many shoppers at the Rising Sun Shopping Centre feel unsafe as they are frequently approached by this group of people wanting money, cigarettes etc. and Coles staff have to withstand abuse and shoplifting. Say anything to Yumba Meta staff and you will be quickly told that they are not responsible for anyone outside the facility. Is this what Aitkenvale residents are going to face and I’m certain that Mission Australia won’t be responsible for anyone outside the proposed facility and neither the Dept. of Housing or Dept. of Communitites will do anything either.

    • The Magpie says:

      Confusing two groups there, Critical … homeless youth who are required to have jobs, with an indigenous group who don’t have much hope of getting work even if they wanted to … we have taught them to be on the public tit. It is the high concentration of one particular group in the proposed building that causes problems – gawd knows, teenagers are pains in the arse from any background, but some are equipped to grow out of it, but plonking all these young people together does not bode well for social order … and there is a word for small secular groups existing for good or nay within a larger alien group … the word is ghetto.

      • Critical says:

        Might have been a bit long winded but the point is for Aitkenvale residents to think more broadly than the height of the building etc but also of other potential impacts that this facility will have on the neighbourhood and ask how is the government going to address any negative impacts.

  14. Old tradesman says:

    Heavens above, The Astonisher is have a competition to see who has the best Mullet around town, an anybody offer any assistance on this matter of public importance?

  15. Gonzo says:

    Hi Pie, Good blog post this week, from the Iconic croc, to the Wulguru Wonder’s attempt to get some sense out of Townsville City Council, to Democrats and Trumpistan. I love the cartoon with all the Democratic candidates. Unfortunately, it’s not going to help them beat Donald in 2020. Hope all goes well with you.

  16. Castnet says:

    I see council will be recycling dead fish for compost. Can’t see how this is new or newsworthy. The city already reeks of rancid Mullet.

  17. Cantankerous but happy says:

    The latest news from the Idalia flood plains, ( aka Fairfield Waters) some are in negotiations with insurance companies to have their entire house written off and are looking for a payout, they will then demolish the house, move on and then sell the vacant block of land. This has been bought on by the realisation that reconstruction for many will be years, not months, construction costs involving insurance companies is grossly inflated, long and disjointed. Costs with housing people in accomodation is very very expensive and insurance companies are keen for a resolution and are considering all options. One family I know have already left town for good and moved south, they are confident their claim will be paid out.

    • Mike Douglas says:

      As you say Cantakerous , what options do the Idalia ( Fairfield Waters) residents have ? . They repair their houses then the banks come along and tell them their debt to ratio loan is not in the banks convenants because we have revalued your property down $150-$200k so we need you to stump up cash or equity to make the bank comfortable . How many years( if ever) will it take to get back to their original values ?. Has there been a class action started against the Council and Developer ?.

      • Grumpy says:

        The properties inundated in the ‘74 Brisbane floods returned to their pre-flood values within five years, or so I am informed. The flood mitigation work done by the BCC was used to reassure nervous buyers that it would never happen again.

        I would expect the same to happen in Idalia, the only problem being whether insurers will have a bar of it.

        • Cantankerous but happy says:

          The same thing after 2011, prices in Brisbane recovered after a few years and people always think it won’t happen again, and we are somehow smarter and will be able to lesson the impacts of these events. The big difference is the great demand for real estate in Brisbane, and the complete lack of it in Townsville, as Mike says new valuations in the short term may put many under real financial stress, a payout by an insurance company may be too good to refuse.

  18. Whovians rock! says:

    Well, well …. the things you stumble upon when you web search …

    Townsville City Council took out the top gong for project innovation at the annual Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia this week. The council received the award for Excellence in Project Innovation 2017 for its TARDIS Software (great name!) that captures data about rainfall and water levels.

    Community Health and Environment chair, Cr Ann-Maree Greaney said the software provided valuable information for council and emergency services about water levels during severe weather events. “The TARDIS software enables us to track water levels in flood-prone areas so support can be prioritised and directed to where it is needed,” Cr Greaney said. See the story here … https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2017/august/councils-innovation-wins-top-public-infrastructure-award.

    This begs the obvious question … did anyone at TCC use this software during the flood? If so, why was it awarded a gong when in practice during the floods, chaos ruled! My bet is that it was never set up properly because the original users were offloaded in the staff purge.

    Also, rudimentary web search shows it was developed in Townsville (yay!) by Reliant Systems but TARDIS is not on the web site. There is a new product – will TCC upgrade to the latest and greatest software in time for the next flood AND have someone who knows what they are doing running it?? Hmmmm I wish I had a working time machine.

    • The Magpie says:

      Insiders keep telling The ‘Pie that the overall council computer situation is a complete mess … anyone know anything more?

      • Dearie Me says:

        Ah well… it all depends on how you define a mess.
        Individually most of the systems council have are very good. IT has a tendency to purchase “best of breed” software rather than “fit for purpose” software. And despite most staff trying to implement the systems correctly, there’s more red tape than a communist Christmas party. So things get held up, hung up and tied up. And then there’s the matter of all these fancy systems talking to each other. Some bits do, and most bits don’t. Some people don’t even know some systems exist. And even when they do know.. some people with petty little agendas deliberately make it difficult for those systems to get widely used. For example the new demographic profile tool was not promoted by council and councillors were not advised because the Townsville Dashboard was being released.
        The profile is available here https://economy.id.com.au/townsville

      • cobalos says:

        well, according to moore it will be a double complete mess next year

      • Non Aligned Worker says:

        Rocky, great points that need answers. We are subjected too many times to awards for innovation that never have KPI,s. Surely there is accountability somewhere.

