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The Magpie

Sunday, December 1st, 2019   |   204 comments

Water On The Brain – We Wait To See If The Legal Floodgates Open Here In Townsville

The class action won by ruined Brisbane flood victims against state government negligence now has eyes turning north to Townsville … different reasons, different rules, with some doubt about if there is a case to answer about the operation of the Ross Dam floodgates … but any class action may bring to light a wider historical issue which could have much greater ramifications …. and cost.

But the Bulletin has the inside running apparently, with a surprise expert no one had previously thought to ask about the Jan/Feb monsoon.

How the Queensland police and the media are helping perpetuate the scourge of drugs in Townsville, and across the state. But there is a simple way they could remedy their inadvertent support for the scumbags.

Many a businessman has been made wealthy by Townsville in the halcyon days, and some want to give back to the community for their success. Is Richard ‘Spiderman’ Ferry just such a man? Because he has  a golden opportunity to become a much honoured gift giver, and not a greedy grinch.

And in fond remembrance, we re-live the wit of one of Australia’s greatest wordsmiths, Clive James, who died during the week.

But first …

Thanksgiving And Pisstaking

The United States celebrated the traditional family get-together and bunfight holiday, Thanksgiving , during the week, an annual trial by family over roast turkey and all the trimmin’s. It’s reported that many families across the nation this year banned any political discussion, reasonably fearing for the well being of the family china and Uncle Jeb’s blood pressure. Turkey is the traditional chook on Thanksgiving Day, and one other staple of the holiday has always been a matter of drop-jaw wonder to outsiders – the Presidential public pardon of a turkey by the current resident of the White House. It’s a measure of the times that while even Americans found this a touch weird in the past, it seemed like just another day, perfectly normal in fact, when it came to the current President to perform the ceremony. Of course, there were cynics who suggested The Trumpet only pardoned the turkey after the bird had promised to dig some dirt on rival Joe Biden. Bentley, who rarely ventures overseas,  send this opinion in, with a note saying, ‘’Pie, I just couldn’t help myself.’

Turkeys rough)

Looking Back In Anger – Beyond Last February – Will That Be The Basis Of Our Flood Class Action?

The bombshell findings of the class action by Brisbane victims of the 2011 floods … particularly that authorities were negligent in releasing devastating amounts of water from the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams, causing unprecedented inundation in the city … immediately raised questions about possible culpability of authorities for the Townsville’s record flooding in January/February this year.

iTownsville floods 2magesThe sphincter pulsation was immediate in Walker Street, with an typically unknown spokesman saying that the independent review by the Inspector General of Emergency Management in July found the Ross River Dam was operated properly during the monsoon. You could just see the sweat beading on brow. Perhaps so, but a class action goes to a truly independent tribunal – the courts – with very different powers and capable of making judgement calls of its own which cannot be buffeted by possible political winds of self-interest.

And here’s the real nightmare for the Townsville City Council … a class action could go into historical territory that the independent review could not.


Bill Potts

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts must have sent chills down Walker Street spines … and a few elsewhere, like in the Mooney residence … when he said: ‘In the case of Townsville, it may well be the people whose houses were inundated, particularly where houses have been built  in areas known to flood, there may well be actions against a number of people, including the Townsville City Council, who allowed people to build there.’

This has been a ticking time bomb for years, forecast by The Magpie (pardon the humblebrag) on numerous occasions not just here but in the Bulletin more than 12 years ago. An action of this sort is sure to rope in all sorts of unwilling witnesses from developers, landowners, and real estate urgers. It would be a strange defence to argue caveat emptor  - ‘buyer beware’ – when an individual bought land and built a house where the council and the developer said it was OK to do so, with no caveats or warnings. Flood plain maps may be quoted as a suitable warning, but that would then go to the level of responsible governance if approvals were given, as they were, to build there. It would seem the ‘to hard’ basket was overflowing when it was suggested that modern high-set homes should’ve been mandatory in these areas.

A class action will decide once and for all Jenny Hill’s level of responsibility for the release of the damaging top up of floodwater (quoted at the time as ‘being for the greater good’, which would seem to hint that the alternative was a dam burst) but ultimately, that will be small beer next to the big question of the legality and responsibility of those who approved building on known flood plains in the first place. Those who were sacrificed ‘for that greater good’ deserve to not be sacrifices to the bad governance and management of the city where , to add insult to injury, they pay some of the highest rates in the state.

A class action can’t be airily dismissed by remote bureaucrats with an interest in saving their arses, it will take a senior judge to get to the truth. And there are plenty of victims in the mood to bring someone to account for their devastation.

Flat Battery?

Of course, the mayor has other things on her mind this week.


A Brickbat And A Bouquet For The Bulletin

Fair’s fair, if The ‘Pie is willing to stick in the boot to our dying paper, it’s only right that when they get things right, it’s worth a mention. So there were two excellent and clever front pages during the week, demonstrating that they do know how to do things without juvenile puns and bad grammar. Both made perfect sense , and actually indicated the content of the story, which is kinda handy if you want someone to buy the paper.

Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 11.16.27 am Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 10.29.43 am

But A Brickbat In Never Far Away

Jenna, if you ever wonder why potential readers feel cheated and give up on you, regard this.

This was your tease bit on your website, a quote that you even put in your iditorial.

floods - can of wormsScreen Shot 2019-11-30 at 10.17.52 am

Can of worms, eh? Gosh, we’re in for it, some legal brain, or water management specialist, or maybe even a bureaucrat thinks we have a facing a ’can of worms’?

Well, no … this juicy morsel to hook readers (see what The ‘Pie has done there?) came from a very unexpected source, although you have to read a bit before you get there. The ‘Pie became curious when he received this comment for the blog from a well known and experienced water manager.

Mark Harvey

11 approved

email hidden; JavaScript is required

Submitted on 2019/11/30 at 8:02 am

In their rush to get the Wivenhoe can of worms story out, the Bulletin has omitted to mention an important fact. Wivenhoe is legislated as a flood mitigation dam and therefore operates from a flood mitigation manual. The manual contains a number of strategies to deal with different flood events. The core premise of the class action was that given the information available, the operators chose the wrong strategy.

Ross Dam is not legislated as a flood mitigation dam and therefore must, by legislation, operate under an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). An EAP has a single strategy to deal with all flood events. The IGEM report noted the expectation is that the EAP will be followed other than where minor changes can be identified which are certain to result in a better outcome. They concluded that Ross Dam was operated in accordance with the EAP other than the 4 occasions where TCC directed variations from the EAP, and that those variations did result in minor improvements to the outcome. The EAP does not call for, or allow for, the use of BOM forecasts to determine the release strategy.

I would think that this would be an important distinction to report on when comparing the Wivenhoe and Ross flood events.

Good and grounded comment but The ‘Pie was now wondering who predicted a wriggly future for us.  And when he discovered the nub of the quote, boy, did he give that Mark Harvey a piece of his mind.

The Magpie

2,147 approved

Submitted on 2019/11/30 at 10:34 am | In reply to Mark Harvey.

Really Mr Harvey, who the hell do you think you are? Just because you have decades of experience in water management, you have the audacity to challenge not only The Townsville Bulletin, but the man they quoted as saying the Brisbane judgement would ‘open a can of worms for Townsville.’

Admittedly, it took quite a bit of a scroll down to get to the ‘can of worms’ bit, after the council basically said ‘nothing much to see here’ (they would) and legal experts casting doubt on a possible class action, but it’s there, chum, you can’t say you missed it. The insight came from a bloke who sells socks and undies on Charters Towers Road. From the story, quote:
Ron McGinty, of New Park Suit Hire and Menswear on Charters Towers Rd, said he thought the Brisbane decision would open a “can of worms”.
While the IGEM review found the operation of the dam in February was good, Mr McGinty said there was a lot of conjecture among his customers that the dam gates should have been opened sooner.
“This (class-action result) is going to open a can of worms, particularly here in the North,” he said. “This will certainly make this council here sit up and take notice.”
In fact, Mr Harvey, you double down on your ignorant audacity because not only do you doubt Mr McGinty’s insights, but those of his suit-renting, sox and undies buying customers, who collectively have told Mr McGinty that something .. ummm … kinda … went wrong.

By making your comment, Mr Harvey (for shame!!) you have cast unwarranted doubt that the Daily Astonisher does not live up to its boast of fearless journalism seeking out answers to the questions we want answered. It is clear they also know WHO to ask, and it’s not upstarts like you. Harumph!!!

How The Police And The Media Help Perpetuate The Drug Trade

Some News Ltd mastheads, including the Bulletin, are running a worthy and detailed campaign aimed at shedding light on the drug trade and its debilitating consequences. But have they never thought that they might be encouraging some … shall we say … less than gifted individuals – i.e. drongos -  with a wrong-headed media strategy.

It’s simple, like many of the sub-par losers who see stuff like this.

