Men In Black
Back in 2006, the evening before the Queensland State election, Save Our Spit supporters were hiding behind BBQs at Charis Seafoods at Harley Park in preparation for giving Premier Beattie a surprise welcome.
Men in dark glasses and black suits perused the area, not looking at all out of place with the barefooted, beach clad locals and tourists. The 'all clear signal' was given and the Premier, who had been lying prone on the back seat of a dark-windowed SUV, poked his head up and stepped out of the vehicle.
SOSA had been tipped off by media regarding the Premier's last minute visit to the Gold Coast to shore up the falling polls for his local members who had supported a cruise terminal and commercial development on Doug Jennings Park on the Spit and we were keen to get our mugs on TV.
We did capture some TV airtime but in all the action it was one line from the Premier's minder that had us all in stiches.
"Where is your decency?" he called to us, but in response to our spontaneous outburst of belly laughter at his plea, even he cracked up and giggled at the absurdity of the whole scene.
But the Beattie government were a church choir compared to what has been dished up by the Newman-Seeney LNP Government and ASF China Consortium in the latest attempt by vested interests to get their private, grubby hands on the Spit and Broadwater.
Tell the Truth
Let's just say when we named our 'Tell the Truth' pre-election public-meeting, we weren't surprised when not one Gold Coast LNP sitting MP was 'available' to attend.
Apparently, if you believe the ASF propaganda/PR spin (masquerading as 'official reports'), all this is simply about jobs - with the ASF first job projected as being available in 2017, some 5 years after Tom Tate made his announcement about a 'small floating cruise terminal on the Spit', the day before the 2012 council elections.
We estimate it would be lucky if 10 new jobs (casual) have been created by ASF China to date – mostly spin doctors/PR consultants - but apparently they have our interests at heart. Yeah right, let's just destroy the Broadwater which currently sustains the equivalent of 2500 full-time equivalent jobs (Urbis Economic Baseline report 2012) - for what in the future?
"It's not a transit port, it's not a transit port"
ASF China's Allan Fife addressing GCCC.
ASF China didn't even bother developing an original design, they just photoshopped in pretty pictures from several existing 'resorts' and changed the design according to a community 'lego'-block workshop exercise. ASF are gamblers so why bother spending money on original concepts. And the so called business-savvy people and Councillors, hovering around ASF's invite-only cocktail parties, simply didn't notice that Allan Fife (ASF Project Manager #1) had no clue about the difference between cruise ship base (home) ports and transit (visiting) ports. This was revealed in Fife's terse response at a Council meeting where Cr MacDonald asked what kind of terminal ASF was proposing and Fife retorted, "It's not a transit port, it's not a transit port".
Probity Checks and Legislation
SOSA initiated a degree of probity checks into ASF consortium's 'major partners' that one would have expected the Mayor, GCCC and LNP State Government to have conducted. What we discovered and our Local and State Governments apparently didn't, was a hideous international track record. ASF's two 'major partners' were debarred from World Bank funding for 8 years (2009-2017) for 'bribery, fraud and corruption on a Philippines National Road Project' because of 'tender price manipulation and bribery of local officials'. The casino management company ASF chose as their 'major partner' to run a Gold Coast casino, Global Gaming Asset Management, has been in two separate long-term legal disputes regarding breaches of management contracts for casinos in Manila and the USA.
Full article at The Australian Ben Butler Article
With Jeff Seeney and Campbell Newman at the helm in cooperation with Mayor Tate – ASF China consortium kept miraculously advancing to the next stages of both the Broadwater Marine Project (GCCC driven) and the Integrated Resort Development process (IRD). Meanwhile certain Gold Coast Councillors and sitting State MPs played a curious game by telling us privately, 'I don't think it will go ahead' and 'It's not going to happen', while voting to support ASF proceeding to successive stages of the BMP and IRD processes, leading to a State Government Request for a Detailed Design from ASF China. Despite what we were told, the 'process' had every appearance that the (then) Deputy Premier Seeney was preparing to approve a tender from ASF China Consortium.
In the week prior to the State election, SOSA's President, Steve Gration, asked the LNP Member for Surfers Paradise (now the LNP Deputy Leader) John-Paul Langbroek what Acts or Legislation the ASF proposal was currently being assessed under, Mr Langbroek could not or would not provide a clear answer. His minder made several attempts to interrupt Steve's question, but to no avail.
Excerpt of exchange:
JPL: [Returning to the ASF Broadwater Project]
There is interaction between all Departments to make sure all aspects are covered by those other Departments – Environmental, Economic and others.
SG: Under which Act and which Legislation [is the ASF Broadwater proposal assessed]?
JPL: That is covered by the Deputy Premier who will make sure the public servants in his Department………you can ask the question in a formal sense and I will make sure I get the answer for you.
They are not Acts that I administer in the Parliament – they are Acts that the Deputy Premier will make sure he is dotting all the "i's" and crossing all the "t's" to make sure the Legislation is adhered to.
SG: We would just like to know what Legislation it [the ASF Broadwater proposal] is under?
JPL: Send me a formal email and I will get it to you.