      • Linda Ashton says:


    • Achilles says:

      Maybe the acronym should be changed from TARDIS to reflect the system? ABACUS seems more suited.
      All Bull And Cows Useless Shit

    • The Real Philip Batty says:

      This from the council annual report 2017/18 so whatever we paid for it we seem to have overpaid by $4m if the write off is accurate. So it would seem that yes the systems may well be stuffed.

      “Council has performed a review of its primary information technology system Tech 1 and as a result is in the early stages of identifying
      another system for its replacement. While council is still receiving value from the existing system, council will not see the full life or value
      of the asset; as a result impairment is required. The cost allocated to system development has expired and the useful life of the Tech
      1 useful software has been reduced to 3 years. Accordingly a fair value impairment of $3,876,933 has been included in these financial

      • Alahazbin says:

        PHIL, We were told when Tech 1 was being phased in, we were told that the cost to ratepayer was $8 million. In the area I worked in, we found it was more for financial needs. Trying to use it as a tool for engineering was hopeless.

        • The Real Philip Batty says:


          Paid $8 mill and written off $4 mill must be one of the deals of the century only to be outdone by the $24 million write down of the TECC which apparently now has ZERO value according to the TCC annual report.

          • The Magpie says:

            The financial oversight and managemment of this council is the real scandal … the word incompetent springs to mind, and one of the main perpetrators has now swanned off, although well enough to take a role in one of the jobs for the boys and gals board.

            Like rotten mackerel by moonlight, this council both shines and stinks at the same time.

        • Dearie Me says:

          T1 is a great example of a perfectly good system implemented badly.
          If council had spent time making the system fit the organisational processes it would have worked. Instead they spent time trying to make the system replicate the previous Oracle system, which didn’t fit the organisational processes either.

          Current word is the system is not being replaced in the short term. But this could change at any moment depending on the direction of the wind.

          • Insider says:

            Today’s Cairns Post announces that the Cairns Council is spending a motza to acquire the very same Tech One system at a cost of $millions. Apparently one of the Tech One senior staff is a former Cairns Council CEO.

  19. One legged tap dancer says:

    Cracked up last night when Townsville was described on Ch 7 news as “the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef” during a story on the new ferry terminal/hotel in Ross Creek.
    Surely it is common knowledge that you can take day trips to the reef from Cairns, Airlie Beach and Mackay, but not from Townsville.
    But the real eyebrow raiser from the story was why the Federal Government gave the private companies developing the new terminal/hotel complex a grant (not a loan) of $18 million.
    Are we, the taxpayers, going to own part of this new complex. Perhaps Senator Ian Macdonald, who announced the handout, or the developer Peter Honeycombe can explain.
    One thing that wasn’t mentioned was what’s happing to the 2 boat ramps and the Coast Guard headquarters.
    My mail is that the ramps and boaties carpark will become the carpark for the new ferry terminal and hotel.
    Perhaps Mr Honeycombe can give us the full story instead of editied highlights.

    • whykickamoocow says:

      The grant will be null and void as soon as the Libs are kicked out of office in 6 weeks anyway. The land is owned by the Queensland Government, who haven’t event approved the market led proposal yet. Didn’t see any of their reps getting too excited. If there is work on that site by June, I’ll eat my shit-covered akubra.
      General rule of thumb in Townsville is – tell people the date of work to start, then add 12 months and an elbow in the ribs.

    • seagull says:

      more sweetener for the Herbert pre election pot …

    • Linda Ashton says:

      The retiring Senator might also be able to explain the insertion of an extra bureaucratic layer to infrastructure planning process. This week a new beast, the NQWIA was announced. After 4 years however, less than a quarter of the NAIF $5 billion has been allocated for key infrastructure across the two expansive northern states and a territory. Tweaking was done a year ago to make the application process easier but that’s not led to a rush of successfully funded projects. The notorious Reef Foundation $400 million grant doesn’t appear to have resulted from a formal application with feasibility study/business case at all. The Senator has always insisted this was a requirement before stage 2 funding for the Haughton pipeline would be considered. Lucky for Herbert and Dawson he was wrong.

      We’ve not had much success finding out the reason for or function of this new NQWIA – North Qld Water Infrastructure Agency. It’s not a funding body or loan facility. It’s not a project managing body. NWIDF is the grant body. The HG-SMEC-TEL study and Big Rocks Weir funding went ahead without an NQWIA. So did the stage 2 Haughton pipeline grant for up to $200 million. With no clarification forthcoming, it was suggested we ask the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development. Things are pretty hectic there atm, warding off an untimely bout of rejoycing. Perhaps NQWIA has been established to double as the stage 2 Business Case Steering Committee? Things might all be radically adjusted after May. Gotta love long term planning and policy for critical infrastructure – independent of election timeframes or partisan agendas.

  20. The Magpie says:

    Pell gets six years.

    • The Magpie says:

      Jesus sends a message to sentencing judge Peter Kidd.

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        Peter Kidd’s sentencing remarks were detailed and exhaustive. I wonder on what grounds the appeal will be based. Now waiting for the appeal to be rejected.

        • The Magpie says:

          Now that the egotistical Pell mouthpiece Robert Richter has had a massive attack of the sulks and withdrawn from the appeals process, it is possible that there will not be an appeal … frankly Pell may be advised to cop it sweet, it was much less than he could have expected.

          Richter, who was forced to apologise for his statement that ‘This is no more than a plain, vanilla sexual penetration case where a child is not volunteering or actively participating,’ has justly suffered a fall from grace himself, not the least within the staunchly disapproving Jewish community of Melbourne.

          Perhaps vanilla-fancier Richter should be introduced to Steely Dan.

          • Dave of Kelso says:

            Can you imagine the brew-ha-ha if Pell had been elected Pope the last time around? Australia jails the Pope. Regardless Pell was No.3 in the Vatican, and No.3 is pretty close to No.1.

