Tuesday, 1 May 2012

New Cairns Mayor Bob back to basics

Daniel Strudwick
Monday, April 30, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Well done: New mayor of Cairns, Bob Manning, and his wife Claire, with a congratulatory sign an unknown person placed at their doorstep yesterday morning. Picture: MIKE WATT

BOB Manning will act quickly as the new mayor of Cairns to ensure the struggling community that elected him begins to get a reprieve from the sky-rocketing cost of living.

After a campaign built on back-to-basics promises, Mr Manning says his landslide victory is a mandate from the people of Cairns to tighten the council’s belt and pass on the savings.

His first order of business will be "serious briefings" from Cairns Regional Council’s top brass so that the incoming group of councillors is fully aware of the region’s financial position. Attention will then turn to the Unity council’s inaugural Budget, to be handed down in the coming months.

"We want to go into this Budget holding things as tight as we possibly can, because the cost of living is such an important issue for our people," he told The Cairns Post yesterday. "There are some assumptions in the Budget in regard to the entertainment precinct and perhaps some other major projects that will have to be revised and that may have a positive impact on the Budget," Mr Manning said.

As ballot counting resumes this morning, Mr Manning has clinched 56 per cent of the primary vote and easily seized the mayoralty from Val Schier. He will have the backing of a supportive majority in the council chamber, unlike the outgoing mayor, Ms Schier, whose single term was dogged by a deep divide between councillors.

Six of Mr Manning’s Unity team are poised for election, and the remaining four councillors will likely be independents. The Far North’s swing towards a conservative-led council reflects the results of the recent state election, when three of Labor’s longest-held seats in the region fell easily to the LNP.

Mr Manning has already received phone calls from the new LNP Premier Campbell Newman and the state’s Local Government Minister, David Crisafulli, welcoming him to the role. "We can’t go head-to-head with Brisbane, we need to be working with them,’ Mr Manning said.

He will attend a meeting with Mr Crisafulli soon to discuss the upcoming term and the controversial entertainment precinct, which faces an uncertain future. He acknowledges that tourism will remain Cairns’ biggest industry, but hopes to support the region’s nascent employers such as mining, the marine sector and tertiary education.

Mr Manning, 66, said he decided to run for the council when Cairns lost the $300 million contract to build an air warfare destroyer for the navy in 2009. "It was just so unjust, so stupid to Cairns, and I decided that I couldn’t just sit back when it seemed like no one was standing up for our city."

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  1. Alison Alloway1 May 2012 at 20:49

    There can be no congratulations here. The hate campaign against the previous Mayor, Val Schier, over a four year long period was so intense and relentless that a dead dog would have easily won this election. It is not a "victory" based on hard work in the community, but a win for a ruthless Goebbels style propaganda machine which turned the Entertainment Precinct into a weapon of war. Cunning sophistry and political chicanery was used ruthlessly to con Cairns people out of a brand new performming arts theatre, leaving the community with a rapidly ageing and fast deteriorating one with no money to build another. The deterioration of the Civic Theatre was, in fact, the catalyst for a new one, though this fact became lost during the hysterical conflict. The end result could well be a massive Class Action Suit against the current Council should there be an incident involving injury or loss of life at the deteriorating Civic Theatre, an event which ironically would cost the ratepayers far far more than any extra costs associated with the Entertainment Precinct.

  2. This an absolute pork pie in regard to the $300million Contract. This had nothing to do with Council. Manning went off and did a secret squirrel business tender without even speaking to Council; the State Government; Advance Cairns; The Chamber of Commerce and TTNQ until the very last minute. He lied and told the Feds that NQEA could raise $100M Guarantee when he had made no approaches to anyone to assist with the Guarantee. Treasurer Andrew Fraser refused to come to the Table because he had not seen any support from anyone else in Cairns. The tender went to Victoria and then Manning blamed everyone else for the loss. Lets hope he doesn't continue to act as a one man band as he has done often in the past.

  3. His "reasons" for contesting the Mayoralty as he has described above, are not the functions of a Council, but that of the Federal Government. He seems very confused over what is a Mayor's responsibility,


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