Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tourism & Transport Forum

July quarterly update from the Tourism and Transport Forum includes a table of source countries of the top 20 international arrivals. Asia is blue, Europe and North America Red. On those numbers China could overtake the UK within two years. Apart from China, other growth standouts are Malaysia, India, and Indonesia.

Strata Insurance Crisis

The Australian has reported on the crisis in strata insurance in the Far North with insurance premium hikes of up to 400% being quoted. This has not received a great deal of local attention given that it should be a significant economic issue for the viability of strata title property and development.

There is an absence of competition in strata title insurance after some major insurers, including Suncorp previously, exited the market leaving only a few players. At least that was the situation as understood following a body corporate insurance seminar earlier this year. KS is due to commence negotiations for insurance renewal on behalf of his unit block next week so will take a keen interest and update on progress .......

Tropical strata cover difficult to find

Queensland's water bill

Insurance cost rises to hit property investors

National Disaster Insurance Review

Thursday, July 28, 2011

black holes and supernovas

Kitchenslut has been cleaning out stuff in his paper files while coincidentally googling Council rates and inadvertantly stumbled over the King Parrot rant from July 2008.

There are some curious things in this rant,  which would seem to represent extreme factual errors from our local media monopoly? However, with excel spreadsheet now open it can be confirmed that the King Parrot is indeed either a visceral liar or inumerate!?

The Parrot sqwuark linked (since removed from Cairns Post) refers to a now aged column under the title "a city in suffering", where amongst some personal tabloid tales there is this comment on a Council only four months old:
People with black holes where their brains should be accuse me of being too tough on Cr Schier and the council.
So, instead of my opinion, let’s deal with the facts.
It is a fact that your total rates bill will rise by at least 15 per cent.
Cr Schier’s claim that rates will rise by just 7 per cent is misleading and yet another example of a public relations department using spin to mask the truth.
Cr Schier is about to buy a house after some years of renting so she may have forgotten that ratepayers fork out money for a total bill, including all of the fees and charges.
That total bill will be a minimum of 15 per cent higher than the last council rates bill we paid.

Well no. Having spreadsheeted all the data for the last 6 years the rise, with fees, was in the range of 7%! Thats a FACT!

Could the King Parrot have been so black-hole-brained as to just add the rise together for all components cumulatively? Yes, it would appear he has developed a new mathematics where if say your general rate component of the bill goes up by 5% and your utilities component goes up by 5%, then you ad these together and get a 10% rise. This wouldn't pass pre-school level mathematics.

Having run through a range of scenarios there is little possibility absent an anomalously whopping land valuation increase that can possibly come up with a 15% increase even as a maximum?

Council during this rates episode dropped the 5% discount for payment on time. That still can't make 15% as a maximum let alone a minimum as claimed. Meanwhile some of us have experienced moderate rate rises (including charges) of almost nothing over the period of this Council after scalding rises of 100% under the previous council. My own rate rises for a strata unit, including those charges, over four years for this Council is about $30, for almost 0%. In the year cited by the King Parrot of a MINUMUM 15% rise, my rates including charges dropped. Thanks Val, where do I send the cheque?

I'm not sure I can support the Getup campaign on Alan Jones this week given that such far more obvious abuses in regional Oz go under the radar. However, references to relevant media bodies for standards must be imminent. On ABC Insiders at the weekend regional Oz was given special attention as an area of media deficiency, rather than the capitals. The standard and concentration of regional media is a bigger problem than any perceived deficiency elsewhere in community leadership.

Yes it's dated, but also demonstrates at a very early stage the visceral approach with contempt for real FACTS.  Maybe some modestly talented journalism supernovas should contemplate their own black hole!

Council rate rises below CPI?

Well that could have been the headline after the latest CPI blew the inflation number for the year ended the June quarter above the most recent CRC 'average' increase for general rates. But no, it was all bananas apparently? Note: inclusive of fees and charges your total rates bill would likely still be above CPI.

Given the prominence pre-budget by Cairns mejia commentariat that there was some mystical link that made it essential for Council rates to always be below CPI there should be cheering in the streets!? Perhaps we should link Council rates to banana prices?

Anyway, the most recent CPI wasn't pretty, although Westpac are staying with their negative scenario fr rate cuts apparently! Many alternative views with regards interest rates, uncertainty, and the two speed economy going around just now. If you believe you know, you probably don't!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The unlocals discount

While waiting for Vietnamese takeaway from First House Pho in Spence St (lookout for the kick on that XO sauce) KS stumbled accross an interesting advertisement just up the road at a sportswear & goods store.