          • Grumpy says:

            Whilst I have nothing but contempt for that foppish, arrogant, arsehole of a popinjay Richter, it is not unusual to brief a different silk for the appeal from the one briefed in the original trial.

          • The Magpie says:

            That came as an afterthought announcement, when he initially said he wanted out of any appeal because he was so pissed off with the verdict b(not his words, but that’s what it meant), then he weasled his way out of a look of cowardice by pointing bout you truism of the courts. Simply but, he’s a sore loser, as a lot barristers are, but most of them keep it to themselves and the private circle. As you know.

          • Linda Ashton says:

            Re the Richter Scale where vanilla flavour sexual abuse registers as only a minor knee trembler apparently – the sleeve is still part of the appeals team. The top dog defence Walker has an interesting rap sheet and in the top 5 for defence silks.

            BRET WALKER SC

            – Walker defended tobacco industry representatives in challenging the Australian Government’s proposal to regulate plain packaging for cigarettes.

            – Walker defended “jailed for life” prisoners in a bid to have their sentences reviewed.

            – Walker defended Archbishop Philip Wilson who was convicted for concealing reports of paedophile priests.

            – Walker SC represented Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash during the seven citizenship hearings, when each argued under oath, they were not dual citizens.

            – Walker objected to a proposed change of law to allow a Minister for Immigration to cancel Australian citizenship without a trial, for persons known to support terrorism.

            – As Commissioner for the MDRB Inquiry, Walker refused the South Australian Attorney General’s demand for past and present Federal staff to be summonsed and questioned, before compiling his report. ($10,000 per day fee).

            – Walker defended Cronulla Sharks player Greg Bird who allegedly glassed his girlfriend in the face.

            He didn’t win them all but taking on Pell’s appeal seems to fit the mould.

          • Grumpy says:

            Christ, Linda – you judge a lawyer on the basis of who he has represented? Have you never heard of the Cab Rank Rule?

            And who the fuck are you to say who is or who is not entitled to a legal representation?

            Pie, what was that you were saying about transferred authority?

        • Achilles says:

          Can`t wait for the response from the big house in Vatican City. I wonder how many priest, bishops et el confessed to this arse hole, who of course kept in all hushed up? Just a few hail Mary`s, kiss my arse and move on.

  21. The Wulguru Wonder says:

    If you’re putting on the beers you can count me in for the brew-ha-ha, Dave of Kelso.

    Going on the following definition from Urban Dictionary I reckon the Pie and a few other regular contributors would be there too!


    It all starts off with a long period of drinking between a decent sized group of male friends; usually during sunny weather. Due to drunkenness heat and vast amounts of consumed brews, behaviours eventually tend to intensify to the point where a brawl occurs. In the morning when the gentlemen awaken from their slumbers they notice their wounds and sunburns and say HAHA.
    Male Friend 1: “(yawn) ahhh boys I got a wicked sunburn and a black eye.”
    Male Friend 2: “We did have a few brews last night, bud.”
    Male Friend 1: “Haha.”
    Male Friend 2: “Haha.”
    Male Friend 1: “A real Brewhaha.”

    • Dave of Kelso says:


      Thank-you for the history of BHH. I thought a BHH was somewhat more serious than a Curfuffel. I have learned something today.

      Bit concerned that your example had only blokes.

      In my youth enjoyed similar types of parties with blokes and sheilers. Result, happly married for 40 something years.

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        As parents it is the sort of thing your children have to find themselves. Hmmmm…….. As we did.

        As they are, we must have been a bit of a worry to our parents.

  22. seagull says:

    TSV in the world news again !!

    A British cyclist who had his bike stolen in North Queensland has claimed the title of the youngest person to cycle around the world solo.

    Charlie Condell’s world record attempt veered off track in October when his bike, affectionately known as Colin, was taken from a Townsville backpackers’ hostel.

    Key points:
    •Charlie Condell has become the youngest person to cycle solo around the world at the age of 18
    •He cycled 30,000-km in 248 days
    •He traversed 20 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia
    •His bike was stolen from a Townsville hostel in October 2018

    you just can’t buy this sort of publicity … sigh

  23. Pat Coleman says:

    All you need to know in relation to the ferry terminal , hotel and the heist if $15 mil lies in the fact that developer donation s have been illegal in their own right since Oct 2018 and backdated also to 2017.

    Go to https://disclosures.ecq.qld.gov.au/Map and type in honeycomb

    Click on Crissafulli’s 2012 return and there too you will see its a family affair with the same addresses https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/2299/Crisafulli,-David.pdf

    This process is no different to the reef foundation grant of half a billion.

  24. Lady Byron says:

    Head into participating McDonald’s stores in North Queensland until Sunday 17 March to get your bonus Cowboys Bulletin Collector’s Edition when you spend $10 or more in store. There are 4 editions to collect plus great prizes up for grab including discounts in store and the chance to win a Cowboys corporate box for you and nine mates!

    This was on my FB feed with a pic of the Cowboys; The Bully tin must be getting desperate!

  25. seagull says:

    you gotta hand it to “the astonisher” … all the news all the time

    “Red Rooster’s shock new menu shake-up”

    & it’s even behind the pay wall ! … what a crack up

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Indeed, yet the Qld Law Society advise Townsville doesn’t have a permanent Federal Circuit Court judge at the moment, something I would imagine the community should know about, particularly in the lead up to a federal election, but I have seen nothing in the Astonisher .

    • Doxie says:

      Abso-bloody-lutely un-bloody-believable!!! So now Red Rooster’s menu is (almost headline) news – and behind a paywall already! How far have we sunk?

