Sunday 15 January 2012

Cairns needs a new direction...

To all candidates/teams in the Cairns Regional Council election. 
A topic that needs to be addressed is the diversification of the economic base of Cairns.
We all well know that Cairns and region is again going through tough times. There seems to be a constant cycle of boom/bust in the Cairns economy. Putting all your eggs in the one basket via Tourism is what is creating this disturbing cycle.
Cairns Regional Council supports financially via grants etc. several bodies that are supposedly designed to promote Cairns in various ways.
I believe these bodies should be disbanded/restructured and an 'umbrella body' with various units set up to coordinate action that would diversify and nurture sustainable growth.
It is obvious that the current set up is not working satisfactorily. Townsville City could be a template we all could examine as they do not have an obvious boom/bust economic cycle.
I would welcome the current Mayor Val Schier contribution to this forum on this and other integral issues. Leadership is eagerly awaited. 
Ross Parisi
Addendum as per my Facebook page

I do not wish to stifle further constructive debate (and I have been encouraged by the diversity of views including the welcomed input of the Mayor Val Schier) but I promised that I would add some flesh to bones laid bare this morning. Feel free to add more thoughts. 

It is fair to say that Cairns region has been affected by the Global Financial Crisis more so than other regional cities. In fact Cairns at one stage had the highest rate of unemployment in regional Australia. I find it astonishing that if tourism represents only 20% of our economic base why is it then that we have such an apparent downturn in our local economy?

The funding package promised by the Federal Government toward the CEP was in lieu of the stimulus package given 2 years ago to other regional cities. Perhaps there being no immediate stimulus may have had an adverse impact on our local economy.

Val, thank you for outlining the capital works programme and initiatives of the Council under your administration. My concern nevertheless is still relevant. Cairns, I do not believe has been served well by the disparate advocacy groups that have been set up rather in a knee jerk reaction to perceived short comings. Am unsure of the exact amount but I understand over $1 million from general revenue is granted to these groups annually.

I believe there need to be a complete revamping of the promotional strategy that currently is Council policy. A new broom needs to be used to sweep away all the current bodies that have proved less than beneficial in the boom/bust cycle. The majority of views expressed on this medium are consistent with mine and that is the Cairns Regional Council should sponsor/promote a single ‘umbrella like’ group with various internal units. Similar to the role of the State Co-ordinator General. The Council Agency would co- ordinate the various unit under a common vision and direction as directed by Council. The members would include the various sectors of the economy including University personnel and a representative of the Union movement.

I believe, properly explained to the community a promotional levy could be used to funds the organisation instead of an open ended system that is in place currently. This would also ensure continuity and certainty of funding as opposed to the fickle arrangements that currently exist.  Look forward to the view of interested individuals.

Ross Parisi
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