Yes, after operational exercises downunder the US Blue Ridge is back in town. However, is this a good deal for our American visitors? The $AUD has touched $1.10 on the back of the incredibly dysfunctional political standoff in the US on debt ceilings. However as evidenced in the stress being experienced by our discretional retailers and given the price discrepancies between the two nations, it's likely that a US sailor would still be best advised to keep his money in his pocket until he gets home!

The fly-in/fly-out competition

The Sunshine Coast Daily has reported on the competition between regions to become a fly-in/fly-out base for BHP's Caval Ridge coal mine near Moranbah.

BMA is looking hard at Cairns and North Queensland, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba, as well as Brisbane.

“These regions are areas of high skills availability and, in some cases, higher unemployment,” the spokeswoman said.

“The assessment of regional sources for the fly-in, fly-out workforce includes feasibility, labour availability, practicality and impacts on communities of sourcing the fly-in, fly-out workforce from one or more of these centres.”
Presumably the skills shortage in mining is behind the move by BHP to source fly-in/fly-out labour for this project despite not being far distant from the established mining town of Moranbah. This has also drawn criticism from the local community. Previous similar labour arrangements in Central Queensland have usually drawn from nearby coastal centres such as Mackay.

Gold Coast is also making a strong move as a fly-in/fly-out base with a larger population and labour force to draw from. Cairns is noted for making a strong active effort for this business.

Queensland Resource Council CEO Michael Roche said the (Sunshine Coast) council should take a leaf out of the book of other councils.

“Some councils are actively wooing the mining companies. Take Cairns – they are flying a range of industry people in to show what they can offer. They are unashamedly bidding for this business.”

Note: It is frequently forgotten that Cairns has been a significant source of mining labour in the recent past. When KS first came to Cairns in 1991 it was one of the larger mining towns in Australia based on supplying labour for gold mines such as Kidston and Red Dome to the west, and Misima Island in PNG. The decline of gold mining in the nearby regions over recent decades has been significant despite the recent rises in gold prices.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The North Korean Model

Queensland Economy Watch has posted this graph on public servants in Queensland regions. I presume this is Qld public servants?

When KS first fired up Loose Change it was because he despaired at the quality of debate in the Far North, the misrepresentations of the Murdoch Cairns Post, and the subsequent complete failure to properly represent the Cairns community by institutions essential to the proper functioning of a democracy.
What this graph shows is that as long maintained, that any belief that more public servants are needed to stabilise the Cairns economy is misguided. KS did look at the last census data a while ago and came to to the same conclusion, or worse. North Qld and the Far North predominate in public servants, and the other northern capital at Darwin is even more propped up by public funds.

Any economic problem in Northern Australia, and Cairns, is not with deficiency in the size of the public sector but with the private sector (ex - mining). Much of the debate in Cairns seems to be driven around a larger public sector, an outsized military presence, and greater self-suffiency within a protected local economy. If we just buy from each other all will be good? The North Korean model?

cold weather influx?

The Sydney Morning Herald travel section ran a good post at the weekend on the upcoming Cairns Festival. We acclimatised Far Northerners may be shivering with a max yesterday of just 25C in full glorious sunshine, but the southerners are envious of our own perceived misfortune!

Feedback from the KS extended family in NSW is that they are sick of the worst weather experienced in their lifetimes! Well at least since the 1970's which is exactly the same as the Qld floods earlier in the year!

They are freezing and discontented down there! We can offer them respite! My family are expressing unusual request for respite despite some being recent visitors! They are sick of cold and bad weather! Is there a short term marketing campaign for this?

So in a Yasi reverse, is the southern inclemency responsible the current vibrancy in town on the KS EPWI (esplanade people watching index) as southerners flee unusually inclement weather? It's certainly quite vibrant on The Esplanade, and can only guess that some retailers are doing good business on warmer gear. I have rarely seen so much cold weather attire on the Cairns Esplanade!

P.S. On a different take this was noted from the Sunshine Coast this week with references to northern connections and mining.

"It is becoming increasingly evident that there is overwhelming demand for Sunshine Coast Airport to provide flights north to Mackay, Cairns and Townsville."
The Sunshine Coast also sees itself as attractive for fly in-fly out miners. CRC has recently been lobbying with BHP for fly in-fly out mineworkers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Too many big dicks in Cairns?

Groundbreaking economic research just published reveals a strong correlation between the economic performance of a country and the penis size of the male population.