  26. The Magpie says:

    The Magpie is greatly flattered to known that regular readers Clr Paul ‘The Angry Ant’ Jacob, Mayor Mullet and Brisbane MP in Townsville Scott Stewart are not only avid regular readers of The Magpie, but also see the wisdom of some of his guidance given in the blog … although it must be said that it sometime takes a while for the penny to drop.

    Take this from today’s Astonisher for instance:

    Now it is usually the Astonisher that is a day late and dollar short, but the paper is now joined by the above-mentioned gaggle of trough snufflers in being late on the scene.

    You see, The Magpie has long publicly advocated this and has written about this common sense and bleedin’ obvious all round winner on several occasions … even as far back as a decade ago in the newspaper, the logic of which is unassailable. (Kid Crisafulli privately disagreed with the idea, apparently on the grounds of some politically unpalatable complication – tut tut, not good coming from a future premier).

    The latest mention, which no doubt prompted this outburst of collective creative thinking (ha!) was in The Magpie’s Nest of September 30 last year, when The Magpie wrote about the problems with the problems of trams for Townsville:

    Quote:””But talk is cheap … so rather than just sit in lofty judgement from the top branch, The ‘Pie will give a short and sharp example of the more beneficial way to assist our city in the here and now, rather than maybe-could-perhaps land so beloved of our mayor and her paper.
    It’s simple really … reinstate the rail motors that radiated out of from Townsville a couple of decades ago.
    Then ...

    … and possibly now?
    The environmental aspect alone should persuade the necessary dollars from state and the feds. Commuter stations all along the North Shore to Rollingstone and beyond, Ayr, and Charters Towers, would be an immediate and permanent boost to the flagging fortunes of local business. If we create a commuter culture, promising more affordable housing outside the urban footprint, and take literally thousands of cars off the roads each week, crikey, even the Greens might get aboard – with the developers. “” Unquote
    Now can you hear an echo of that in this from Jacob: “(Jacob) said rail services would ease the burden on the road network and on existing public transport coming into the city for major events. Cr Jacob said there was also potential for rail services using existing track to develop areas south of the city including Fairfield Waters, Wulguru, Elliot Springs and Alligator Creek.”

    We now await the announcement of a grant to TEL for a feasibility study.

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Dear ‘Pie,
      You may remember towards the end of 2013 the TCC held an exercise in industrial democracy asking residents for input to the new city play. Following on from your mention of light rail here is my submission. It was an exercise akin to farting in the thunder.

      Draft City Plan Submission

      Public Transportation Corridors

      Planning now has to lay the future foot print of the city. Higher population density areas are being considered. In concert with this high density areas consideration to the future public transportation system must also be made. Such a system must link high density residential areas, Productive precincts, and Medical precincts. It should also link outer suburban trunk routs to the above.

      Townsville currently does not have a public transport culture. This City Plan is about the future, but it is also about the present. In considering Public Transportation Corridors, Townsville with a future population of 300,000 has to be envisaged.

      The most efficient city public transportation system is light rail (trams) with discrete corridors separate from the road system. (Mixing trams and cars clogs both systems.)

      Experience in other cities where future transportation needs have not been considered has resulted in land resumptions, Brisbane for example. Resumptions are politically controversial, expensive and most painful for those loosing their land and best avoided where possible.

      I submit that future public transportation corridors by identified and set aside now, so that they are freely available in the future when needed, without the need for resumptions. Their presence will be a development driver as future residents will want to be close to such corridors in the Townsville of the future (pop 300.000).

      Land resumptions will be limited to land that is already occupied and can be identified as such now in the City Plan. This will give current occupants of such land many years warning that the land will eventually be resumed minimising difficulty in the future. It will also give current owners options as to having the land resumed sooner that later. It will also stop the land from being sold under false pretences.

      Until Townsville City needs a light rail public transport system these transport corridors can be used as low maintenance park land (albeit long and narrow) and bicycle paths. Using these corridors as safe bike paths in the near term will promote a positive spin-off that will please the cycling public and generate positive PR for the project and for Council from the start. With suitable design it may be possible for cyclists and trams to co-exist in the same corridor.

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Even then the Astonisher stuffed that up, according to the opinion piece online it’s a train service to link the CBD with the Townsville CBD, really?

    • Tangerine says:

      I’ve got one word for this brain-fart of an idea …. Sydney-Light-Rail-Project.

      Much, much, much, much cheaper, faster and politically easier to have a better bus network with an Uber-like user interface so people know where the buses are and where they are going. And put more on. Having said that, I’ve never used a Sunbus. Hardly ever see them. Rarely see people at bus stops except in the city centre.

      • The Magpie says:

        A classic case of ‘whataboutism’, Trump Doppler, … comparing Sydney and the tangled political web there with Townsville is idiotic, why not compare the light rail system in Melbourne (trams) or Stuttgart, Cologne, Oslo, or any other number of cities, many in Asia, where the system was well thought out to start with, and often created with bi-partisan support. Population would dictate scale.

        Look, seriously, rosy pictures can be created just as easily as weary defeatist predictions, but The Magpie’s suggestion ticks way, way more boxes than not.

        • Tangerine says:

          Pie. The stadium is a small project compared to a proposed light rail. And it’s where in its budget? 50% overrun and climbing? So much for public projects delivering value for money.
          Light rail has its place in many cities around the planet. Particularly where roads are clogged and parking impossible. Townsville doesn’t have these problems. And the one thing I’ve noticed about townsville people is that unless the station is built in their front yard (which they”ll NIMBY anyway because of noise and we all know suburban stations attract the wrong sort of person ;) ), they’ll drive to where they want to go.
          If you want the government to do something really useful for Townsville with our money you need to go after projects that enhance the industry sectors we want to have propping up the local economy for the next 20 years. Like tourism (targeted media campaigns as there is a lot of good stuff here right now!) education, tropical research (health, reef, climate change, etc). People will say we have all this now and it’s not working – but there is a very high cost to doing serious business in Townsville as it is remote and there are restrictions everywhere.
          And don’t get me started on the lack of political vision.
          Sorry about the ramble … you touched a nerve.