Screen Shot 2019-11-23 at 8.44.35 am Bulletin drugs

Virtually every week, there are graphic images of amounts of money that no law abiding citizen is ever likely to see in one lump, (apart from retiring bank board executives). And just to ram home the idea, we are regularly treated not only to exactly how much is in those piles of confiscated dough, but the mark-up of some drugs (one finally reaching here from the Netherlands was 10,000% … yes, that’s ten thousand percent) … and also the pointless but enticing information that the seized drugs had a worth of -usually – x millions of dollars ‘on the street’.

Now, no one begrudges the coppers from a little justified bragging about their dangerous work, and the media laps it up, good and correct information about their good detective work is always appreciated all round. BUT has it ever occurred to anyone that depiction of such amounts of money, and descriptions of the fabulous worth of drugs on the streets actually ENCOURAGES a certain element among readers and viewers, who balance up risk versus outcome and say ‘Christ, reckon I’ll have a shot at that.’ Many of these people haven’t a hope of legally getting 100th of the return that breaking the law offers in this particular field.

Would it not be better to certainly show the drugs and paraphernalia, maybe confiscated goods and car and yachts BUT NO ACTUAL MONEY. And what pray tell is the relevance of saying ‘this bust has taken tens of millions of drugs off the streets’ when there is no nor should there be , any overall comparison. This sort of boastful empty headed media campaign is without a doubt one of the greatest recruitment ads for the drug grubs higher up the ladder.

Think about it. Or don’t.

Richard Ferry’s Chance To Become A Local Hero

Last week’s piece about the plight of the Townsville Sailing Club on the Strand, which could be forced out of their beachside premises when their lease runs out, resulted in a few interesting insights being floated into the Nest.

Screen Shot 2019-11-23 at 10.04.55 pm

In a nutshell, the club land and the separate parcel which is the carpark  is owned by an overseas investor, who has done the usual trick of buying the property,  then getting approvals for whatever use might be appropriate – in this case a restaurant and some flats. The investor doesn’t want to build anything, he just wants to sell the property for a price enhanced by the approvals which remain in place. Which is all legitimate business, although it profits the city nothing when Townsville is treated like a real estate casino in this manner.

So The ‘Pie was interested to receive some background about the man behind the controlling company Toprise Australia. The bloke’s name is Ming Kong Chan, a resident of either Canada or Seattle, depending on who you believe (and for a touch of trivia, he is said to be the owner of the world’s largest private jade collection.) The name may be vaguely familiar because Mr Chan was behind the planned but abandoned Castle Chairlift proposal a few years ago.

Richard Ferry 2

Richard Ferry

His business in Townsville has long been handled by Col Harkness and Richard Ferry, who is a personal friend with whom Mr Chan often stays on visits to the ‘ville. He generally comes to Townsville to celebrate Chinese New Year and check on his (many it is said) investments, including several commercial buildings . This has led one correspondent to suggest  Mr Chan has always had the inside running on future developments likely to come before the council.

Now it seems that Richard Ferry, acting on behalf of Mr Chan, became not exactly flavour of the month with several Burdekin and Ingham cane famers a few years ago, when they were talked into selling their blocks of North Ward flats, only to see them immediately tarted up, strata titled  and sold for huge profits. The ‘Pie’s informant correctly says that there is nothing wrong or illegal in all this, but many of the farmers believed they’d had one put over on them. The Magpie has to admit feeling sorry for Burdekin cane farmers is not a position The ‘Pie has ever found himself in.

But back to the immediate matter in hand, with the Townsville Sailing Club needing to raise two and a half million dollars to retain their site. Talking to the Bulletin, Mr Ferry got a free ad for some property he’s been having trouble unloading. Here’s how the paper reported it.

“Colliers International Townsville’s Richard Ferry is a representative for the owner of the land and said the owner lived in Seattle and had been investing in Townsville since 1985.

Mr Ferry said the waterfront land was prime real estate for building developers. “We have an approval for a restaurant on that (carpark) site and Colliers is marketing it for $800,000 and we have had a couple of contracts that have gone away,” he said. “We also have a set of plans to prove that we can build townhouses on the clubhouse land.”

Mr Ferry said the sailing club had a “commercial decision” to make about purchasing the clubhouse land that would be up for a price negotiation in March or April next year.’

Interesting that line about being able to ‘prove’ that flats can be built on top of the planned restaurant. Is there some doubt of which we don’t know? The ‘Pie cannot believe that Richard Ferry has a devious bone in his body, so it’s probably an error by the paper.

But here’s the thing. Mr Ferry has become very wealthy with his commissions from acting as go-between for buyers and sellers – without actually creating or generating multiple employment opportunities outside a few agents and office staff. His personal well being has come from a generous city and generous stewardship of his many friends, and perhaps, in this matter with Mr Chan from  whom he has been collecting juicy commissions for since 1985. So one wonders if Mr Ferry might grasp the opportunity to speak with his friend Mr Chan in the spirit of the community which has so benefitted them both, and forego on this occasion, his commission, and perhaps seek Mr Chan to make a suitable reduction on the price as a gift to the city’s citizens. This would allow Townsville to retain a vital part of its rapidly vanishing charm that so delights locals and visitors alike. Mr Ferry would know unbounded honours should he humbly agree to this scheme. Indeed he may even be named number one in the Astonisher’s Most Influential list.

Final note on this possibility: pink pigs lined up at the end of the runway ready for take-off.

Vale Clive James

Clive JamesUnknown-1

Others have adequately chronicled the heady life of the wonderful Clive James. The ‘Pie’s only brief encounter with the man which he held in awe was in the urinals at a now defunct Sydney restaurant, Chez Oz. Suddenly noting the famous man standing shoulder to shoulder with me, I made some innocuous comment about guessing he was happy to be back in the land of Oz. He visibly started at being addressed in this situation by a stranger, said not a word and rushed out the loo, zipping up as he went.

But he said plenty of words elsewhere. So the best way to remember Clive James is to simply quote a small collection of his witticism and observations, beginning with the phrase that has guided this blog from the beginning.

‘Common sense and a sense of humour are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense, dancing.

‘As a work of art, it reminds me of a long conversation between two drunks.’

‘Fiction is life with the dull bits left out.’

‘Here is a book so dull that a whirling dervish could read himself to sleep with it. If you were to recite even a single page in the open air, birds would fall out of the sky and dogs drop dead.

On Barbara Cartland: ‘Twin miracles of mascara, her eyes looked like the corpses of two small crows that had crashed into a chalk cliff.

‘Never wrestle with a pig … you both get dirty and the pig loves it.

‘And of course, his most famous description of Arnold Schwarzenneger: ‘Looks like a  condom full of walnuts.’

And Our Wanker of The Week


A tad late, but the Golden Wristy this week goes to Prince Andrew for his side splitting Princesplaining why he continued his friendship with paedophile Jeffery Epstein. 

“My judgment was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable.”

Trumpsylvania: Seriously, He Is A Sad Sick Bastard

Evidence: this which he tweeted during the week without any explanation.

Trump as RockyEKZBVC5XkAAuERh

And it was subsequently confirmed it came from him, but he wasn’t the loopiest of the lot in this particular mystery. One of his sidekicks threatened to sue the Washington Post for suggesting that it was a photoshopped image of Rocky Bilbao’s body. They said he was the real thing. This really is out of control.  Plenty of other matters point to that.

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That’s our lot for this week,  suspect there’ll be a lot of water over the comment spillway during the week, join in.  And sincere thanks to those who helped the blog over a bit of a financial hump in past days, still a ways to go, so if you think this stuff is worth supporting, the 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. The Gnome from Nome says:

    Must be nearly council election time!

    Messagebank at Fairfield Waters Shopping Centre ‘meeting the constituents’

    Molachino opening an art show for Kelso art society.

    • The Rolling Eye says:

      Mullet must have unlocked the shed so the mushrooms can take a stroll.

    • Roseneath Red says:

      There’s still a bear trap pothole at the entrance to Roseneath East where bitumen was promised years ago.

      • The Magpie says:

        Pic please to email hidden; JavaScript is required

  2. Arthur Itis says:

    Clive James lost for words? That is strange, perhaps he just felt a bit inadequate in that situation.

  3. Cantankerous but happy says:

    Great point Pie about the legal process being able to examine other facets of the floods and one of the reasons I hope some proceedings do occur. The other thing it can do is compel those involved to review their procedures, take actions to mitigate future events, particularly if it finds flaws in the current procedures or defects in the dam design or articulated purpose, of which I believe there are many. It’s not a witch hunt, all of these public servants are protected anyway but their constant failings with impunity needs to be challenged and I hope it is.

  4. Mike Douglas says:

    The estimated $1 bil class action judgement ( Qld State Govt has a few months to appeal ) on 2011 Brisbane Floods has the sharks circling as insurance companies paid out a bil $ in claims and they are reviewing legal action . I believe T.C.C. should update the ratepayers 1) if they have cover what is their a limit ?, 2 ) if they are self insured what contingency plans ( if any ) are in place .

  5. A Einstein says:

    It’s not rocket science, of course the decisions around the dam floodgates and subsequent devastation can be legally challenged, as well as any TCC approvals to build on known flood plains (are there are agreed waivers in those approvals/contracts to build that would make someone else accountable/equally accountable – who knows!)

