Magnetic Island North Queensland
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November 25th 2012
Opposition leader says Hathaway should resign over Rec Camp closure

Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Magnetic Island Recreation Camp Queensland’s Leader of the Opposition, Annastacia Palaszczuk, visited Magnetic Island on Friday and called on our local LNP Member, John Hathaway, to resign for not representing the Magnetic Island community’s calls to stop the government from closing the Magnetic Island Recreation Camp at Picnic Bay.

The visit by the Opposition Leader adds extra energy to the campaign to fight the camp’s closure and is likely to draw the Island issue into the broader state-wide, political arena.

Annastacia Palaszczuk told Magnetic Times of the wider interest the camps closure was having due to the impact it will have on school students from other parts of the state - particularly in Mount Isa.

“Spinafex College (Mt Isa) students sat me down for an hour and went through how important the camp was to them,” she said.

“They told me how their brothers and sisters went to the camp and of their personal development. How they grew from young students to more mature students leading into adulthood. They told me of the life-long friendships they formed, how they bonded with their teachers.

“I heard about the non-use of their tech devices - how at the end (of the camp) they wouldn’t be touching those facilities.”

“It’s something they all look forward to. The way they explain it is that it’s something they will remember for their lifetime.”

“I can’t understand a government that, before the election, never mentioned the closure of this centre and now plans to close it down without any consultation.”

One of the organisers of the petition to save the camp, David ‘Crusty’ Herron told Magnetic Times that apart from the response we published from John Hathaway (Click here) he and the three others organising to save the camp had had no response from John Hathaway in about ten weeks.

David 'Crusty' Heron with Annastacia Palaszczuk at the
Magnetic Island Recreation Camp on Friday

“We have sent emails and repeated phone calls (to John Hathaway’s office) - particularly regarding our petition to save the camp. Each time his staff said he’d get back but not once has he tried to get back to any of the three of us. That’s why we eventually went with Bob Katter who has supported us,” said Crusty, adding, ‘I’m very disappointed with our non-representative representative!”

Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “Every resident has the right to to feel angry. Every resident has the right to make representations to their local member. John Hathaway should be over here talking to people. He should be representing his community on the floor of parliament. If he can’t do that he should resign. If you are a state member of parliament there is nothing more important than the community you represent!”

On the impact of the closure to Magnetic Island’s economy, the Opposition Leader said, “The Rec Camp would have employed a number of people here. What are those people going to do? We don’t know what the future is.

“The government has shut up shop across Queensland and now we see it is happening on Magnetic Island.”

Ms Palaszczuk was also concerned at the camp’s loss as a disaster relief and recovery centre. “You need something like that on an island,” she said.

As for advising locals on how to keep the pressure up, Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “The e-petition (Click here) was very important and social media (Click here) was very important in getting the message out as well.

“People should demand that their local member sit down and have a face to face meeting with them. And if he wont listen people have a clear alternative. That is to vote that member out!”

Story and photos: George Hirst

Opposition leader says Hathaway should resign over Rec Camp closure
November 25th 2012
"One of the organisers of the petition to save the camp, David ‘Crusty’ Herron told Magnetic Times that apart from the response we published from John Hathaway"

After what you said on ACA Crusty, who could take you seriously. You are one hell of a grand stander anything to get yourself noticed, whatever the cause.

John Hathaway has broached this subject with the relevant associations on the Island, he works tirelessly for Magnetic Island and he's smart enough to know you can't flog a dead horse. For goodness sake ,surely what the government is proposing isn't so bad, private enterprise isn't a dirty word. The new private operators will be able to contact all past attendants that have been to the camp and offer the new facilities to them.

And who is Anna ??? Opposition of a party that
IS no party...great Crusty, that you got the big guns to take notice of you.
David Crusty Herron
November 25th 2012
We understand that the government does need money. And that the government will not continue managing the camp. A Private operator will manage it better than the department of communities or any government could. That is accepted. But... and a big but.