          • The Magpie says:

            And so have you, Carrot Top … it appears you are of the school that believes one can’t chew gum and fart at the same time (bit of cause and effect there, but that’s for another time). To compare a stadium of short sighted selfish design and dubious social value – especially when we had a perfectly good one to start with – with the wide ranging social, economic and amenity benefits of light rail (built using existing lines except for station side tracks BTW) is what we linguistic smart arses call ‘eristic’ … aimed at winning the argument but not seeking the truth. Clogged roads? Sure not our problem … yet. So what do you recommend, wait until we reach the point of Road Rage of the Day and then start thinking about enhanced public transport. And there is another of the many aspects you’ve not considered – dormitory suburbs. Cheaper land and houses, close community lifestyle and ability to keep crime rates low at places like, say, a fast motor-rail linked Mingela (don’t laugh, buddy, it’ll happen). And several other points in between. Southwards, we’ve already got Rocky cum Eliot Springs, and Giru another area for modest controlled growth – the locals might like to be left alone to go on keeping it in the family or keep the crabbing competition down, but it will be a losing battle. … once they get a MacDonald’s, they’ll be done for.

            And just because rail motors are actually a very inexpensive option, all those sectors you mention – which, yes, should be encouraged – will benefit from that over-arching scheme. And another sector you didn’t mention is the growing presence of universities and students in Townsville who would have broaden choices of accomodation. The ‘Pie could go on and on with this free feasibility study, but he fears you will stubbornly retain your ill-researched prejudices and remain, in TS Eliot’s immortal phrase, ‘wrapt in the old miasmal mist’.

      • Dave Sth says:

        I agree, Newcastle about half an hour from where I am is now having buyers remorse about Trams (Lets call a spade a spade here). I suppose you have seen the mess in George st Sydney that I saw on Australia Day and am down there next week again. It looks no different to when I was there last year but then again close by Clovers unused bike lanes are in York st which have been round a bit. I’d love to know what these people are smoking from both parties sometimes.

        • The Magpie says:

          Hey FFS fellas, get with the program, this is the sort of subversive shit we expect Mahyor Mullet and her crew.

          WE ARE TALKING ABOUT TRANSPORT WITH A PROVEN LOCAL RECORD … RAIL MOTORS, NOT TRAMS, OPERATING IN EXISTING CORRIDORS. If you’ve got an argument about rail motors let’s hear it, but an argument against trams is not an argument about the rail motor proposal here. FFS, you folks are reading about as well as an Astonisher sub-editor, if there is any such thing.

    • Linda Ashton says:

      There’s another who has bleated incessantly on every poll, have your say, tell us your ideas etc. ??? One very under-utilised rail line goes north south and west. It’s not rocket science to wonder how it might complement the already excellent public transport in the city. How’s that bus hub going btw?

    • NQ Gal says:

      Well, the minister was quick to put a kibosh on any thoughts that Townsville had about a mass transit system.

      • The Magpie says:

        This story has all the hallmarks of ‘Astonisher Syndrome’ (ASS for short). And Nest readers are drawing weird conclusions that this knocks down the arguments put forward by The ‘Pie for a motor rail commuter network. If anything, it actually strengthens the argument by not agreeing to a ‘certain to fail’ mini-experiment with rail motors.
        First the headline: What city rail plan? Is the paper referring to a fluffy bit of kite flying by a councillor trying to get back into the good books of his constituency? There never has been a ‘city rail plan’, apart from the one proposed by The Magpie, and if there ever was one predicated on the white elephant stadium, The Magpie agrees with the government … that it would be sheer foaming lunacy (which is not out of the question with the mess in George and Walker Streets). But Raggers entire article emphasises the spurious link with the stadium –
        ‘a committee planning transport for the new stadium’ … ‘Rail services to the stadium are not under consideration,’ (said Transport Minister Mark Bailey’ … and then a highly selective, generalised and self-serving argument against considering rail services as a possible project, ignoring that we are talking about ‘rail motors on existing rail lines’. Scott Stewart then came up with a line that should be engraved on his tombstone: ‘I’ll leave it up to the experts, they know what works’.

        Scott, old son, have a look around you, and don’t forget to include the stadium, the flood mitigation rules regarding Ross Dam and the Eastern Rail Corridor Development Area and tell me that line again about experts knowing what works.

        And a final note to NQGal … you see what you’ve done, by not thinking it through, you are complicit in allowing a Bulletin article confuse you with one subject (stadium transport) that does relate in any way to another (a rail motor commuter network) … there was never any mention of a ‘mass transit system’, and if you think a few rail motors plying up and down and out and back to Townsville is a ‘mass transit system’ … you need to get out a bit more.

        And here’s a rock solid prediction: the issue of the proposal (by The Magpie) of an eminently affordable, cost saving, rail motor network for Townsville’s environs isn’t dead until the Opposition says so … if they ran with the idea, properly costed and planned, it would soon be on the George Street agenda big time.

  27. Doxie says:

    For years I’ve been a member of forums/groups who have lobbied for a light rail connection back up to Ingham. We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. Now, it’s suddenly something the Council have thought up. Oh shit, this really is the pits…………..

    • Lucifer's love child says:

      Shakes money into the dustbin. The biggest proponents of public transport rarely if ever use it. So there you are walking from the station in hammering rain or full sun carrying bags etc. Personal transport outgrew public transport for very good reasons.