    Lawyers will have a field day! Albert E.

    • Bing4814 says:

      Did someone bugger up with the timing of the floodgate ? We’ll have to wait for the cleverer people than us to decide. I can tell everyone as a lifelong resident of Townsville growing up in garbutt and wulguru that a lot of places that went under at Mundingburra rossleigh hermit park Annandale oonnoonba and Fairfield waters I used to go fishing in those places in the 70’s with my mates for Barra during the wet season, chased out occasionally by the head stockman from the meatworks at the time who managed the land at now Fairfield waters and Annandale. Was always flood plains. Even during the night of Noah in ‘98 the front gates of Cluden were way under water. So was no surprise to me anyway. I recall writing a letter to the editor back then and stating exactly what I wrote here but can’t remember if it was published or not.

      • OW says:

        No-one buggered up the timing of the release! Someone just decided to release in the hours of darkness, hoping that nobody would notice.

  6. Bing4814 says:

    The Pie is still around and it seems so am I. A week back I was convinced I was about to check out and was ready for it. Now I still have to pay the light bill and rates after all. The health system may be flawed but the bloody doctors and nurses seem to know exactly what they are doing. Nurses are truely angels putting up with a cranky old bugger like me the last two weeks. Everyone of them deserves double the pay. Round two surgery on Tuesday now with a lot let stress.

  7. Charlie Wulguru says:

    How many units have been approved to be built on top of the Ergon Sub-station in the middle of the Sailing Club land?

  8. Hamlet says:

    twas a relief to hear that you hadn’t shufflel’d off this mortall coile,

  9. Dave of Kelso says:

    Dear Pie,
    While not a current subject I was fascinated at the coming together of Jacqui Lambie, Pauline Hanson and Labor, led by Penny Wong in the Senate. to scuttle the union busting bill.

    I have finally obtained a transcript of their meeting the day before the vote.

    Penny, ” When shall we three meet again?
    In thunder, lightening or in rain?”

    Jacqui, “When the negotiations done.
    When the Bill is lost and won.’

    Pauline, “That will be ere the set of sun.

    Penny,”Where the place?

    Jacqui, “Within the Senate.”

    Pauline, “There to deal with McScoMo!

    Penny, “I come Great Albo!

    Jacqui, ‘The bar calls.”

    Pauline, “Anon.”

    All three, “Fair is foul and foul is fair;
    Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

    And that was the end of their meeting.

    • I’ll be plucked says:

      Pluck me Kelso, what you smokin up there????

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        Gunpowder, and I have a magnificent smoking implement. See you at the SSAA range next year. You will recognise me when you see me.

    • The Magpie says:

      Classy! And very apt … as one synopsis has it, Macbeth ‘dramatises the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake’. And of course, one can just imagine Pauline and Jacqui soaking up the bard’s wisdom in their downtime.

      • I’ll be plucked says:

        Me Pie, or what he’s smoking?

      • Lord Howard Hertz says:

        Bet they both identified with Lady Macbeth’s ‘Out damned spot, out I say’ … that damn dog keeps coming into the house.

      • Guy says:

        As you might remember magpie – as ive read it, in reality king Duncan was the one in the wrong. Kings in Scotland were voted in by the clans , king Duncan decided to do the wrong thing by creating a dynasty by trying to make his son king; therefore spitting upon the existing and agreed upon status quo.

        Macbeth was due to be made king not Duncan’s son. As it was Macbeth ruled, what, for another ten years. Macbeth as a play was a political hit job.

        • The Magpie says:

          You think about these things a lot, don’t you, Guy? A helluva lot?

          • Guy says:

            Well midway , literally midway in the play we see hecate the queen if the witches chastise the witches for their involvement. The witches moved forward the timeline of fate. Perhaps Duncan had always been doomed by his arrogance to presume his son to ascend to the crown but in this perfect Elizabethan universe changing the timeline changes the assumed narrative of was meant to be. The supernatural has intervened against the natural order of things ??

          • The Magpie says:

            … and created people called Guy.

  10. Why is it so? says:

    Suburbs around lower Ross River eg Mundingburra and Rosslea always flooded every wet season in the good old days. That is why all the original houses were built on stilts. Therefore it was decided that Ross Dam was to be built to stop the frequent flooding of these suburbs and it worked well for years until our leaders decided to make Ross Dam our primary water source due to increased population. Hence building on flood plains. So when did Ross Dam stop being a flood mitigation dam. Very clever change of title.

    • The Magpie says:

      Interesting background but don’t quite follow the thread … flood mitigation then water supply, OK, but why would that allow and encourage building on flood plains … especially allowing the building low set houses?

      • Why is it so? says:

        Ross Dam was built to stop the frequent flooding of Townsville suburbs during the yearly wet seasons Townsville used to get. Any google search would give you this information. It was built for flood mitigation. The Ross Dam worked so well at flood mitigation, our ‘smart’ leaders decided to allow the building of low set houses on Ross River flood plains. Fast forward to increased population requiring more water than Paluma Dam could supply they decided to make Ross Dam our primary water source even during failed wet seasons topping it up with pumped Burdekin Dam water through an ageing small diameter pipe at great cost to rate payers. Our “clever” leaders even increased the height of the Ross Dam spill way with gates at great cost to store even more water. So now water is an expensive commodity do you really think Council wanted to release this water in a timely manner when the deluge started? Why do you think they let it fill to over 240%? Answer: cost of water. Another sin of our forefathers is they put the water pipe from Ross Dam that delivers 70% of Townsville’s water supply to the Douglas water treatment plant under Riverway Drive. It is an ageing pipe owned by TCC and will cost a fortune to fix before Harpic can fulfil his try hard want to win the 2020 election by funding the duplication of upper Riverway Drive.

    • Mark Harvey says:

      Ross Dam was built for both flood mitigation and water supply. The water supply outlet works were built into the Dam wall from day 1 (I have seen the as-constructed drawings) and the Douglas Water Treatment Plant was completed the year after the dam, with the water piped direct to the plant from the dam. The water from Douglas was augmenting that from Crystal Ck. Later stages were added to the dam to increase the water supply storage volume, allowing it to become the primary water source.

      Qld Hansard 26 Mar 1968: “At the request and expense of the Townsville City Council and with its assistance, the Irrigation and Water Supply Commission is preparing detailed designs for a dam on the Ross River just below its junction with Five Head Creek. This structure is proposed for the dual purpose of augmenting water supply to the City of Townsville and providing flood mitigation along the Ross River.”

      The fact that it is not a declared flood mitigation dam under the legislation has nothing to do with its purpose, it is about how it must be operated during a flood event – Only Somerset, Wivenhoe and North Pine are legislated flood mitigation dams.

      • The Magpie says:

        Excellent background information again, Mark. And a bit of a relief for The Magpie, since in his experience, many intelligent well informed engineering types with serious points to make are not always on the wavelength of humour – especially as a weapon. So it appears you didn’t mind the little jest in the blog regarding your solid information. Whew!!

        • Mark Harvey says:

          No problems with your jest Magpie, but I did learn a lesson – do not start reading half way through a comment! (I saw my name). I thought someone was ripping me a new one until I scrolled up and read your whole comment from the start.

          • The Magpie says:

            Always a danger … hope Richard Ferry sees your advice … heh heh heh.

          • Cantankerous but happy says:

            Where is the fun in that, nothing like going off after reading 2 lines of a long post, I do it all the time, but I still think your argument doesn’t stack up and would fail in a courtroom on one simple fact, quoting a procedural document as a defence, but then the operators admitting they ignored that document on 4 occasions, that establishes discretion, once that is established that discretion exists in the document, it can then be questioned the way in which that discretion was applied, and that is what the legal types would be trying to establish.

      • The (Mostly) Civil Engineer says:

        So Mark, help we simple folk understand this.

        Ross Dam was built (at least partially) for flood mitigation – ref your comment above.

        BUT because (ref your original comment): “Ross Dam is not legislated as a flood mitigation dam and therefore must, by legislation, operate under an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)” does that mean someone didn’t bother to enact the legislation required to allow the dam to act in its intended purpose?

        Sounds a lot like people might be washing their hands furiously to clean off indelible spots.

  11. You thought you had it bad?? says:

    Update. Payments should be made this week for outstanding bills to Brown and Hurley. Only just last week the new EBA agreement made its first payments to staff along with our bonus for back pay because the unions stuffed around for 12nths. This is another cost Sam should be looking at. Not the wages but how much has been budgeted for in wages increases. It’s wildly know that every year around 2% was set in budget for the EBA when it gets approved. That figure goes back to last council. That 2% has only been passed on twice in 8yrs. Where has the other 12% gone. I was here when Ray Burton went to the former councillors and told them that there was not enough money to pay wages the year before the last election. Money was borrowed eventually from treasury department to pay wages.

  12. Westie says:

    Houses are not guaranteed not to flood. If they were, then Townsville (nor any other coastal or riverine city) could not have been built where it is.

    The current planning scheme does not allow new buildings to be built with the liveable floor area below the Q100 level (or 1% Average Recurrence Interval level). Most houses in Townsville were built under the previous planning schemes of Townsville and Thuringowa which required floor areas to be above the Q50 level (2 % average recurrence interval levels).