Decommissioning is not an option. Decommissioning the Magnetic Island Active Recreation Centre and only designated Disaster Relief & Recovery Centre with no alternate facility available is not an option for this year’s cyclone/wet season. The Centre cannot be decommissioned. The decision to decommission the centre was made without consideration of regulatory guidelines

Premier Newman, Minister Dickson and Senior Bureaucrat Ashton have got it wrong!

To ensure that the centre will continue to cater to the school visitor groups that traditionally makes up the major market segment and incoming revenue source and that the centre stays online as the island’s relief & recovery centre there are only two options. The first (1.) will not happen leaving the second (2.) as an acceptable option and (3.)If/when option 2. is unacceptable.

1. The camp either stays open under government control to operate as it has and the cancelled bookings to be restored (impossible)OR

2. The Camp stays open to operate as it has. The cancelled bookings could be restored with the government continuing to manage the camp during a transitional operating period until the private operator takes over after 1 July 2013 - OR

3. The camp is not to be decommissioned but is closed to clients until the new operator takes over.

We get to retain what is ours in the meantime with the imminent cyclone season - our only designated relief and recovery centre.

Don't decommission our camp! Only 3 days left to sign the petition and 24 days to lockout and decommissioning.
November 25th 2012
On another issue, funding for the Child care centre, my wife sent a letter to John Hathaway. She checked with the receptionist he received it, which the office did. No acknowledgement of the letter was sent. No correspondence given. Every other member or interested party responded. Fortunately this state government increased the funding for this child care centre. Maybe JH was hard at work on it, but how would we know. He is not doing his office or position any benefit by not consulting with the constituents. Unfortunately Sue, anything can be inferred by his 'no response' on issues.
November 25th 2012
Good on you Annastacia
Shame on Hathaway and the Newman government
November 26th 2012
I have taken a number of concerns to Mr Hathaway. Not only did he respond in a timely matter, his staff kept me updated continuously through the process. The vocal minority strikes again!
November 26th 2012
With the amount of whinging you lot do its a surprise he responds at all! I have emailed concerns to Mr Hathaway and his office has responded in a timely manner. If you read this Mr Hathaway, it's a case of the same vocal minority!
Patrick Collins
November 26th 2012
Wat can you expect fron Ms missing. Hathaway has replied to any correspondenc we have sent.

Jenny Stirling
November 26th 2012
I wonder how long private interests will be bothered in providing a service like this if they can't make enough profit. And then what will happen?
Jason S.
November 26th 2012
I'm curious how many islanders know it is a "designated relief and recovery centre". I have lived here for nigh on 7 yrs now, and never heard of this place as quoted above...After Yasi i went over to the RSL to fill out some paperwork, could i have done this at the camp??? Now you tell me??? 8 times out of 10 that i drive past the camp it's deserted anyways....
David Crusty Herron
November 26th 2012
Thank you Jason S, yours are all good questions. from recent experience we found that very few islanders knew that the camp is a designated relief & recovery centre.

The reason for this is simple and found in the notes bottom page 1 of the current 'Disaster Management Centres Short Term Welfare Sub Plan' which states,

"The decision to prepare and open a building / facility, once made by the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), will be broadcast to the community via internal communication tools and the local media" "ALL BUILDINGS LISTED MAY NOT BE OPENED FOR AN EVENT SO FURTHER ADVICE IS REQUIRED"

The LDMG activates a facility designated or not according to appropriateness for needs and circumstances in a given area. The RSL would have been chosen as convenient for the purpose.

You can download the plan easily, Google "Disaster Mgt Centres_PUBLIC Revised Dec 2011.pdf"

The camp is also one of 5 designated evacuation centres on the island.
John Hathaway MP
November 26th 2012
In response to the Magnetic Times article “Opposition leader says Hathaway should resign over Rec Camp closure” dated 25 Nov 12, I would like to provide the following comments. I do not have much time for the Leader of Opposition's Crocodile tears and call for my resignation because:

• The Bligh Government closed six centres during their time in government, one of which included the Lake Julius centre.

