Phew! Is it safe to stick our head up?
Strewth! has been absolutely flabbergasted by the viperous bile and vitriol spewing out of the Tim Waldron-Nancy Bates-Ted Sorensen axis over the AEC Group review into Wide Bay Water Corporation.
Today was the latest in a four-day onslaught in the Chronicle which has now seen Wide Bay Water staff trotted out defending their jobs, not that anyone was ever critical of them. But when Tiny Tim says jump you don’t ask why but how high.
Strewth! is considering lodging a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over Monday’s Page 3 effort in the Chronicle for not carrying the legally required “Advertising feature” banner across the top of the page.
After all, the only advertisement on the whole page was from Wide Bay Water so at least we know who’s paying for it. Yeah, that’s right, it’s us, the ratepayers.
As pointed out in the comments elsewhere, the response has been a classic search and destroy job – discredit the report and malign anyone who might have been associated with it. On no account address the issues raised therein.
The axis powers would do well to take themselves in check with their demolition job on one of Queensland’s most respected consultancies.
Go here to see the response the AEC Group, authors of the review, have posted on their website.
Much of what Bates has allowed into print could easily be construed by a jury to be injurious to the good name of a respected company and it would not surprise Strewth! if the writs start flying.
If it does happen it’ll cost Australian Provincial Newspapers a lot more than the last defamation action Bates lost.
And so it goes.
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Strewth! has deliberately not posted for the past few days since releasing the AEC review to allow it to be digested without any extraneous clutter on the blog diverting attention from it.
That, of course means that today we have some catching up to do. Among the correspondents today we have Dot from the Burnett asking why their council isn’t looking after ratepayers there. (Looks like word of our presence is spreading. We may have to put on more staff if this keeps up.)
Then there’s Isaac telling us why Gerard O’Connell has lost his vote, Urangan’s Concerned Ratepayer poses more curly questions about the review of Wide Bay Water and Mayoral candidate John Neve tackles the question of regional unemployment and his cure for it.
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Know who your mates are
Here’s what Isaac has to say but please note, Strewth! has had to moderate some obviously litigious comments (sorry Isaac):
Well another day in politics and some big surprises!
Here I was debating whether Cr Gerard O’Connell was worth voting for. Yes, I know his Number 1 fan is Nancy at the Comical but I didn’t think our Gerard was too bad. That was until yesterday.
On driving into Maryborough late Wednesday what did I spy but a huge colourful billboard extolling the virtues of the one and only great white hope Gerard! Not only was the sign huge in size it automatically smelled of “developer” funding. After all, these signs don’t come cheap!
Now Maryborough Council has a policy on the size, location and quantity (10) of election signs that a candidate can use. Surely a Maryborough councillor as clever as Gerard would know the contents of his own Council policy.
It seems he didn’t. So the billboard was a case of now you see it now you don’t and is there no longer.
I expect someone from Maryborough Council advised Gerard that not only did his billboard breach the size limit but it was also located on the airport land. You guessed it, that is also a huge “no no”.
Did anyone notice the photo in the Comical today. A strategically placed billboard can be clearly seen behind the big fallen gum tree. If that isn’t a blatant case of totally biased reporting and a free plug, I don’t know what is!
Most independent candidates have to part with their hard-earned money to get such exposure.
Now, when I thought things couldn’t get worse for Gerard, I open the Hervey Bay Independent newspaper to spy Gerard’s latest advert. Lo and behold we have the ex Hervey Bay CEO Mr Leigh Bennett extolling Gerard’s many virtues.
Now anyone reading this site will have read a very apt description of (w)hat Mr Bennett made of running Hervey Bay Council. Not forgetting the ample assistance he received from the retiring mayor Ted Sorryson.
Both Mr Henderson (got rid of for exposing the mess) and now Mr David King are still trying to clean up the disasters that they inherited such as an Airport Industrial Estate which was so poorly managed through a joint venture agreement that millions of dollars in potential earnings have been lost to the city.
Whatever you do now Gerard you have lost me forever. I hope that everyone else can now see clearly where you are coming from. I am so glad I realised before the election, and not afterwards, who your mates are!
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Unbelievable if it’s true
Concerned Ratepayer writes:
I have just read a summary of the report commissioned by council, and done by the AEC Group on the performance of Wide Bay Water.
This was brought to my attention when I read Strewth! and then highlighted after seeing the Mayor of Hervey Bay on the local TV news, criticising the report.
This is a report that I believe the current council voted to bury, apart from Sue Brooks, who wanted it published and she should be congratulated for her stand on this matter.