Male Organ and Economic Growth: Does Size Matter?

Tatu Westling
University of Helsinki
Discussion Paper No. 335
July 2011
ISSN 1795-0562


This paper explores the link between economic development and penile length between 1960 and 1985. It estimates an augmented Solow model utilizing the Mankiw-Romer-Weil 121 country dataset. The size of male organ is found to have an inverse U-shaped relationship with the level of GDP in 1985. It can alone explain over 15% of the variation in GDP. The GDP maximizing size is around 13.5 centimetres, and a collapse in economic development is identified as the size of male organ exceeds 16 centimetres. Economic growth between 1960 and 1985 is negatively associated with the size of male organ, and it alone explains 20% of the variation in GDP growth. With due reservations it is also found to be more important determinant of GDP growth than country's political regime type. Controlling for male organ slows convergence and mitigates the negative effect of population growth on economic development slightly. Although all evidence is suggestive at this stage, the `male organ hypothesis' put forward here is robust to exhaustive set of controls and rests on surprisingly strong correlations. JEL Classification: O10, O47

Could this correlation also explain the variation in regional economies within a country and the economic malaise in Cairns? Does Cairns have too many Big Dicks that could do with being lopped, or is the problem at the other end of the scale?! Does Cairns need a penis optimistation strategy? It may be a more productive option than culling flying foxes!

This outstanding research could be a candidate for this years Ig Nobel Awards.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Pessimist State

Macrobusiness has posted the latest Melbourne Institute - Westpac quarterly Consumer House Price Expectations Index and Queensland stands out as The Pessimist State.

Friday, July 15, 2011

ticketlink ticket take

The advantage of online transactions, apart from convenience is that they are usually, and should be, cheaper. The reverse exists in theatre and entertainment bookings. At our local Ticketlink an online booking attracts a $5 surcharge!

This is despite when you book online you are offered no choice of seats other than what is displayed. Is there any reason why a choice of seats can't be offered and a ticket printed out? The entire thing contrasts strongly with the highly competitive airlines where online bookings and seat allocations are now the norm. It has become Dickensian!

KS always looks online for upcoming events and to see how bookings are going and then wanders down to the Ticketlink office at Civic to book the best available seats which are usually better than anything displayed online. Is that the way this should be working?

more unemployment volatility

The latest unemployment numbers for the Far North yet again emphasise the volatility in the  ABS regional data. The Journal of Ignorance has reported (presumably without the need to hack any phones) that the the unemployment rate has fallen again to 8.6% and that the number employed has jumped  to 140,300 the highest since last October.

While this is indeed promising, it is mostly a reversal of last months jump in unemployment. This month the fall was entirely in male unemployment which fell from 11.6% to 7.4% which accounted for almost all the increase in number employed. The participation rate for males also jumped from 72.8%  to 76%.  The unemployment rate for females was actually slightly higher this month.

As previously mentioned subsets in the ABS data are frequently flagged with a warning and this month the male data  was so flagged: "estimate is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes".  The trend is what matters and KS will update with graphs and trends over the weekend.

Cairns Post composted comment of the day:
many people don't want to work look at some suburbs, 100's mill around day in day out, no interest in working, i dont have to describe them any further we know who they are....
Posted by: greg howdy of cairns 4:21pm today
Does anyone hear a dogwhistle?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Queensland Regionalisation Strategy & Infrastructure Plan

A consultation document for the Queensland Regionalisation Strategy has been released.

The Queensland Regionalisation Strategy for public consultation aims to continue the conversation about the future of our regions. It outlines Queensland's long-term vision to identify and prioritise activities that support each region in reaching its economic potential while retaining and enhancing the things we love about our regions.
The public are invited to 'have your say' on what the growth opportunities are in your region and what actions we can take to make the most of these opportunities - now and into the future.

The Queensland Infrastructure Plan has also been released for consultation. The Australian has editorialised that the Bruce Hwy masterplan is too modest and suggests both Federal and State Guvmints "can do better".

Links: Far North Infrastructure Plan (pdf) ; Queensland Ecconomy Watch.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Cairns Post Compost Comment of the Day

Cairns' single women buying properties

Independent lady: Charlotte Sharpe is one of an increasing number of single women entering the property market on their own. It's reflecting a trend of women becoming more independent

She does sure look like a hotty, but there must be something. Maybe she snorts when she laughs or picks things up off the ground with her feet. Not that I'm perfect myself, but no way I'd hook up with a laugh-snorter or foot-picker-upperer. - Posted by: Mark of FNQ 6:13pm Sunday

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Townsville Futures Plan

The release of the  Townsville Futures Plan is sure to provoke plenty of comment in Cairns. Those with  a competitive mindset are likely to react to Townsville vision as the "second capital" of Queensland.