• It was noted in 2008 the Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Sport, The Hon. Judy Spence indicated that the six centres had been losing money for years due to low occupancy rates. Lake Julius is approximately 90kms from Mt Isa and had an occupancy rate of 1.7% and its operating cost per annum was $237,177.00. Notes the revenue was as little as $15,402.00.

• Fast forward to 2012 and the Opposition Leader is concerned about the Mt Isa students not having a recreation camp to conduct their activities, yet in 2008 her government closed the Lake Julius centre (They also closed Seaforth in Mackay).

• In 2008, the Bligh Government were developing alternative options for the ongoing management of the centres which included management models similar to those the Newman Government is calling on through their EOI process.

• The MIARC was given a second chance at life on a trial basis for 18 months after Minister Spence said major changes will be made to the centres operating structure. It was also noted that occupancy rates were under 20% and it was costing tax payers more than $328,000.00 per annum to keep open.

• I note also Crusty's comments re the costs to government so lets put the opportunity cost in some easy health terms, $300,00.00 will buy any of the options below:

o 15 knee replacements
o 15 hip replacements
o 8 cochlear implants
o 109 tonsillectomies
o 50 appendectomies
o 4 x nurses per year

• The Newman Government would like to see the MIARC remain open, hence the request for EOI through the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing website. I urge all interested parties to come forward, view the centre and put forward a management model that will ensure the future viability of the centre. I have also suggested to the TCC (VV) that the Centre will remain available this cyclone season, and simply that TCC need to write to the department to establish the processes for access after a storm event. You should also note that the centre would traditionally close down during the XMAS period and this has never been seen as an impediment to its use as Post Disaster Recovery Centre before.

I will consider the Opp Ldr's call for my resignation when she and her colleagues publically apologise to all Queenslander's for the disastrous managment of the state's finances that has led us to this juncture requiring the critical examination and prioritisation of all Govt expenditure to get our state back on track.

John Hathaway, MP

David Crusty Herron
November 27th 2012
In response to Mr Hathaway's comment.

The Bligh Government did close six centres, however it was former State Member for Townsville, Mike Reynolds, in conjunction with members of this community who stopped the camp from being closed in 2008 by the Bligh government, we recall the solid case he put to the committee at the time with the same reasons being valid today. The centre then was a disaster management facility as it is today.

Why did you not intercede for the kids and us in the same way?

Regarding the the operating costs pa - The revenue for the camp in 2010-2011 was $290,445, an increase on the previous year, with a net loss of $162,226 this compares to a net loss of $223,347 for 2009-2010.

The Mt Isa students are the largest user group but are representative of the remainder.

The community accepts that alternative options for the ongoing management are necessary and will serve to remove the financial strain from the government for the operation of the centre and still provide for the School Kids market segment.

With regard to occupancy rates; based on a 364 day year availability for the year 2010-2011 the occupancy rate was 22.8%. For the 2011-2012 year the occupancy rate was 26%. A marked increase in both years over the previous.

The principal limiting factor for occupancy rates is the single occupancy requisite imposed by the department. All the centre needed was some additional amenities to permit dual occupancy and thereby increase occupancy rates dramatically.

As for the number of costs to the government in easy health terms - how many knee replacements will the $70million plus for the governments' Brisbane/Gold Coast Olympic bid buy? Let alone the billions required from public funds to stage the games?

We do now understand that there is no way that the centre will be available for it's primary use as a recreation centre until after the new management takes over after 1 July 2012. But what we want is simply that the camp is not to be decommissioned during this period so that it may fulfill it's secondary role, as a relief and recovery centre. It is our only recovery centre and one of 5 essential evacuation centres. The centre is currently in the hands of the government until the new operator takes over. Therefore, It is the government's responsibility to keep the centre usable.

It's as simple as that. This is not an issue for political brow beating or point scoring. We are not interested in who did what. It is a simple community welfare issue.

Reassure us, please, Mr Hathaway that's all we ask.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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