    The Q100 and Q50 levels are lines drawn on a map. They represent the modelled potential flood level that would have a 1% or 2% chance of happening in any year. The model was built using the best available technology at the time but was not guaranteed to be correct. These were just lines drawn on maps in statutory plans, below which you could not legally build. If you built your house legally at the Q50 level, then you MIGHT expect that your house will flood on average every 50 years, but no-one is guaranteeing that. Since the lines were drawn, the drainage might have changed (usually for the better but not always). The weather might have changed, through climate change. Or there could have been a mistake in the model, or the data was flawed. There might be statistical aberrations that bring several flood events in successive years- then none for hundreds of years.

    The thing is, the Council’s planning scheme does not guarantee freedom from flooding. In fact if you build just at the legal height then occasional flooding is almost guaranteed. The tradeoff is you can have on average 49 flood free years, with only one with water through your house. It is a tradeoff of flooding frequency vs cost and usability of the land.

    If you want to spend more money, you are allowed to build higher and you can have less frequent water in your house, but it is up to you. There are plenty of elevated building pads around town, or houses on stilts, to lift the house out of the flooded yard.

    If you build below legal height, then your building certifier (who is supposed to certify you are building legally) will carry some liability. But it is hard to see how the Council is legally liable for anyone building on a floodplain- even when it floods.

    • George Gently says:

      Enough speculation – leave it to the lawyers – I think the Pie summed it up adequately in his weekly offering. We have to wait and see.

      Next topic please.

      • The Magpie says:

        Well, thanks for endorsement but intelligent background .. even if perhaps a bit out of line or sometimes partisan … is always welcome. It is what The Magpie’s Nest is all about.

  13. George Gently says:

    Ok Pie, you’re driving!

    • The Magpie says:

      OK, and what you said is correct anyway, no matter what is said here or elsewhere, there is only one way the matter will be settled. But the blog would be out of the business on several fronts if the old bird took that line … like no point making fun of Trump, let impeachment run its course (won ‘t succeed is The ‘Pie’s bet), or let’s not talk about Jenny, let the voters decide. She’d prefer that, that’s for sure.

  14. Croc Watch says:

    How much has council paid in payments to senior staff getting pushed out the door? I’ve heard it’s in the millions of dollars. Can anyone confirm?

  15. Mike Douglas says:

    Let’s not forget the temporary Flood Levy the Feds introduced July 2011 – 2012 . Wasn’t it 1 % for those earning over $50K ? . Clive is turning the heat up on the State Government and our 3 State MP,s with free to air TV ads yesterday asking why Townsville Port won’t give him a fair deal and doesn’t the Qld Government care about Townsville and jobs .

  16. Bing4817 says:

    You need to install a like button on the comments Pie. Starting to get real classy in here quoting the classics and all. Culture is still alive. But some young ones still won’t even know who hamlet is

    • The Magpie says:

      No but it might make them want to find out about a dude who stabs, poisons and bonks his way through life before fulfilling the teen angst dream of ‘live fast, die young and make a good looking corpse’.

      • What's that smell? says:

        Are we again talking about young and tanned Lozza L? I wondered where he got his inspiration, now we can see it is from the classics ;)

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Who? You mean what. A hamlet is a small human settlement.

  17. Fishframe says:

    Here’s an interesting email sent to State Parliament, and with implication for Townsville. I found it straight off google – https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2019/5619T163.pdf

    • The Magpie says:

      WOW!!! Just fuckin’ WOW!!! Long but riveting from a clearly well informed person. And boy, are there some prime quotes in there that The ‘Pie will cherrypick shortly.

      NB Fishframe, deleted first part of your comment because the link wouldn’t open, and the truth of that matter is somewhat secondary now (flood mitigation v water supply). She:’Come quick, Harold, water supply is coming in the front door!’ He: ‘No no you daft bint, don’t worry, that’s just flood mitigation covering the Axminister.’

    • I’ll be plucked says:

      Where’s this business-type candidate for Mayor you ‘announced’ would be nominating on here a while back???

      I’ll keep on asking until you answer Fish. Thank you.

    • Jatzcrackers says:

      Hit the nail on the head, Fishframes ! Best question… when will we see some action including criminal charges being laid against these bureaucrats in decision making positions with eye watering salary packages ? Bank Heads and one or two levels down, would be a good start ! Government appointed individuals who fail massively to the point of life/property loss plus immeasurable costs to taxpayers, should be next for the firing squad.

  18. The Magpie says:

    Request: The ‘Pie would like a private email address for a Woodstock Action Group spokesperson. Asking questions on a public forum is open to all sorts of white-anting from vested political interests.

    email hidden; JavaScript is required

  19. The (Mostly) Civil Engineer says:

    Ref Richard Ferry and Colin Harkness, Toprise, and the need to be rehabilitated.

    One interesting thing that hopefully arises out of any local flood enquiry (beyond the very focused – some might even say contrived – one already conducted) is the role of Toprise and others in changing the hydraulic characteristics of the large tracts of land they own downstream of the areas worst effected in the February monsoon.

    My list is probably not complete, but they own and developed the land on which the Puma fuel site now sits. The same site with a monster levee designed to hold water back from Stuart Creek but seems to have also held water the other way in this event.

    They also own, and from memory got pinged for illegally filling, land seaward of Abbott Street in the vicinity of Racecourse Road.

    There are a few other pockets downstream from Fairfield Lakes and the Bunnings area which probably bear some solid review of. The other “new” structures down that way which probably didn’t help too much in the floods are QRs raised Great Northern Line and Main Roads highway update through Stuart and Cluden.

    The Toprise lads lads might be well advised to try and gain some brownie points around the community before the poo starts to be propelled with even more force.

    • Jatzcrackers says:

      The digging up of the Toprise can of worms would open plenty of eyes in this city. The architects, Ferry and Co, would have almost acted as a law unto themselves able supported by Mooney when he had the top spot in TCC. Pie, your ‘eyes’ out there are probably on the money with their inside running views with Toprise. No doubt the same would apply to the Ferry led Rocky Springs project just out of town but Mooney moving out of the City Hall may have helped delay its eventual overdue launch. Nothing wrong with trying to get ahead in this world but I’ll bet there are plenty of past TCC top level employees who could spill the beans on some questionable goings on in those days. And yes, Barry Taylor was always in the mix when there was a buck in it for him as has been reported on this blog prior !

      • The Magpie says:

        Now listen sport, don’t you go upsetting Dicky Boy The Spiderman. The ‘Pie has unreliable information that when he read the suggestion of philanthropy in the blog (after looking up the meaning) Mr Ferry smacked his forehead and exclaimed ‘Now, why didn’t I think of that?” So let bygones be bygones, in the hope that the sailing club is the subject of his largesse.

        Pink pigs now trundling down the runway fro take-off.

        • Jatzcrackers says:

          Faith is a wonderful thing Pie, even if you’re a flying pig ! Don’t hold your breath re your very admiral suggestion with Ming Kong and the sailing club ! And, I have it on good authority (third hand) that the spider died !

  20. The Magpie says:

    This is the equivalent of kicking a man when he’s down. Actually, a man kicking HIMSELF when down. Sure Townsville has a juvenile crime problem, but it greatly insulting to the intelligence and to the community as a whole to publish this sort of skewed tripe.

    Just for starters, how far do you trust a news site (9MSM) that can’t even select the correct file photograph. That ain’t Townsville, fellas!

    But the real clue to the fallacy of this community bashing is this quote:
    “The city is ranked as the 60th worst location in the world for in terms of crime, according to Numbeo, the world’s largest user-contributed database which provides statistics on global cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, pollution and crime.”

    ‘User contributed’? So that’s where this damning info comes from – some citizens – no one knows how they are selected or if they just simply volunteer information out of sheer frustration – vent on the crime situation here, and sure it’s serious. But to dishonestly write in such a sensationalist and absurd manner to compare this city with Tijuana, Baghdad, Caracas and Tripoli is beneath contempt. Indeed to comparing it with any of the 59 other locations before it is journalistic clickbait of the worst sort.

    The real view should be that if you remove the kiddy car stealing and the occasional resultant mayhem, out of the equation, Townsville is no worse nor better than just about any other city in Australia. This is one slur we can’t pin on Mayor Mullet … but we can pin it on the those unthinking grandstanders broadcasting of their frustrations to a global site that has no other agenda than to sensationalise un-researched information in the pursuit of money. The lack of dignity and loyalty to your city is astounding, you dolts. Our problem, we fix it, the world isn’t going to help, just gawk.

    ‘And where’s the fucking Bulletin in repudiating this crap? You remember the Bulletin, don’t you … the paper that’s all for us.

  21. Terry Who says:

    One way of overcoming the practice of buying a property getting approvals for some development or other than on selling (with approvals) would be for the council to pass new rules that approve developments for a the current owner and that they not be allowed to be passed on.
    It would ensure that a proposal when submitted had a chance of going ahead and not sat on.