      Instead of building another monster ponzi scheme housing estate in the ever expanding suburbs they should redevelop existing areas much closer to the “CBD” where people are needed to galvanise the dying and empty city. We don’t have the work, money, population or intelligent expertise to implement such a plan. Lay down some land corridors and wait 50 – 100 years before sinking money into the future ( which may not happen). Pay off debt, and value add to existing areas, activities and infrastructure they already can’t get right.

      • The Magpie says:

        Oh where to start with this Labor mantra turned upside down? Oh, there, spotted it … BULLSHIT.

        • Lucifer's love child says:

          And all these people will be rushing to use the train into the city ?? The city doesnt provide jobs , high end well paying jobs are anywhere but.

          Its a nice idea but building tracks and maintaining them is expensive and need plenty of paying customers unless you figure dragging coal through the suburbs is going to be a bread winner.

          Then you have the expense associated with maintaining a train.

          IF you are thinking of a short distance train i’d suggest using a lithium battery powered single carriage train, no diesel costs or storage issues. The wheels will still need to be examined though. Trains guzzle huge volumes of diesel and are noisy. Battery driven single carriage types could be used at any time of the day without creating a noise disturbance.

          • The Magpie says:

            (Sigh) … you are determined to find reasons why this transforming outside-the-box public transport solution wouldn’t work … and fair enough, that’s what discussion and debate is about, but step back and have a calm think about this, rather than some embedded (possibly politically driven) negative parroted opposition.

            So let’s take this one by one.

            City jobs. Well, if we are to take the argument from the stadium urgers that it will rescue the CBD (it won’t but let’s just say) then using this Field of Dreams built-it-and-they-will-come philosophy, there will be jobs galore and students galore and shops galore … specialist shops catering for day travellers from Ayr, Charters Towers and Ingham. Just like it used to, when DJ’s was the CBD anchor. All equals jobs and commuters galore.

            But then there will also be rail motor stops at various points like Garbutt and the Bohle, Cluden and Stuart (for the races and Fairfield shopping precinct) and various other points.

            And Christ, does it have to be tattooed on your bloody forehead …THE TRACKS ARE ALREADY THERE, there is no suggestion of impossibly expensive and long delays about land resumption or expensive new lines being laid, except for short lay-by lines into the various stations. That is, unless proves so wildly popular that spur lines are eventually built to say JCU/Townsville Hospital. What a boon for hospital visitors and students.

            Operating and maintaining rail motors? Yeah … JOBS.

            And then feed into the equation the cost of petrol and the domestic budget calculations of rail motor versus private vehicles, the latter always under a cloud because of drink/drive laws not to mention the ever present danger of accidents, depreciation and so on.

            And yes, you’re right, we live in a rapidly evolving technical age of power, who knows, lithium batteries or even advanced solar cells, whatever. All this are the visions we need to consider, and there is no politically dodgy upside to this, all tenders and contracts transparent and no Commercial In Confidence provisions.

            With a council election little more than a year away, we need better strategic thinking, with no eye on the grandiose, just GVeorge Bernard Shaw’s inspiring and simple credo:

            “You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”

  28. One legged tap dancer says:

    I see Mayor Mullet and councilor Ann Maree Greaney have come up with a bright idea to rejuvenate the Palmer Street restaurant strip – installing some lights.
    Hope the council looks after them better than the trees they planted along Palmer Street, most of which are now dead.
    Meanwhile word on the street is that another restaurant is about to go belly up.
    Maybe after hearing about the counci’s plan the owners will postpone in anticipation of the hordes of diners who are going to flock to the restaurant strip, drawn in from the suburbs by bright lights.

    • seagull says:

      pure genius …

      hopefully they use the ones removed from flinders st east a while back after the public outcry to save us a few $ … go girls

    • Scientician79 says:

      Yeah I laughed when I saw that story, lights so you can better see all the empty restaurants.

      One side of the street is basically abandoned aside form the ice cream shop, sad state of affairs.

      No wonder they’ll need food trucks at the stadium, by the time it opens there won’t be any restaurants left in the CBD.

      I also find it hilarious that now, after the stadium is half built, the brains trust that supposedly runs this town realise they need to make plans for how people will get there. It’s almost as if access to the site should have been a consideration from the beginning, and also weren’t we getting a mud ferry and bus terminal to solve that problem?

      Agree though that the rail motor idea could really open up the town and nearby areas for development.

  29. I’ll be plucked says:

    Private Cupcake (state ‘member’ for Townsville) on local news tonight re the city stadium – nothing unusual about that, BUT what he said was most unusual!

    In summary, he said people should know that 99.9% of the workers on the project are local and from Townsville, err, don’t think so!!! Anyone agree with this??! Then he commented on wages and said it was important that workers were paid properly for their efforts………said nothing about the Union thuggery which held the job to ransom and that the state Labor govt caved in to them without a whimper, which has resulted in a massive cost overrun.

    What are we to do with this ‘politician’ who is clearly out his depth and continues to roll out rubbish on an almost daily basis………?

    • The Magpie says:

      Why doesn’t someone ask him where he got his information from? Utter codswallop!

    • Old tradesman says:

      Well IBP, the private had his privates pulled together by Mangocube Bailey, “There will be no choo choo trains for Townsville”

    • Alahazbin says:

      Plucker! Did you have a bad time at Pimlico High when he was principal? You really don’t like him do you?

      • The Magpie says:

        On that point, a close friend was a very experienced teacher there, and always said that Stewart was an excellent principal. Seems his switch to politics quickly saw the Peter Principle kick in … shame really, we need good teachers. But that’s not unusual when your in a hierarchy of Big Politics, no matter which side you’re on.

      • I’ll be plucked says:

        Hey Ala, I don’t like his ‘politics’, I have no idea what he is like with politics aside. Pie has pointed out on several occasions that he is the ‘member for Brisbane, based in Townsville’ and is doing very little for our community! He is following the ALP party line, which is getting us nowhere and his political efforts for us are virtually non-existent as he chooses the party over our needs.