(Audio of full exchange Listen to the audio )
During her State election campaign the ALP Leader of the Opposition, Annastacia Palaszczuk, visited the Gold Coast over the Australia Day weekend to stand on Wavebreak Island alongside hundreds of boaties, families and other users of the Broadwater to announce the following in front of a huge media contingent:
"no development ... pure and simple"
SOSA along with our loyal supporters and the other key-community stakeholders are very keen to permanently protect the spit and broadwater from another 'perfect storm' of vested interests and politicians like the one we have just endured.
It is simply outrageous for the ASF China proposal (and previous proposals to privatise public parks, beaches and waterways) to gain so much traction. it is and always has been a land grab by vested interests using the guise of a gold coast cruise terminal that will rarely if ever host a cruise ship. (Analysis of Navigational Simulations) ASF could only have succeeded, against the wishes of the majority of Gold Coasters, with the help of LNP 'connections' at State and Local government levels.
With the official announcement of a Labor minority State Government, the ASF proposal is dead and buried on the basis of the ALP's campaign promise, 'no sale, lease [or giveaway] of Queensland Public Assets.' The Spit, Broadwater and Wavebreak are one of the City of Gold Coast's largest Environmental, Tourism, Economic, Cultural, Ecological, Financial and Social assets while they remain 'public open space' and 'environmental land'. (2012 Urbis Economic and VDM Ecological reports)
In December 2014, when our public rally attracted more than 3000 people on a rainy day in the Broadwater Parklands and the noise was akin to a footy final - any claims of community support for the land grab were instantly demolished.
All the careful crafted media releases masquerading as 'technical reports', fake polls, biased surveys and supposed 'extensive community consultations', failed to fool Gold Coasters - we love our beaches thanks and we want them to remain in public hands not the grubby hands of private profiteers with dubious corporate backgrounds and unconscionable behaviours like that of ASF China Consortium.
We have proven that nice guys don't always finish last. And while candidates who were highly supportive of Save Our Spit missed out on being elected by the smallest of margins, they have made a huge dent in the existing margins of GC sitting LNP members who have been put on notice to listen to their constituents rather than party-political hierarchies and 'secret' campaign donors.
Fortunately, grass root campaigns like SOSA's state-wide sent shockwaves throughout the State and a tsunami of opposition to the Newman Government's style and manner caused one of the biggest electoral upsets in the history of this nation.
Can you help?
There were reports of certain seats on the Gold Coast being targeted by telephone push polling, and further instances of defamatory comments regarding non-LNP candidates made during these phone calls in the days and nights preceding the Queensland election.
If you experienced this.... or happened to record them please let us know at:
A Fair Go
Who gave the couple who have retired at Runaway Bay a fair go? They happen to enjoy the Broadwater in its natural beauty, their unit overlooking the Broadwater and Wavebreak island with unencumbered views, to find on the whim of a few politicians the very last thing they wanted they may have been living for 15-20 years in a construction zone was.
Who was giving them a fair go? Tom, Jeff, Campbell, the passing parade of ASF PR people? Not likely.
Were ASF's 'major partners', CCCC Guangzhou Dredging and China Communications and Construction Company (aka China State Engineering Company) going to give them a fair go?
Was the local member who declared herself against the project going to be heard by the likes of Newman and Seeney? Of course not - this deal was done behind closed doors and according to Tom Tate would be 'full steam ahead' with an LNP victory in the 2015 election.
Certain elements of Local Council, who were perfectly happy to take brutal advantage of an LNP landslide at the 2012 election, are now asking for a 'fair go'. ASF's Tim Poole (Local Project Manager#2) is putting in a 'desperate plea' for the IRD process to continue; a process that has been biased, secretive and follows no known pattern of transparency, good governance, proper probity or due diligence by GCCC Officers or LNP Government departments.
Well here is their 'fair go' - if they manage to survive revelations from the Federal Senate Inquiry report due on March 25th 2015, we will also be looking for a separate inquiry, with the re-establishment of an independent Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission, into how and under what circumstances public parks and beaches came within a whisker of being given away to private, foreign interests.
At the recent election the people of Queensland spoke - and the message is: the Newman experiment was an utter disaster. On election night, Newman himself did not appear to utter one word of contrition - having just run a government into a brick wall, all Newman seemed to care about was sailing away into the sunset on the next stage of his life.
Encourage Preservation and Protection
The Newman-Seeney government presided over a near-tragedy for our Broadwater. However, SOSA will continue informing our government(s) and fighting until the Broadwater is protected in perpetuity – if a Palaszczuk Labor Government delivers this outcome they will have 'saved our spit' and won the respect and admiration of Gold Coasters, our guests and tourists for generations to come.
Please email and/or write to Premier Palaszczuk to thank her for taking a public stance to stop the ASF China proposal on the Spit, Broadwater and Wavebreak Island and encourage her and the relevant Government Ministers to compose appropriate legislation to protect and preserve these areas in perpetuity as public spaces for passive recreational and tourism activities.
Email - email@example.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/APalaszczukMP
Tweet - https://twitter.com/AnnastaciaMP
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