    Alternately, do as they do in Fiji, All undeveloped property in addition to all other tax & fees is taxed at 10% of it’s value until a development is started. This was brought in by their current PM for the exact situation the sailing club now finds itself in.

  22. Dutch Reverend says:

    The boofheads at 7 local news tonight ran a story on behalf of the RSPCA, in order to get the public to adopt a pet from their shelters……wait…..what shelter ?
    Cairns Yep
    Mackay Yep
    Rocky Yep
    Townsville NOPE.
    Wouldn’t it be a far more newsworthy story to report on why Townsville no longer has an RSPCA shelter?

    • The Magpie says:

      We do. It’s in Walker Street, full of unloved mutts.

    • Achilles says:

      RSPCA? Real, Supervision, Parental Care and Acceptance of parental and tribal/cultural responsibilities.

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Good point Dutch, many many people were mighty pissed off at the Mullet when she threw out the RSPCA and then lifted the euthanasia rate of the pound considerably, let’s hope they all remember that when voting in March.

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Stop your whinging. There is a cat problem here. I have a cat trap. Pussy goes to pound. Pussy no comes back. I do not give a shit who runs the place. Just happy I do not have to gas and plant the bloody things in my back garden, such as it is.

      • Non Aligned Worker says:

        Dave, I am sick of bloody felines walking over my car at night in my driveway. I have thought of putting high voltage through the body shell but that may damage the little pricks that test whether it is open every night.
        Any suggestions on pussy and vermin proofing would be appreciated. ( I also don’t want to do hard time for the solution)
        NAW Rasmussen.

        • The Magpie says:

          And any clowns thinking this is an invitation for pussy jokes and the like, don’t waste your time, they will not be published. ( The ‘Pie knows you buggers all too well.)

    • Frequent flyer says:

      Don’t expect any negative reports about our hapless mayor on Ch 7 – she spends too much of ratepayers money on advertising with them. They are an even bigger joke than the Autonisher, and that’s saying something. Would be interesting to know how much money our mayor has spent on advertising with the Astonisher and Ch 7 in the past 2 years.

    • Frequent flyer says:

      Ch 7 can’t run a story about council dumping the shelter, Jenny Hill would turn nasty and cancel all her advertising

  23. Winx Winx says:

    I was at the Woodstock “information day” on the weekend (I live in the area), and it is shaping up to be a proper clanger for Jenny.
    Walker refuses to front up, or even talk to anybody about it. Phone calls and emails are all met with the stone wall treatment. Jenny got collared by the leader of the push and agreed to “do something about it” when the complainant said it was ridiculous they couldn’t even get their divisional representative to talk to them.
    Turns out the State government may have erred by not consulting with all departments – the Dept of Education is steaming because it’s 1200m from a State primary school, and nobody has done any groundwater testing or hydrological report. One of the TCC-commissioned reports given to the Woodstock group after a bit of arm-twisting included a Main Roads report that mentioned land resumptions necessary to build an overpass. It said no consultation would be carried out until they figured out which properties would need to be resumed.
    It looks like they will get an extension that will carry any decision past the election which, hopefully, will see commonsense return. The funniest bit in the whole exchange was when the leader of the Woodstock group was told by (I think it was a council town planner, not sure though) that the reason council needed a new High Impact Industrial zone, rather than just shunting everything to the existing one at Yabulu was that the Yabulu precinct was “contaminated”.
    The Woodstock one is on a watercourse that feeds into the Ross Dam, so that’s comforting to know when you drink a bit of town water, I would imagine.
    Fun and games.

    • Arthur Itis says:

      Winx, I think your second last paragraph may be a clue. What they mean is that, they have enough concerns re contamination by the Nickel Plant of the GBR and don’t want to add to it. Any contamination at Woodstock will be contained by the Dam and the GBR will be protected. These days people’s health etc. is secondary to the environment especially the GBR. Otherwise all they have to do is move it a bit further out, closer to Calcium where the drainage goes into the Haughton R., but no, that goes out to sea also.
      I think Mark Harvey et.al. can now add a third classification to the dam….Containment Pond.

    • Small Business Groaner says:

      Council has refused the extension!

  24. The Magpie says:


    • Arthur Itis says:

      I think the rest of the world might now refer to us as Townsvillains.

      • The Magpie says:

        well as said previously, perhaps that laboured joke of The ‘Pie’s is approprikate’Jenny Hill took an ‘l’ out of Townsville … let Sam Cox put it back’.

        (For Mystified of Mysterton, that’s TownsVILE, get it … missing an ‘l’ … that what the mayor has … oh, forget it.)

  25. The Magpie says:

    Christ, shhhh …. no one tell Guy.

  26. Iffy says:

    I have been reliably informed that Qld government has bought Goodsell’s property. I thought I saw Taylor’s sleek limo (not certain) dart in there other day. Apparently Goodsell, instead of crying in his cups is now beaming like a bandicoot – to which he is well related. Council’s Walker says he “knows nothing” but it is obviously good pre-election timing. And compensation-one might say a godsend to Goodsell. But what happens with the controversial piece of dirt?…..

    • The Magpie says:

      Your info raises a good point … wonder if this mean the government could lease it back to Goodsells and somehow bypass the courts with a ‘Special Development Area’ edict? And locals would be well and truly fucked over. Again.

      At the sniff of a government dollar, Taylor would be in there like a vulture that’s been on Jenny Craig for a year, and his involvement means if possible, there’ll be some spite in the outcome.

      Walker’s un-involvement is the least surprising but that’s what you get when you have a third rate union grifter with his front trotters on the local government swill bucket. (Try asking the Woodstock people in his constituency their thoughts and prayers about their beloved councillor, who has completely refused to be involved in one of the looming crucial election issues about the industrial precinct.) But at least he was inadvertently honest … he knows nothing, a condition that a ‘woke’ bloke like Mooney made sure was a permanent state, because Messagebank is always had the capacity to become a liability in the blink of an eye.

  27. Small Business Groaner says:

    Where do the poor people of Woodstock stand trying to fight the good fight against TCC and their underhand approval process? Seems like its an uphill battle against the moving goalposts of the council?! Despite TB journalists being at every meeting, there hasnt been any decent media coverage to hold them accountable..

    • Critical says:

      Maybe it’s time for this issue to be bought to the notice of A Current Affair or similar program and get national attention. If so, do it sooner than later and hopefully stall any Council decisions beyond the January 2020 Council meeting. Someone pointed out to me today that the January 2020 Council meeting will probably be the last meeting that this regime can make any major decisions at as in February sometime, Council goes into caretaker mode. Wonder what other decisions Mullet will ramm though in January 2020 meeting and leave the next Council to clean up. A somewhat terrifying thought.

      • The Magpie says:

        Correct you are, Crits, but that’s only the half of it – the lesser evil, if you will.


        Magpie pal Phillip Batty is a terrier when he can’t get answers out of bureaucracy, but his tenacity has now paid off and it has been revealed this alarming matter than cannot be allowed to move forward.

        Here’s how that this disgraceful chicanery – The ‘Pie attributes directly to the mayor – has been engineered.

        As Phil has said here in comments, the council adopting and signing off on the council’s 2018/19 budget hasn’t happened and it’s way beyond normal time. So, knowing under normal circumstances, this would put the council, mayor and CEO in breach of legal requirements, Phil asked the Department of Local Government what was going on.

        It appears that on May 30 this year, the TCC quietly sought a two month extension to the normal budget and finance reporting timelines, claiming ‘The extension provides Council the time required to finalise the inspection of assets following the unprecedented monsoonal event and accordingly update the asset register as at 30 June 2019.‘ Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe approved the extension, and given that time lag is normally already a couple months, this takes the deadline for presenting the budget to the A-G up a December 31st, to be presented to the Auditor General for checking.
        At its meeting of June 23 this year, the mayor and CEO gabbled the extension through without the Bulletin nor anyone else picking up what had been done or the implications. And it certainly means the management – or mismanagement as the case may be – of the city’s financial affairs for 2018/19 – may not be available for voters in the late March Townsville City Council elections.

        This is how the Local Government Department informed Mr Batty of the situation late yesterday:
        ‘Regarding your query, the Minister approved an extension of time until 31 December 2019 for Townsville City Council to complete the audit of its 2018-19 financial statements. You can find further details of this approval in Council’s meeting minutes of 23 July (item 23). Council is required to adopt its annual report within one month after the day the Auditor-General gives his audit report to Council. Council must then publish its annual report on its website within two weeks of adopting the annual report.’

        In typical bureaucratic fashion, the time lines are as rubbery as Les Walker’s spine. The ‘monsoonal event’ will by that time be 11 months back, and there are no indications of how long the Auditor-General will take to return the budget and financial statements with the required ticks. It is highly unlikely that the wheels of the Auditor-General’s Heath Robinson checking machine will return anything for the January 2020 sitting of council, which as you said, critical, will likely be the last for the year. And when a council is in caretaker mode, the order of the day is ‘do as little as needed, preferably nothing.’

        So Mayor Mullet may well going into the elections without being held accountable for the budget outcomes.The voters will be none the wiser to what she’s been up to.