        Two terms of this approach is enough – I hope he realises this and stands aside at the next election; I hope we have some candidates to choose from who will be fierce and unwavering advocates for our city!

  30. Plastic Straws says:

    I had sex in a rail motor once. Around Dalby, it was.

  31. Linda Ashton says:

    Well Pie, hasn’t Mr. Grumpy been sucking on some mouldy lemons this week? Maybe International Women’s Week has been a bit too much to handle. He sure can get a bit riled at times but the bravado is somewhat limp when hidden behind pseudonym status.

    Grumpy’s main gripes were about my listing some cases that SC Bret Walker defended.
    • “Christ, Linda – you judge a lawyer on the basis of who he has represented? Have you never heard of the Cab Rank Rule?”

    I listed cases. You appear to have joined some dots. The cab rank rule for a silk taking on cases is about as reliable as cabbies agreeing to take passengers who only need a short trip. They might agree but take the longer routes if they can. It pisses them off when you turn on google maps at the start of the trip. Can’t wait for someone to develop an equivalent app for sussing out paedophile priests.

    And Grumpy, I didn’t say Walker should or shouldn’t represent whomever. At $10,000 per day I might too. The few cases here illustrate a trend, and I thought others might be interested Seems you were.

    Your final point Grumpy …
    • “And who the fuck are you to say who is or who is not entitled to a legal representation?”

    I (expletive) didn’t but even if I (expletive) had, the last time I (expletive) checked, expressing an (expletive) opinion was ok in most (expletive) contexts – particularly in the Pie’s (expletive) blog.

  32. Frequent flyer says:

    After experiencing Linda’s venting I’ll never complain about my missus again

  33. seagull says:

    found this inspirational story on the ABC

    Artist carves out plan for big wooden bong for the town of Woodenbong

    Australia is renowned for its ‘big’ tourist attractions and an artist from northern New South Wales reckons he has come up with the most extraordinary yet — a giant wooden bong for his home town of Woodenbong

    ok … this is exactly the sort of out of the box thinking we need here in TSV to lift the local economy & really put the place on the map !

    we need something BIG, that will show the world our unique NQ,TSV identity, something that shouts this is TSV …

    we NEED a 7m high fiberglass “mullet headpiece” mounted atop our “iconic” Castle Hill (think Rio & Christ here) looking out over Maggi toward the Coral Sea … this thing is a total goer & they can put it up when the zip lines & cafes go in … it would be an absolute stunner !

    just imagine the thousands of instagramers who would flock here just to get that perfect shot, as the rising sun’s golden rays first touch our newest “icon”

    & the timing is pure serendipity , what with the feds giving us $2m for the “master plan” … it’s now up to the talented crew at Enterprise House to get this “winner” over the line … !

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie has always thought a full statue of Mayor Mullet in the Saddam Hussein style would be appropriate, and guess where the zipline could start? Although that last bit might b e damaging to the food cart’s business.

    • Alahazbin says:

      In 2013, while on a motoring trip to Vic. We stopped for lunch in Woodenbong. I asked what industry kept this town going, to be told Timber.
      As for a statue on Castle Hill. Why don’t we flog that Captain Cook statue from Cairns. We can have him pointing at Maggie Is.

  34. The Magpie says:

    For a lighter interlude, here’s a clever spoof on acronyms sent in to The Nest. It’s funny because of the acronyms and not for the supposed political message … if it upsets anyone, just delete Bill Shorten and put in Scott Morrison, although the lingering stench of sexual abuse in The Short Un’s background tends to make his choice the more apt.

    Bill Shorten announced this week, while in Queensland, a new RAPE policy should he win government.

    Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy, a future Labor Government will implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early, mandatory retirement, thus creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

    This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

    Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to the Government to be considered for the SHAFT program (Special Help After Forced Termination).

    Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (System Covering Retired-Early Workers).

    A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as the Government deems appropriate.

    Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependents & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

    Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by the Government.

    Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible. The Labor Party has always prided its self on the amount of SHIT it gives our citizens.

    Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your local Labor candidate or current MP,
    who will be trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.


    The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L.)

  35. No More Dredging says:

    ‘Pie, regarding your ‘humblebrag’ about rail motors and the possibility of some of them being used for a ‘trial’ service from (say) the northern suburbs into the CBD. Here’s a little bit of history of the Queensland-built units from the net:

    “They operated services around Brisbane as well as being allocated to Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.[2]

    Most were withdrawn in the early 1990s, with the last operating in regular service on the Corinda-Yeerongpilly line in January 2000.[3]

    Queensland Rail retains 11 units, of which three operate The Savannahlander tourist train,[4] three are operational with the QR Heritage Division (and occasionally used by Queensland Rail for track inspections) and the remainder are stored. Aurizon inherited two units from QR National which are used for track inspections. Many others are preserved.”

    As far as I can determine each train could carry 54 passengers. Some tourist buses carry more than that. So if we were to drag a handful of the old rail motors out of ‘storage’ and put them to work at peak hour and on footy nights there would have to be quite a few on the track to make an impact. Not sure how long it would take to come in from (say) Deeragun with a few stops on the way but probably at least an hour round trip. Even with ten trains running that’s only 540 people moved per hour. On the face of it that looks like a big investment for a small return but I guess it would have to be compared to the alternatives – of which there are now a few, in particular those electric tram/bus-like things that can run around on roads and streets not needing any dedicated ‘track’ – and potentially driverless. But of course we don’t have any of them garaged in ‘storage’.

    • The Magpie says:

      Oh FFS, mate, you are only talking about the idiotic stadium, game night idea … forget that, look at the bigger picture. And the passenger capacity offers great flexibility.