KS is always sceptical of the efficacy of central  planning and visions and would prefer that Cairns differentiate rather than compete although there does appear to be some overlap in current strategy.

Queensland Economy Watch is similarly sceptical of the cloudmap graphic as a basis for any plan. KS notes the inclusion of 'good coffee' in the cloud map and is confident of Far North superiority as a 'coffee capital'.  KS also notes the inclusion of 'visual stimulation' which piques his curiosity as to what could be envisaged?

There is  a State Guvmint Regional Plan for the Far North produced in 2009. There is also a Regional Roadmap from the Feral Guvmint's Regional  Development Australia.

KS yesterday attended a seminar by OESR on the population statistics and projections for Cairns and will update on some of the more salient points later .......

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

volatility, averages, and rates debates

Ex- Councillor Annette Sheppard complained (Cairns Post hardcopy) that the 3.4% average being quoted as a rate rise was misleading as many properties would rise by 7%. When Annette was a  Councillor some properties, including that owned by KS, faced massive rates increases way, way above the averages. The rates at KS bohemian retro Esplanade abode increaed by 40% p.a. in each of two  successive years ..... all under the Guv'nance of Annette and previous Mayor Burns (sic)!

It would be good to have a full property profile of all numbers for CRC. Cairns is probably among the most diverse of local areas in this regard. However, absent the non-disclosure of full relevant information, there will be problems with this in any year where there is a revaluation. Revaluations are now going to happen annually.

It has been three years since Cairns had a revaluation. This was going to happen last year but was rescheduled for specious political reasons by Anna Bligh. What matters for rates is not the absolute value of yor property, but the relative value within the Council area. When the valuations came out back in 2005 the high value areas skyrocketed as they were linked to a national market.

Areas elsewhere in Cairns (from info received directly from Council) started to follow soon after but that  hadn't met the cut off date at the end of October. There were massive divergences in rates increases and the Burns (sic) Council dropped the ball.

A subsequent Council community engagement effort was a farce. Certain written submitters were asked to present directly to Council and KS was among that 'elite'. Mayor Burns (sic) was ignorantly abusive to some presenters and left before KS got to the podium. Sno Bonneau was busy on his laptop.

Despite that, KS walked away on a high only to discover that his submission was the best received but the most ignored ...... sort of like the Henry Tax Review!

Regardless, there IS too much spin in the current Council PR. The contention that the transmission from Unimproved Value to Site Value makes any substantive difference in Cairns is simply wrong from Council and its PR.

If you have a residential house the rate in the dollar on your valuation went up $3.2%. A quick look at the Valuers overview indicates small rises for houses across Cairns during that period  so the average 3.4% should be about right. The minimum rate in Cairns is low by comparison with other Councils and has risen this year by above the average increase. However, all these numbers are too simplistic.

If you own a strata unit the rate in the dollar on your valuation went up 9.9%. At the same time high end Unit land values (such as Port  Douglas and CBD) plumetted so KS actually gets 10% cut in general rates this year! Yippee! At last! Problem is when Unit land valuatons skyrocketed we didn't get the same thing in reverse?

Depends on how your valuation went. What many DON'T know is that Cairns is among the few (only?) large coastal Councils that don't use averaging for Council rates. Most rates (Brisbane, Gold Coast etc), and Land Tax in Qld are the average of the previous three years. This smooths out these fluctuations. KS argued this case at our last episode of volatility some years ago and was ignored, except by then Council CEO David Farmer who congratulated him on the points made.

I am aware that this may not make sense to many, and requires a lot more detail (graphs and examples), and that would not surprise me as most / all Councillors don't also understand. The Cairns Post also this week quoted Ex- Deputy Mayor Terry James on the Council budget. KS retains an email from Terry claiming during that previous Council escalation that KS must have a penthouse on top of a high rise to be paying these rates!

Well no, the complete reverse actually, KS lives in a low rise older Esplanade building. The scarey thing is that Terry James as an experienced Councillor, Deputy Mayor, and involved in strata development, didn't have a damned clue how the ratings system worked for strata valuations. So what chance is there that other Councillors do?

Note: More to follow on Esplanade valuations when time allows on valuations, rates, and strata titles which will include a look at such the Jack & Newell,Trilogy, and Aquarius.