        No wonder Townsville is now not just a national joke, but is now mentioned overseas for crime and backwoods politics.

        • Critical says:

          Great information Pie but alas I fear the same, voters will be going to the polls without an’t information on the city’s financial situation and any candidates opposing her will be unable to challenge her on her governing the city. The Astonisher should be hitting this story hard and doing all it can to persuade the public to pressure her to sign off on these documents by mid-February 2020 at the latest and make this information public so that voters can make informed decisions but I doubt this will happen as Mullet is already crapping herself in fear of next March’s electoral result.

          • The Magpie says:

            Well, give the Astonisher a break, mate, they only learnt about this situation when they read The Magpie comment last night. The poor dears can’t do it all themselves.

            And one good thing to come out of this being revealed exclusively by The Magpie (see, just like the Bulletin on sunrise times!) is that we will now find out if Sam Cox has brought a knife to a gun fight. If he doesn’t hammer this one, and fast, he may as well fold his tent right now.

            This is a matter vital to the good governance and election of any city council. Blaming an event at the start of last February doesn’t cut it.

          • Frequent flyer says:

            Nah, same as Ch7, the Mullet is the paper’s most influential advertiser so you can forget about Ms Cairney putting any pressure on her, apart from asking for more advertising.

  28. Cantankerous but happy says:

    I was watching a Deborah Hutton show on TV, not really focusing on anything but lovely Deborah as she shows people houses by the beach and then they pick the one they like etc, on this occasion a retired couple Tony and Merrilee looking for a home on Hamilton Island, not really paying attention to anything but her about halfway through the show I thought shit that bloke looks familiar, sure enough it’s “ used car salesman Tony and optometrist Merrilee” as they referred to themselves buying a little place on Hamilton. In true Townsville style they could have gone for the $4.2 million house, but settled for the low maintenance $3 million villa near the Marina to be close to their boat, good on them.

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie doesn’t get out much anymore, Cankers, so what the hell are you talking about?

      • Cantankerous but happy says:

        Tony Ireland has left town and moved to Hamilton Island, another one to add the list of those who have left Townsville and taken their $$ with them.

      • The Magpie says:

        Oh hang on … this couple?

        • Cantankerous but happy says:

          Yes that’s them, just a shame to keep losing that sort of business experience and wealth from the town.

          • The Magpie says:

            Jenny Hill won’t be sorry to Tony go … he was one of the few who stood up to her bullying, some years ago point blank refusing to assist her in illegally claiming insurance she was not entitled to in matter that was clearly her own fault in damaging her vehicle. Mrs Hill is one of the great Labor haters with a long memory, so when she became mayor, she bought her hoon red mayoral Holden from Brisbane as a spiteful get-square – not concerned that the ratepayers had to foot the bill to have it shipped here. This despite Tony Ireland offering to match the Brisbane price.

  29. Kenny Kennett says:

    This was sent to Annandale residents overnight by a lady called Bec Easta.

    Hi all, I would like to share some information regarding the TCC plan to make a HIGH IMPACT INDUSTRIAL zone at Landsdowne Station. The Council would have you believe that this would be a suitable location for a Lithium-ion Battery Plant and allow other High Impact Industrial Opportunities in this location. It is simply unsuitable and other alternative locations should be looked into – as a 5 minute research study is insufficient.

    To date, the Council has not undertaken comprehensive assessments of the area, there appears to be bias and exclusions which have made Woodstock Residents furious. Yet, the Council have only shared limited information since being called out on keeping residents in the dark. This, following the circulation of an un-dated letter to select residents near the end of a timeframe allowing public submissions regarding the topic. That deadline has now been extended to December 20th.
    I would encourage you to check out the Woodstock Action Group page.

    As a side note – for those debating the drainage of surface water on the property. Contained in the mass of USB information distributed to residents by TCC the North-Western aspect of Landsdowne Station drains directly into the Ross River Dam catchment even under normal rainfall conditions. Also, during a flooding event their Hydrological Study indicates that the Railway line and the Highway essentially act as a Dam that sends the water back into the Ross River Dam. It is a flood plain.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Kenny Kennett says:

      Then this from John Dunco:
      It takes 5 mins to investigate that the creeks near the proposed Battery Factory site flow AWAY FROM ROSS DAM and actually flow into Majors creek as the facts will show in these images.

      Images were supplied but I couldn’t include in comment.
      Can’t wait for our local loonie Guy to add his leftie comments to this. Hey Guy, are you going to blame all this on Les Tyrell?

      • The Magpie says:

        The Mr Dunco, whoever he may be, is directly contradicting the council’s own information?

      • Guy says:

        Information for the future

        The best way to summon me is to draw a chalk circle on the floor around you, say my name three times , then turn around three times whilst hopping.

        Handy tip: Always carry a crucifix

        I don’t know much about the battery plant that’s being built, I’d assume the whole point of the place is to try and rebuild stable employment in Townsville. The current council has correctly realised that manufacturing will bring stability to the job market here – at least they are trying to do something rather than keep putting up rates to create more council workers.

        To be honest woodstock doesn’t seem to make much sense, it’s too far away from goods, services and presumably the labour source doing the work.

        From what I understand about factories is you need:

        Electrical power (lots of it)

        Clean water – ideally pristine for hi-tech purposes

        Good logistics – easy to get to, close to ports / highways , railway lines (an actual station)

        Close to the labour source where wages can be controlled. Classical economics pegs wages for a business to be something like 30 % or more of its costs (?).

        a site closer to the city would be better in my reckoning, an existing electrical power network could be used more effectively, no need to build a clean water pipe to woodstock, it takes less time, effort and money to get men and machines to the site.

        Presumably there’s some logic behind putting a factory here but I haven’t heard much about it. From an electoral perspective I’d expect the sitting councillor to lose that seat simply because council elections are won on slim margins and no one in woodstock wants it.

        As I’ve said before it’s all very well demanding a change in council but what comes next could be worse and we’d back to square one borrowing another 300 million (or more) thus making the situation worse. The rates have only shifted upwards in small increments since the last election which means most likely the borrowing spree has been stymied.

        Even if the sitting councillor of woodstock loses their seat it won’t make much difference because the 2020 council will probably still be majority team hill.

    • Cappuccino in hand says:

      Why isn’t the existing Townsville State Development Area being offered for the proposed battery factory? The mayor indicated that it’s in a flood zone. Except for Castle Hill, where in TSV is floodproof? Has it got something to do with the Woodstock land being of commercial value to TCC ? But not in the best interest of the ratepayers SHE REPRESENTS?

      See this from the Qld Govt dated 26th November 2019 ….

      If there is one word that should be front and center in this campaign for mayor its …. TRANSPARENCY !!

      • The Magpie says:

        If the mayor uses the excuse that the SDA is in a flood zone, that in effect means that sh will not approve ANYTHING being built there. Or maybe our environmentally ‘woke’ mayor is concerned that the SDA is too close to Barrier reef waters for the battery factory .. and that in turn, would be seen as an admission that there will be toxic discharges from this unicorn project.

        • No More Dredging says:

          ‘Pie, all the maps and diagrams about drainage at Lansdown is available at:

          Traffic, Transport, Infrastructure and Air Quality Study GHD

          • The Magpie says:

            Certainly. Good link, but Mayor Mullet and the council generally should really invest in a straightforward experienced and honest media relations person so that they are ahead of the pack ion all this stuff. That is one key appointment they have failed to fill since the competent and no-nonsense Tony ‘Chopper’ Wode left, for fear that they will not be able to play these various little political games.


  30. Bing4814 says:

    Well contrary to popular belief after cardiac and neurological surgery it’s confirmed I have a heart and brain after all. I Still believe the nurses and doctors are lifesaving angels.
    Administration and management on the other hand i feel like I’m in a Benny Hill hospital movie.
    Having to sign the same consent forms three times because each previous one has been lost. Asked daily if I want to keep using my private cover even though I’m shunted from bed to bed to bed and when settled they move me again. Even thank you to the tea lady. Even though you won’t let me have one sugar in my cup of tea. I’m thankful for the medical staff and their expertise. The pencil pushers need to stop tripping over themselves and losing paperwork just to justify their position stop bothering the patients and let us heal.

  31. Just Say'n says:

    I see Cr Verena Coombe has decided to jump ship

    Most residents would say (quite rightly) “Who?”.

    For the edification of the great unwashed she is the Chairperson of the Governance and Finance Committee. This is the Committee that recommends the budget and reports on corporate governance (including right to information aspects of Council). Obviously, nothing to see here.

    Given the delays in budget audit, it might be a timely exit in my view.

    Despite the deserters, I still think Hill will romp it in.

    • The Magpie says:

      ‘Well, Captain, iceberg or no iceberg, I believe we will romp in the Transatlantic record.’

    • The Magpie says:

      This from Coombe in the paper today:
      “Our transformation program delivered $31 million in savings for the community last financial year,” she said.
      “These reforms have been able to achieve record spend on infrastructure projects, delivering fully funded water security and a demonstrable culture of transparency and engagement with the community.Townsville City Council has a high calibre of professional leadership and staff. Knowing that the organisation is moving in the right direction makes my decision that much easier.”
      Reading that, one can only wish Clr Coombe well, and The ‘Pie sincerely hopes that the reasons for her sudden retirement do not involve too much shock treatment and/or psychotherapeutic drugs.