      And BTW an hour round trip from Deeragun? You driven into town at peak hour from there lately? Come to think of it, at anytime … half an hour one way sounds pretty attractive to The ‘Pie.

      • No More Dredging says:

        Driven in from Deeragun multiple times at all hours – always less than half an hour – but I only used the car travel time as a calculator. In fact the 40+ year old rail motors would take way longer than a car, especially if stopping a few times at stations. Anyway, pressing on with THE DISCUSSION, even if it was found that using the existing tracks north, south and west was vaguely sustainable (in a state-sponsored public transport kind of way), ancient rail motors with no spare parts and primitive 1960s technology would eventually have to be replaced with new rolling stock. And other far more important routes such as Upper Ross to CBD via Charters Towers Road – with feeders in from from Bowen Road and (say) Bayswater Road – would still need 21st century public transport. Road-based tram systems (trackless trams) would be ideal for this as they need no dedicated route and can be varied at will. Don’t know how much they cost.

        • The Magpie says:

          Again you’re locked into a mind-set that operates as a prison for positive ideas. At no stage did The ‘Pie suggest that the existing rolling stock be used, he was using the term rail motor in the generic sense, just that modern rolling stock could use existing facilities. But NOT light rail i.e trams per se. Of course that would cost money … and accustomed as Townsville people like to be of being spoon-fed by government, there is the argument to be explored about the value of such a scheme as versus the massive amounts being poured into policing of, maintenance of, and even building of bigger roads. It may well turn out that this ‘rail motor’ idea is not feasible, but The ‘Pie is yet to hear any reasoned argument against it – all he’s got so far is knee-jerk push back.

          And The Magpie is not foolish enough to think any of the existing hierarchy would give fair and balanced consideration to this proposal, but the old bird – who does sincerely believe in the value of such a scheme – has also used it to shine a light on the type of thinking across a whole range of ideas that is holding Townsville back from prosperous innovation. Not stuff from the fancy dress fringe of our shipped-in futurists, like a spaceport at Bluewater, but solid if daring ideas that can be tested in the public arena before being adopted.

          And what would that be like? Well, imagine if that process had been openly and fairly applied to a real community discussion about the relocation of the stadium … and if that had been fairly reported by an unbiased, self-interested newspaper. Instead, the bulldozer of the Gilded Few rolled right over the top of all those supposed to represent our best interests.

          • No More Dredging says:

            Sorry, but I have to say ‘for fuck’s sake’. If you are suggesting that Townsville buys brand new railway rolling stock then you are talking regular electric suburban trains. Which is fine by me – Brisbane has just taken delivery of a whole heap made in India. Unfortunately, the main population of Townsville now and for the distant future is not next to the existing rail network.

          • The Magpie says:

            It’s not for the main population, no more than a four lane highway section north of the city is. But its a vision thing, cloth-head, taking in the rapidly expanding northern beaches, and south at Eliot Springs and Giru, and even out towards Charters Towers where we are told a battery factory employing gazillions of workers will be sited at Woodstock. Inexpensive and visionary investment overall, and the rolling stock doesn’t have to be electric. Is this city going to grow through foresight, even if it has to drag Luddites like you kicking and screaming into a brighter era? You’ve got the vision of Mr Magoo, mate.

  36. Dave of Kelso says:

    Dementia rate………… er. Yes, I’ll have a cup of tea.
    Yes, about the weather.

  37. The Magpie says:

    Hey, is Jenny Hill resigning?

    She told the Astonisher today: “I’d like work to start on the Carmichael mine tomorrow, but today my focus is on ensuring our city recovers and rebuilds from the worst natural disaster in its history.”

    There are those who would suggest that she is the worst (albeit unnatural) disaster in Townsville’s history, and so is she finally going to make an honest woman of herself?

    But if she’s referring to the floods, well, her ambitions of recovery are only fair and right – the least she could do, , since it is widely believed she caused a good proportion of the disaster herself.

  38. X Waterworker says:

    Widely believed by whom, Magpie?

    The fact is that 2,000 cubic meters per seconds of water entered the dam catchment for a period of 24 hours- well beyond the dam’s capacity to mitigate flooding. In hindsight there was NO strategy that could have prevented the flooding to the levels experienced- although there was at least one strategy that could have made it worse- overtopping and dam failure, anyone. If the gates had been opened earlier, the only result would that the flood would have occurred earlier.

    If the inflow had ceased in eight hours rather than 24 (which everyone was hoping for), then the disaster would have been averted by the dam’s flood mitigation strategy. But it didn’t stop. If the dam had been bone dry at the start of the event, it would have made no difference.

    Any enquiry is highly likely to exonerate the Mayor. She did exactly what was required- nothing- and let the experts follow the Emergency Action Plan. She probably could not think of a political advantage in intervening- thank goodness- or we may have ended up with the worse outcome.

    • The Magpie says:

      The Magpie owns up ton a little bit of subbing ‘after the fact’ in this above comment and the original one to which it replied. He changed the word ‘understood’ to ‘believed’, to clarify it was a widely held belief as yet not tested. The ‘Pie like many others are yet to be convinced of your analysis XWW and the only why to ascertain the actual options and timings is through an independent inquiry examining whatever minutes were kept at the Disaster Centre … but good luck with the independent part of that, given Sunwater is a government outfit.

  39. Achilles says:

    Yet another new non event hailed as a milestone by the illiterate TB, its behind the paywall so I don’t have access to the whole article. “IMPORTANT MILESTONE REACHED IN TOWNSVILLES`s PIPELINE PROJECT” in the header, followed by:-

    “Jacking pipes under the rail line near the flinders (sic) Highway have nearly been installed”

    WTF since when has a MILESTONE become nearly installed? Its self contradictory. In project planning (Gantt Charts) Milestones are depicted as sectors or phase completed.

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