Saturday, March 28, 2015

Weekend Post Blues

Two items in this weekend's Cairns Post I considered may warrant some closer analysis and response:

Housing and development on the rise in Cairns, outstripping rival cities, including Townsville

Mission Beach’s exorbitant rates need to be reigned in

Then I considered the personal consequences:

Why let the Cairns Post spoil my weekend?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Queensland no longer outstripping nation

26 March 2015
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Queensland no longer outstripping nation

Queensland's population growth has slowed to its lowest rate in 15 years, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

"The sunshine state's growth rate was 1.5 per cent in the year to September 2014." said Phil Browning from the ABS. "While this is similar to the national growth rate, it is well below the state's 15-year average annual rate of 2.1 per cent,"

"This slower growth is due to a nine year low in the state's net overseas migration and one of the lowest net interstate migration increases in over 30 years.

"Western Australia's growth has also slowed considerably to 2.1 per cent in the year to September 2014 - its lowest rate in over nine years and down from a high of 3.7 per cent two years ago.

"This is partly due to a drop in net interstate migration from 11,400 people two years ago to just 300," said Mr Browning.

Australia's total population increased by 354,600 people to reach 23.6 million by the end of September 2014, a growth rate of 1.5 per cent.

Over the year, natural increase contributed 150,700 people to Australia's population, made up of 303,000 births (3.0 per cent lower than the previous year) and 152,300 deaths (3.3 per cent higher than the previous year).

In the same period, overseas migration contributed 203,900 people to the population (12.8 per cent lower than the previous year), and accounted for 57 per cent of Australia's total population growth.

Further information is available in Australian Demographic Statistics, September Quarter 2014 (cat. no. 3101.0).

For population estimates at the regional level, please see Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2013-14 (cat. no. 3218.0) and Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 3235.0), available for free download from

Population at end Sep qtr 2014
Change over previous year
Change over previous year

New South Wales
7 544.5
5 866.3
4 740.9
South Australia
1 688.7
Western Australia
2 589.1
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Australia (a)
23 581.0

(a) Includes Other Territories comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Video: Take a look at the latest Demography video (available from 12:30pm today).

Queensland Economy Watch: Net interstate migration to Qld remains at low levels

Friday, March 20, 2015

Insights from the Australian Tourism Industry

Following on from the February traffic update for Cairns Airport are similar reports for Sydney and Melbourne: Sydney Airport traffic grows in February

There is also a link at that post to an article in the current March Quarter RBA Bulletin: Insights from the Australian Tourism Industry

This is a good summary of recent history and current state of play and status of tourism :

There is a particular focus on China. It also contains a large number of (sometimes perplexing) graphs:


Whitsundays and no TNQ in the leisure quadrant? Oh dear RBA. Hang your head in shame!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chinese new year boost for airport

With the Chinese New Year falling entirely in February there were some big increases in both domestic and international traffic at Cairns Airport. Domestic was up 10.1% and International up 12.6% compared to the previous February. While this follows on from a negative month in January there is some positive commentary from the airport on the international performance which may finally be turning around:
International passenger growth was driven by Chinese New Year flights and more passenger flying between Cairns and Japan.
Combined, passengers on flights to Guam, Hong Kong, Osaka and Tokyo increased 4,400 (+17%) compared to February 2014.
Between December and February, 18,800 Chinese passport holders used T1, which was an increase of 4,300 (+30%) to the same period last year (Department of Immigration data).
The growth of Chinese New Year visitors means that the number of passengers using T1 each day in February is now comparable to the traditional peak month of August.
The domestic passenger growth was supported by the strong international performance.
Counter-seasonality remains a key feature of Chinese tourism for TNQ.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Dalton Atlas

The Cairns Post tries to locate Century Mine:
A MINE north-west of Cairns in the process of shutting down is the star of Hong Kong-based MMG Ltd’s 2014 financial performance.
The annual report says the mine, which is in the Gulf of Carpentaria, achieved annual records in mining and processing last year, which helped alleviate decreasing zinc feed grades that were expected from the final stages.