I believe this report was commissioned by council using ratepayer funds, and the Chronicle on Friday stated it had cost $55,000 to have it prepared.
If it is such a poor and inaccurate report, was AEC Group who prepared it, informed of this at the time the report was initially tabled, and the fee not paid, or is this only a recent revelation, after the report was brought into the open?
Nancy Bates in her editorial for the Chronicle on 23rd January states that it was discredited by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
If this is so,
a) who engaged them?
b) when were they engaged?
c) how much were they paid?
d) if they were paid, who paid them?
I am not saying this happened, but it is possible to get different results, depending on the parameters laid down.
This report has been “regurgitated” as Nancy has quoted in her editorial, but only because no-one other than her quoted, so called “intelligent councillors” knew about it, except for an unknown person who believed it would be in the publics’ interest if it was brought into the open.
If it’s our money being spent ($55,000), and the councillors (who are our elected representatives) authorised it, surely we have the right to know where our ratepayers’ money is going and make an informed opinion.
As this appears to be secret council business that the public was to be kept in the dark about, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all bury anything we didn’t like in life, especially when others are paying for it.
I once again stress that it was obviously a person in authority who instigated this report on WBWC and if it was faulty when presented the problems should have been addressed, not buried.
It reminds me of school children, who when found out for doing something wrong, simply deny everything.
While not denying the achievements made by WBWC, which have been so well publicised in the Chronicle over the years, and their specialised water management systems, which are recognised globally, from the report findings, I believe there has to be more accountability in their general management, especially towards council.
I urge everyone to consider your vote carefully when voting in the upcoming elections as I believe it is time that many of the current councillors should step down to make way for those with the expertise required for an expanded council. I urge the new council to streamline Wide Bay Water and make it more accountable.
After reading the report it is obvious to me that Wide Bay Water should be de-corporatised and once again be a business unit of HBCC and the new expanded council and thus reduce its running costs.
The removal of the board and streamlining of duplicated services will help achieve this.
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No five-minute solution
Mayoral candidate John Neve writes:
Protege’s post (February 22) raises a real problem for the Fraser Coast Region. The answer is not simple and won’t be fixed in five minutes.
The bulk of our employment is either tourist or service industry, we have few large productive industries.
Tourism employs in direct relationship to the number of tourists, local service industries are not only effected by tourism, but being small or one-person shows are forced to drop staff and apprentices as the work drops off. Apprentices will not be picked up by other trades people as they will be in the same position.
Our region needs to take a look at other areas with poor employment options. Cheap industrial land, reduced rates for industry, industrial land opened up close to rail and highway. We need to be looking for light, clean, niche industries.
Council gets no revenue from vacant industrial land, any income is better than no income. So let’s give a little and make the region appealing to new industries.
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Dot from the Burnett writes:
Duffy and his mates in council also managed to get boat ramp funding for a ramp in Burnett Downs on the north side of Burnett River – without community consultation. The roads to it through the residential estate are already a mess and council claims not to be able to afford upkeep, but can afford to build the new car park for the boaties. Was there ever an EPA check? Who knows?
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Darren Edmonds Writes that there’s raw sewage in Eli Creek at Point Vernon and he has an independently completed scientific report confirming it. Here’s what he has to say (Strewth! write: We’ve also had to moderate some of Edmonds’ comments):
Pease give my phone number to Bob Chambers, Ernie Pulsor , John Horrex, Paul Hefferran and John Neve.
Mick Kruger in my opinion is a dead wood branch from the dead wood tree.
My phone number for who would like to be the next Mayor is 07 41243415 m 0419984149.
This report has the support and backing of ACTEW in Canberra and I have photos of coral reefs before and after as well.
The report has been duplicated and sent to every embassy in Canberra so every country knows that Tim Waldron doesn’t practice what he preaches.
Both newspapers have been informed and neither want to do a story on it as Wide Bay Water simply pays them too much money.
Haley from the Chronicle stated that there is no way Nancy would appove this story – I don’t hate Haley – I hate her boss.
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I. Scream writes:
I recently read that the Fraser Coast Local Transition CEO, said words to the effect that the Executive members would not be getting pay rises to go with their new positions.
I have heard rumours that at least one of these directors etc has already received courtesy of ex HBCC CEO Henderson, a massive salary increase of up to 50% equating to an increase of $50,000.00 per year. If true, not bad for someone with very little formal qualifications.
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A. Nonymous writes:
Maybe the investigative powers of Strewth! can uncover the vast amounts of property acquired by a soon to be redundant Tiaro Big Wig , who then, in their lofty position, zoned the said land commercial/industrial. Insider trading by any other mans language.
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