You can find valuation data here until end of month but objections have closed.

No, not the Grange!

COFCO, controlled by the Chinese guvmint, appears to have control of Tully Sugar after announcing today  that they had reached 61.25%. The offer  has been extended by two weeks and COFCO has expressed an interest in acquiring the 30% holding of Mackay Sugar. A shareholding of 90% enables compulsory acquisition of the remainder.

The biggest loser may be Queensland Sugar (QSL) as its marketing supply come under further threat. QSL had problems last season when a poor harvest brought its hedging strategy unstuck with returns to growers subsequently impaired.

Foreign ownership of Australian agricultural  assets has become a big political issue in recent times. Terry McCrann is more concerned by the prospect of Chinese ownership of Grange Hermitage, which he regards as Australia's  greatest global brand. This could also give a new double meaning to 'reds in the cellar'. No! Hang onto the Grange!

Monday, July 4, 2011

dwelling approvals still on way down

"The trend estimate for total number of dwelling units approved in Queensland fell 0.5% in May and has now fallen for six months. The trend estimate for the number of private sector houses fell 0.5% in May and has fallen for 16 months." - ABS

Sunday, July 3, 2011

more vision things

Queensland Economy Watch has a post today on an upcoming Gold Coast Turning Point Summit. It's simply amazing how similar to Cairns is much in this link to the Gold Coast Bulletin:  "The number of building approvals has fallen dramatically and our cultural precinct has been in the "planning" stages since 1968". Despite so much similarity of theme contrast the approach of the Gold Coast Bulletin, in conjunction with Griffith University, compared to our Journal of Ignorance at the Cairns Post and ask yourself again where we fail most?

I like the reference to 'Triumph of the City' from Havard's Ed Glaeser. KS did some researching earlier in the year on regional protection, such as preferential purchasing programs as recently strengthened by Cairns Regional Council (unwisely in my view). The literature is thin but Glaeser's name is certainly the highest profile economist to come up. There is some relevant stuff coming out of depressed areas of the US which deserve a separate post sometime.

Regardless, KS will put this on his reading list and concurs with Glaeser and QEW.

"…all successful cities do have something in common. To thrive cities must attract smart people and enable them to work collaboratively. There is no such thing as a successful city without human capital."
"Too many officials in troubled cities wrongly imagine that they can lead their city back to its former glories with some massive construction project – a new stadium or light rail system, a convention centre, or a housing project. With very few exceptions, no public policy can stem the tidal forces of urban change."

Enough on this for now but it deserves far more. I don't think any of the current strategic direction for Cairns is actually too far away from this approach or too faraway fom where it spould be. Cairns has much going for it if it "co-operates with the inevitable", as suggested  by Glaeser, and is well positioned for trends in agriculture, mining services, education, and proximity to the largest growing middle class in world history.

Go West Sailor!

The always interesting demographer Bernard Salt has a take on the move to bolster Australia's northern defence:

"consideration of military establishments across the continent reveals a gaping hole in the Pilbara and the Kimberley. We have Lavarack Barracks in Townsville to protect the northeast (and possibly a hangover from the threat imposed by the Battle of the Coral Sea) and Robertson Barracks in Darwin to protect the top end and which was beefed up during the Timor Crisis. And then we have nothing on the coast all the way around to Perth."

Salt is referring to the Force Posture Review which inspired the recent enthusiasm for an expansion of HMAS Cairns to rescue the local economy. There may be merit in some expansion, however it is evident from the Ministerial PR (Smith is a West Australian who slammed the Audstralian cricket selectors for dumping Simon Katich) that the primary focus is really on the North West. We posted recently (below) on the massive resource expansion from the North West (LNG and Iron Ore) which are now dominant economic assets.

"Force posture" refers to the strategic distribution of military assets relative to critical infrastructure and population centres. There has been no significant change in Australia's population distribution in the past 50 years (the eastern seaboard still dominates), but there has been a dramatic shift in the location of strategic assets, and this of itself warrants a military response.

Salt has also previously commented on this and in historical context even queries the prominence of the Townsville army base, which has only recently been expanded. Salt envisions Karratha and Broome as cities of 50,000 to 100,000 people.

As previously posted Defence has a poor record for management efficiency, especially  the current naval expansion, and waste can't be afforded. Expansion of HMAS Cairns may have more to with politics and the US Alliance (also doing a global review) that any national strategic objectives.

