Monday, 25 July 2011

Cairns Entertainment precinct won't be a burden to Cairns ratepayers, Mayor promises


Cairns Mayor Val Schier believes the entertainment precinct will be affordable and accepted by residents as the State Government vows to scrutinise the impact on ratepayers.

In a letter to Cairns resident Barry Neall, an adviser to Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the Government was aware of community concern about the project and the potential impact on council rates.

The letter asserts the Government is still waiting on a business case – due at the end of the year – before it considers any further funding beyond its current contribution of gifted waterfront port land and a $2.5 million planning grant.

"I am confident that when the business case is completed that it will indicate that the building can be constructed, that it is affordable," Cr Schier said.

"We are working on the basis of need and responding to all the user groups. "All of this should be reassuring to the public once it is eventually finished."

Mr Neall, who has established a residents’ group called Cairns Community Council Watch to campaign against the entertainment precinct, questioned why the project had been allowed to progress to its current design stage without any further commitment of funding.

"You are correct in noting that the Queensland Government has made no further commitment to the project at this stage and this is reflected in the 2011-12 Budget papers," the letter said.

"Both the Queensland and Australian Governments have indicated that any level of funding provided will be based on a one third share each and would require commitment by all three levels of government.

"You can rest assured the Queensland Government is interested in the size and cost of the proposed precinct and its impact on the council’s current business."Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch has called for the $240 million precinct cost to be scaled back to $100 million.

Author | Source | Gavin King |The Cairns Post | July 25th

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