      • Hee-Haw says:

        I do hope that she wasn’t divulging unaudited financial results to the paper was she?
        And did anyone ask her how the hell we can spend over $30 million on IT last year too. Also equally unaudited lol

    • Bing4814 says:

      Rats deserting the sinking ship ?

  32. The Magpie says:

    They what? They did no such thing, you drunken twerps. Go on the wagon … it’s good for your health … and credibility.

  33. I’ll be plucked says:

    All you TCC and state ALP ‘politicians’ can go and get plucked! Go pluck yourselves you self serving bunch of rancid pluckers, that have done nothing for our community. Secrets, treating us with contempt, driving us into deep debt, crime out of control – PLUCKERS!

    Ahhh, that feels better Pie; rest of the day should go ok.

  34. Hee Haw says:

    according to Channel 7, Nanette Radeck now to stand as a team Hill candidate.
    KAP to labour in one movement.
    Gravy train anyone please
    More fucking career politicians is just what Townsville needs.

    • The Magpie says:

      Not to sure if Radeck’s first move is too clever … The ‘Pie knows for fact that since forever, The Bulletin wants news like this first, and there hasn’t been a dicky bird from the Astonisher. They will be gnashing their teeth right now, and News Ltd doesn’t forget slights like this.

      We’ll see.

      • Wily Wombat says:

        The best way to fight an enemy is to infiltrate its ranks. Or, rather be on a winning side than a losing one. What I would like to see is a Magpie contributor Council team. Some of you people show such incredible wisdom, that this may be Townsvilles only hope.
        I mean, there is at least half a dozen potential Mayors here. Go for it you guys. I refuse any nomination as I am a shifty bastard. We need honesty and clarity here.

        • Bing4817 says:

          My skin isn’t thick enough to be a politician. Besides I’d use common sense. Something a politician definitely lacks.

    • Just Say'n says:

      I supported Radeck in the Federal election.

      I’m disappointed that Radeck has sold her sold her soul and joined Hill’s team.

      Despite Hill’s protestations about being independent, she is a Labor party hack to the bone. The advantage of being “independent” is that she doesn’t have to answer to the party when it suits her.

      In my opinion, Radeck should stand as an independent and not align herself with Hill. She would have plenty of community support and be able to retain her own values and principles.

      I still think Hill will romp it in. Radeck will end up another silent arm raiser.

      • The Magpie says:

        You seem to have missed it, Natterer, Radeck has retained and displayed her principles and values … treachery and self-interest.

        • Fanny says:

          Someone called her out for her chumminess with Hill on her Facebook page weeks ago. She denied being mates with anyone who said that “there is no water crisis”.

          So…just another porcine politician riding on any convenient bandwagon, without a shred of persona;l integrity.

          • The Magpie says:

            Ahem …, please allow a little humblebrag … Radeck dalliance with the mayor was first flagged by a commenter here about three or so weeks ago. BTW been distracted by some minor medical matter this morning, has there been anything in the Astonisher about about the defection?

          • I’ll be plucked says:

            Fanny? What the………

  35. Bing4817 says:

    Everyone’s soul has a price if true ?

  36. Mike Douglas says:

    Does Labor in Queensland ever learn ? . Terri Butler settles defamation action with students on Q+ A , Mayor Mullet settles $50 k with Clive then Cathy Otoole sets herself up for a $500 k with the same bloke . The same week Clive starts his media campaign against the Port and Qld State Government on Port access our so called independent Mayor goes after Clive for rates and water charges from 2016 . I’m all for ratepayers getting QNI to settle Council debts but how much is anti QNI activity from State and local Council about Labor’s Federal loss and anti labor ad campaigns ?.

    • The Magpie says:

      Indeed. The way to look at this is how would Premier Alphabet and Mayor Mullet be acting if Clive had’ve donated a few lazy millions to their respective campaigns. All would be forgiveness and light. Ah, politics, gotta luv it.

      • No More Dredging says:

        Fortunately, not even the mayor can ‘forgive’ a rates and charges debt. Having waited in the queue while Palmer coughed up for some of his other unforgivable debts it’s about time TCC chased up their (our) share, especially since there’s no way they could force him to sell off the Yabulu property and actually make money from the sale.

    • Cockie says:

      Mike, I just hope Clive doesn’t just say “TCC you can have Yabulu” and leave the rate payers with the rehabilitation costs, which must be in the tens if not hundreds of millions to put the site back to as was.

      • The Magpie says:

        Bit too simplistic … for a start, it wouldn’t be the ratepayers that would get it, but whoever did, they’d be up for the overdue rates bill … unless of course the mayor does one of her famous ‘deals’. Maybe sell it to Adani, who convert it into a recycling unit for unwanted Indian brides turned into papadums … all that burning isn’t good for global warming. A sort of Soylent Green (word derived from soy and lentil) meets Swift’s Modest Proposal, win win.
        (Cue outrage industry.)

    • City dweller says:

      Question?? I thought the recent court proceedings with the liquidators agreed on a cents in the dollar settlement. I would have thought TCC would have been involved. I’m sorry if I got that wrong but that was why Clive couldn’t move forward until creditors were finalized. Now next question is how much is TCC going to spend chasing Clive for 2.5 million? That money to him is like me going down the Herbert hotel with a few 50s for the pokies. I would think he would hold the case up in court which over time would cost us ratepayers more. Agreed settlement eventually, Didn’t the mayor learn from the 50k? Or is she trying to get it back.

    • City dweller says:

      I also see in the online story the “council spokesperson” is back giving a very heartfelt message. My guess is the way they sound it’s the mayor but told the paper otherwise. The bulletin is bordering on electrol interference perhaps.

  37. Local first says:

    A few months ago Council said Jamie Durie will keep doing water education promotions to help us save water. Has this happened? What was done? How much has he been paid? Why won’t they tell us?

    • The Magpie says:

      And see comment about 2018/19 budget and council financial statements.

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Townsville had 16 days in November over 200ML a day production with the highest been 223ML on one day alone, looks to me like the people of Townsville told Jamie Durie to get rooted.

    • Bing4817 says:

      Jamie came to my place to look at the mulch in my garden and stood in my pugs poo. Was a classic

  38. Old Tradesman says:

    Our friend Guy, lover of all things King Les, has come up with an interesting question about the water supply to the Woodstock Development Area, that being the requirement of clean pristine water. So if the tee off from the new line is facilitated, wouldn’t the raw supply need a treatment plant at Woodstock? Who pays for this.

    • XWaterWorker says:

      Based on previous approaches, QNI teed off the Paluma Dam pipeline at Yabulu, and did their own treatment.

    • George Gently says:

      Tradie, I think King Les may find himself in a spot of bother come Council election time, if he stands again. The good folks of his division are quite upset about his lack of performance ‘representing’ them.

      Woody-Gate is obviously the latest iteration of his lack of work on their behalf.

      • The Magpie says:

        What? Haven’t seen even the remotest suggestion that he may stand again, and would be more than a bit surprised if he did. Unlike others, The ‘Pie believes he was the Amalgamation Man we needed, and he had his time and left without sulking.

        • George Gently says:

          I was referring to Mr Walker, Pie (the one you call Messagebank). I’ve made an obvious mistake with King Les – no idea who he was. Apology. George

  39. Alahazbin says:

    The Independant Council Election Observer (ICEO) to be set up to stop fake news and false and deceptive campaigning. So Pie, will this blog cone under observation? I know you are very careful with what you allow on here. I wonder if ‘Tin Foil Pete’ will behave himself.

    • The Magpie says:

      Don’t see why The Magpie wouldmcome under scrutiny, only the truth appears here heh heh heh.

      Anyway, seriously, this is a private blog, and we can say what we damn well like short of slanderous criminal imputations.

    • Alahazbin says:

      Quote from the mullet in the same article.
      “Already there are a number of areas I will be referring to him (Judge Robertson) for investigating and checking”
      Only aspiring Councillors, Mayoral candidates and councillors seeking re- election may lodge complaints.

  40. Critical says:

    Cairns gets an income earning and regularly used convention centre while Townsville gets a probably rarley used white elephant economic burden called a stadium.
    I can’t see any infrastructure like the Cairns Convention Centre coming to Townsville soon particularly when there is no supporting infrastructure like international standard 5 star hotels, more organised airport terminal, a clean tidy and well maintained city and open spaces and the list goes on


    • City dweller says:

      Yeah but I bet cairns don’t have a bus hub where countless busses sit empty at times over the whole day. Talk about carbon footprint. I got held up by the garbage man 3 days in a row coming out of my unit in henran st. What the fuck are they doing at 1030am emptying bins???? Truck blocks off entire street. Always see cars and buses trying to overtake with oncoming traffic coming in. Who pays that lawsuit? I bet the ratepayer like we are against Clive. TCC change your bin times or there’s going to be an accident. Wouldn’t happen in cairns.