Well I guess Nick Dalton gets something right. If Century was north-west of Cairns it literally would be "in" the Gulf of Carpentaria. o_O

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jumbo jets arriving via Bruce Hwy

The Domestic Visitor Survey was out this week and Conus has posted that the numbers are not really too flattering for Queensland despite some spin from TEQ: Domestic visitors rise but QLD slips even further
In TNQ the story gets worse. Although visitor numbers were up 5.7% (marginally better than the QLD average, but well below the national rate), average visitor expenditure fell by 8.1% over the course of the year. Bear in mind that these are nominal expenditure figures and do not therefore account for inflation. The real fall in average visitor expenditure is therefore close to 10%. Total expenditure rose just 1.3%.
Nick Dalton certainly did his bit for a more positive spin at the Cairns Post:  Aussies visiting tropical north top 1.7m and spend $1.7bn
MORE than 3400 jumbo jet-loads of Aussies visited the Far North last year, totalling 1.7 million people, with 90,000 travellers – or 180 jumbos – more than visited in 2013.
Total visitors were actually 1,683,000 so didn't quite "top 1.7m". Never mind, all we need now is a mode of transport breakdown to be able to work out how many jumbo jets arrived along the Bruce Highway.

I expect an imminent report from the Cairns Post on how many Olympic swimming pools of water fell on the city yesterday.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Yes we still have bananas

Perhaps we have become immune to continual threats and media hype related to medical and biosecurity threats. So the recent reports of Panama disease among the Cassowary Coast banana crop was something I hadn't really looked at.

Banana industry braces for biosecurity battle against deadly Panama tropical race 4

Wikipedia is not the most authoritative source but the disease has an interesting history. The Gros Michel banana variety which had been the principal commercial variety before WW2 was all but wiped out by Panama disease.

The impact of the disease was apparently even responsible for the song "yes we have no bananas". The Cavendish banana was apparently introduced for its resistance. Some interesting issues related to the genetics of bananas.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cairns land valuations 2015

2015 Annual Land Valuations were released this week. The median residential land valuation in Cairns LGA increased by 12.9% and the spread between suburbs looks like this:

I was surprised to see Edge Hill listed with an increase of 18% this year as it led the way last year with an increase of 21.1%. However there is a problem with this based on my data from last year:
              Properties          Current Median        New Median       Change
2014          1,203                 $177,500                  $215,000           21.1%
2015          1,311                 $200,000                  $235,000            18%

There are a couple with an anomaly like this and substantial differences between the number of properties listed for each suburb so it would be nice if the Valuer-General could at least post comparable data. Perhaps there was a subsequent adjustment for valuation objections after last years hike?

Machans, Holloways and Yorkeys led the way this year although they all missed out on any increase last year when there were modest increases elsewhere on the north side and beaches. Palm Cove increased by 9.8% last year but there is also an anomaly in the median data here also and an increase over two years around 18%.

Those valuations relate only to residential land which doesn't include multi-unit properties. The reported increase across all land classifications in Cairns was 8.9% in total value and details of the different classification are published in the Valuer-General’s 2015 Report on land values . Change in total value by classification:

Multi-unit:      +1.7%
Commercial:  +0.7%
Industrial:       +0.6%
Primary:         -0.5%

A quick browse through some of the data and it appears that despite the residential land increases at Yorkeys the multi-unit valuations along Sims Esplanade didn't shift. There are some increases up to around 10% along Vasey Esplanade at Trinity Beach. In the city Esplanade multi-unit values remain stuck in the cellar about 35% below the peak *sob*.

An interesting comparison between local government areas from the V-G's report:

Further commentary including the Cassowary Coast at Conus: Valuer-General’s 2015 Report on land values 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Not so wow Macau

The Chinese New Year didn't save Macau gaming revenues in February which were down 48.6% on the previous year. However that apparently was better than some were expecting in Hong Kong: Macau Casino Revenue Has Record 49% Slump on Weak Demand

That now takes the 12 month rolling average well into negative territory down 12.2%

The previously released quarterly data which provides a breakdown of different games shows the downturn in gaming revenues has been pretty much all VIP Baccarat with the mass market segment continuing to grow in 2014: 

Meanwhile in other news this week the Friendly Fung Family have bought the Gold Coast horse racing properties of boganaire Nathan Tinkler: Tony Fung purchases Nathan Tinkler’s Gold Coast horse racing operation

These were previously passed in at auction where it had been reported that Michael King had been bidding for unnamed Hong Kong interests. King has recently been moved on from his role at Aquis and is still to face charges from ASIC over the collapse of his MFS group.