The Cairns Cargo Cult are like a group of boys down on the inlet with their model boats waiting for their ship to come in and deliver prosperity. In a similar vein I note the recent comments at Queensland Economy Watch on the proposal to relocate public servants.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

the vision thing

Well, the Cairns Regional Council budget this week provoked some interest with the Journal of Ignorance (aka Cairns Post) standing out in an irrationally strident response. The Journal seems to have been caught with an incorrect (or misunderstood?) leak earlier in the week,  and responded by simply lashing out like a mindless buffoon.

Without drilling down in a micro sense, this is a pretty responsible macro budget for a Council in the position that Cairns is. It's a small sustainable deficit with a modest rate rise which is appropriate at this time. Details on debate over components and where the money will be spent will always happen as they should. ABC Far North radio reported that Cairns economist Bill Cummings said the council appears to have done a good job: "Overall, I think the budget strategy is appropriate in the current circumstances, to keep rate increases down by running a deficit," he said.

The response at The Journal is "where's the big vision?". At the same time their key front page judgement criteria are footpaths and safety cameras? It was George Bush One who made famous the phrase "the vision thing" during the 1992 US Presidential election.

It's curious that the Journal give the Council a big tick for strategy but not "the vision thing" when these two words so frequently correlate in corporate life. Perhaps there is something here in research that when it comes to strategy "women fell significantly behind in one key area: vision" or is that more perception?

"First, women may have a vision but they may be using a different process to develop their long-term strategy. Women may work with teams and collaborate to find direction. In business, peers and managers may not value that collaborative process as much as they value someone who appears to come up with a vision independently." 

This almost exactly replicates the criticims by the King Parrot of the Mayor for exactly the same reasons, I would have thought? Is the problem in Cairns that she is a woman (without balls) who is not within their milieu? The Federal election for Leichhardt made national media in 2007 over the issue of whether a woman was even approppriate for Leichhardt.

Perhaps the Journal pyne (sic) for the days of ex Mayor Byrne. Back in his footpath office at Villa Romana and plied with ample red wine KS has no doubt that the "vision thing" with spill out everywhere and run amok! Plans for water pipelines from PNG to Brisbane can be done on the back of drink coasters. Jetstar will commence direct flights to Islamabad and property developers will flock bearing bags bulging with Pakistani ruppee. Vision things don't happen at CWA meeting ya know girls, get back to the sponge cakes and lamingtons!

And action ...... bowel movements more likely? The Ex-Mayor bears a disturbingly close resemblance to the Mayor of Porpoise Spit from Muriel's Wedding.

Meanwhile, the extraordinary approach from the Journal of Ignorance and its King Parrot has drawn the attention of Hillbillywatch. Elsewhere, Leigh Dall'Osto lifts the toilet seat on the ablutions budget. There is no other reasonable commentary in Cairns. The sadly pathetic blogger RAJ continues to chase irrelevant factoids absent any comprehensional capability in an ongoing display of spiralling mental deterioration.

Note: Sorry for rant will come back to original intent of rates debates and property volatility later .......

Friday, July 1, 2011

Study Cairns?

The Journal of Ignorance has a post today on the education industry in Cairns.

"Worth $100 million it is in the top four industries in Cairns but international student numbers have dropped about 20 per cent."

All to blame says the Journal are "strong Australian dollar, global financial crisis and natural disasters". Well no, and KS has previously queried what is going on and the absence of coverage in Cairns on this. 

ABC business commentator Alan Kohler posted on this as far  back as February last year. How to crush an export boom: "Just when you might have thought the policy shambles that is wrecking Australia’s third biggest export industry – education – couldn’t get worse, the Immigration Minister Chris Evans has hopped on a bulldozer to finish the job."

Deliberate Federal Guvmint policy on immigration and student visas has placed the industry in crisis. Stephen King from Melbourne Business School at  Monash has also weighed in here: "Back in February I noted the problems that changes to visa laws for international students would create for Australian universities. Well, guess what? Despite the numerous warnings by the university sector, visa law changes are now biting and are undermining one of Australia’s largest export industries." 

My anecdotal understanding from informal queries that JCU is not  faring too badly compared to others. When Wayne Swan did his online coffee chat with Gavin King some months ago he specifically referred to education as a growth sector for Cairns. KS queried why then the Federal Guvmint had adopted deliberate policy contrary to this, which was unanswered. The visionary King Parrot was busy squawking on more public servants for Cairns! What a vision!

The silence of the LNP Feral Member for Leichhardt is even more curious?