    • Guy says:

      To be honest I prefer Townsville- there’s more to do and see as a resident in Townsville. There are a few problems wandering around of a night.

  41. No More Dredging says:

    Pie, if it ever became a reality that there was a Magpie’s Nest Contributor Team as proposed by the Wily Wombat, could I suggest that a team anthem worth considering might be:

    YouTube Spooky Mens Chorale Vote The Bastards Out

  42. Mike Douglas says:

    I hold grave concerns for Townsville and ratepayers with this “ what ever it takes “ Labor mentality by Mayor Mullet to get re-elected in February 2020 . T.C.C. debt currently between $370- $390 mil ( one of two highest Councils in Qld ) and doesn’t T.C.C. get lumbered with million $ costs when the stadium is handed over ? . Then today reading T.C.C. Commitment to TropiQ with Townsville hospital and JCU . Areas of Townsville look like a dump with Council unable to do the basics and we have the Mullet committing more of ratepayers $ . What of the 1600 families effected by floods and still not in their homes ?.

    • The Magpie says:

      Far be it from the ‘Pie to contradict you, Mike, but you are mistaken about Mayor Mullet committing more dollars to this new unicorn venture. (Billions? Please, stop with the insults already!) The council has absolutely nothing to do with this venture, should it ever come to fruition, and apart from demure mutterings of approval, nor should it. This is Jenny’s Labor and TEL board friends doing a bit of campaigning for a desperate candidate wallowing in public incompetence, it is transparent that this has absolutely nothing to do with Walker Street, apart from the mayor’s hubristic and lying use of the pronoun ‘we’. And this venture will have one big problem they appear to have overlooked, which the Magpie will ‘exclusively reveal’ (eat yer heart out, Astonisher) in tomorrow’s blog.

      • The Magpie says:

        And BTW, not a single mention of where this super centre will be located. You can bet it won’t be Woodstock.

        • Cappuccino in hand says:

          That’s the funniest line of the week Pie

        • No More Dredging says:

          Looking at yesterday’s media release (“Investment set to flow into health and knowledge precinct”) it seems the mayor has been connected to this TropiQ project by someone else’s clever wordsmith. But don’t be distracted by the words, especially the billions of dollars and thousands of jobs – the artist’s impression presents an interesting puzzle which I guess you’re already on to, O Pied One – as you take your underground parking ticket at the boom gate.

        • The Magpie says:

          Message Stillnotalocal – Happily way ahead of you on this one, courstesy of another sharp eyed reader like yourself – as The ‘Pie said in an earlier comment, they may have a problem they didn’t know about, but will when the blog is published.

  43. Bing4814 says:

    I see the paper got another gong. From another mutual pat themselves on the back society board awards fermions no doubt. When will your blog get awarded Pie ?

  44. JP says:

    Is anyone else a bit worried at the slow start to Sam’s campaign? I’d have thought there would be a bit more action by now. Surely there’s enough material to campaign on.

    • No More Dredging says:

      JP, it’s pretty hard for an independent candidate to get their pic in the paper without having to pay for it. Everyone is caught up in Xmas parties and end-of-year stuff and Sam is just one of (likely) several never heard of candidates in the election which is months away (28 March). I imagine Sam is knocking on donor’s doors at the moment – one of the most thankless tasks I’ve ever experienced. Sure makes Ms Radeck’s move into Team Hill logical and rational.

      • The Magpie says:

        But no less cynical and opportunist. And as usual, you lapse into kiddy silliness suggesting many unknown candidates (Sam is running for mayor, and likely the only one, without some very late development) and he’s hardly unknown having been a very active MP. And what’s that bit …’the most thankless task I’ve ever experienced’/ You’ve been a candidate, have you? Hmmmm … greenish?

        • No More Dredging says:

          ‘Pie, in 2016 there were four mayoral candidates. Jane Arlett was well funded (I believe) and worked hard but fell short. Years ago I had a shot myself. I can tell you it’s a tough gig raising dough and standing up in front of voters. Sam will find it tough being an independent. Hill has a significant advantage from incumbency – and little accurate public knowledge of her considerable downsides.

          • The Magpie says:

            Pivotal in any campaign and second only to funding is the campaign manager … so we’re about to see what David White is made of. Know little about him, but he’s friendly enough, although he has the irritating habit of talking in slogans. If he encourages Sam to do that, he should learn the downsides of repetitive messaging.

          • Dave of Kelso says:

            e.g. “Jobs and Growth.”

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Limited $$ would effect his campaign and frankly a bit more required than his “ time for a change” billboard it represents nothing, “ and people don’t relate to change, they want better and he has to be seen to offer that. Given the scepticism of many in the town the Mullet could go a low key campaign herself, the more she opens her mouth the more she offends people, but Cox has to get more specific and tap into the level of people who despise Jenny Hill but still might vote for her.

      • The Magpie says:

        And as Bentley said in conversation with The ‘Pie today, he’s somewhat conspicuous by his invisibility so far. He and campaign manager David White better start getting out there and ahead of issues, because if they don’t digitus extractum, he may as well fold up his tent, sit back and hope for a win by default, the Mullet is pissing off so many people.

  45. J.B says:

    Shame the Morrison government didn’t get a bankrupt ex stripper to do some advertising for them.
    Instead they ended up with some bloke called Scott Cam at way less than half price.

  46. George Gently says:

    Is the Ridgemont Motel the only place to get a hooker in Townsville, Pie? Asking for a friend!

    • The Magpie says:

      You mean someone who exchanges short term love in exchange for money … try Enema Legal … ask for Big Barry who is on the door, he’ll fix your friend up.

  47. Alahazbin says:

    Well! I have just read the biggest load of ‘bullshit’ in today’s Astonisher re transport plan to the stadium. Part of quote from the mullet.
    “I know exactly where I will park my car and catch the bus if I am to get to the stadium”. She said.
    Jenny, you will drive your big red SS right to the door to your reserved parking spot and be escorted to the corporate box where you drink free piss all night. And who gave you the right to shut the public out of Dean Park car park. 460 car parks gone.

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Not a problem getting in, arrivals are staggered, just a shitfight getting out, they just haven’t got a clue, public transport should be included in the cost of a ticket with a dedicated bus zone at the V8’s pits, so the buses can leave without having to battle back through all the traffic around the stadium, this town is truly run by fuckwits.

      • The Magpie says:

        Why are you oh so cynical, Cankers? Be reassured when you read this from the Astonisher report.
        “Representatives from Stadiums Queensland, staff from Townsville City Council, the Department of Housing and Public Works, Transport and Main Roads, TransLink and the Queensland Police Service have been working together to put together a plan that provides a range of options for those attending the stadium,” she said.’
        Isn’t this the same lot who gave us … eventually … the Big Bus Stop.

        And note that we will be getting guidance about how we should think about all this from one of the city’s clearest thinkers.

        “Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill discussed how important it was to change the mindset of Townsville to catch public transport when travelling to the stadium.”

        • No More Dredging says:

          ‘Pie, further on the matter of public disclosure of planning machinations I note that the Guardian Australia (online) has some more info about the black-throated finch and the Adani airport:

          “Adani has repeatedly sought to block access to government documents about its dealings, including a case where the miner has taken the ABC to a Queensland tribunal to prevent the release of an agreement for two coastal councils to pay for a remote inland airstrip.

          That case is still ongoing in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, where claims involving government departments or administrative appeals often take significant time to resolve.

          Adani claims it no longer needs the airport – which was to be built by Queensland firm Wagners – for the scaled-down version of the Carmichael mine.

          But it continues to fight the release of a “term sheet” that contained secret details of the deal, struck with Townsville and Rockhampton councils, for them to fund the construction in exchange for the cities being named fly-in fly-out hubs for the project.

          Townsville council initially refused a freedom of information request by an ABC journalist on grounds the deal was commercial in confidence.

          But the Queensland Office of the Information Commissioner overturned that decision in March, in an unreported judgement that ruled the public had a right to know details, given the extraordinary circumstances.

          In her March judgment, Lynch said Adani and similar “sophisticated commercial entities” ought to appreciate that funding awarded by government entities would be ultimately accountable to the public.”

          • The Magpie says:

            Indeed, and great to see the Guardian – albeit after a couple of months eventually catching up with The Magpie and the terrier Phillip Batty, who has been nipping QCAT’s ankles persistently. (Actually, one shouldn’t be so churlish, quite seriously, the Guardian almost certainly used the Magpie pieces as a lead to further investigate the matter).

        • Westie says:

          Jenny’s right, I ‘ve changed my mindset.

          I won’t go.

          • The Magpie says:

            And if she really had to travel like that, neither would she. As one person said in a now in explicably deleted comment in the Bulletin story ‘What nonsense, Jenny, you will drive your sleek mayoral sedan right to stadium entrance, so you can go straight in for free to drink free piss with your mates and get picked up at the same spot by a driver afterwards … all courtesy of the ratepayer.’

    • Alahazbin says:

      I suppose the operative word in that quote is “if”
      If you are not Mayor next year, you will be using public transport.

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