Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ANZAC Day is a Day of Remembrance

Anzac Day ‘lest we forget’ is a day of remembrance

A day we honour those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, those many who now lay at rest in foreign fields, and those who came home forever changed by a war of unimaginable attrition and carnage, a war described as the war to end all wars. Anzac Day is also a celebration of what they by their devotion, duty and bravery bequeathed us.

Those brave, selfless men and women who whether motivated by adventure, patriotism or defence of our values and right to live freely in peace are all gone now but will never be forgotten. They are indelibly fixed in our generation and will be for generations to come.

Many of those survivors joined by a new generation of Australian’s and New Zealander’s stepped back into the breech, putting themselves in harms way when 21 years later a madman tried to once again conquer the world to place it under a regressive and murderous regime. Their hard won victory saw these brave souls welcomed home as heroes by a grateful nation that showered them in glory with ticker tape parades through almost every city and town.

No war ever exposed its horrors to the public like the 1962 - 1975 Vietnam War. On nightly television while sitting in our lounge rooms we saw and heard what war did to the human body, to children, their families to people’s homes, and the overall impact it had on those innocents and soldiers alike embroiled in it. This was my war. I was too young to go while serving as a volunteer soldier in the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment.

Those of us too young for overseas duty in a war zone were transferred to the 5th Battalion RAR. I was honourably discharged while in C Company 5 RAR before they left for the blood soaked rice paddies and controversial hellhole that was Vietnam in 1966. 

I lost a lot of friends there, friends who served in both of these Battalions and was angered as most of us soldiers were when spat upon and called baby killers, a misguided sentiment generate by a volatile political climate and a public confronted with the nightly horrors of war that our television screens displayed.

There was no honour parade for our returning Vietnam veterans, instead they were openly vilified and ostracised until they were finally recognised for their service to of our country in 2012. To their credit and despite their long suffering undeserved stigmatization, they accepted the nation’s apology with good grace.

Our military men and women have since served in the Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor and currently serve in the war against ISIL.

We must never forget that at the worst of times these brave men and women who choose to place themselves in harms way are the last barrier of protection for all we value, our freedom, our families, children, friends and our chosen way of life. 

And especially for those who make the ultimate sacrifice, ‘we will remember them.’

© 2017 Bob Janssen

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Queensland Government Has Killed Off Competition To Get Its Own Way


The Queensland government continues its well orchestrated campaign to build a Brisbane cruise ship terminal base port despite being offered a far superior and cost free proposal on the Gold Coast the details of which can be found on Facebook.

To compare the two proposals and their benefits, below is an extract from and a link to The Urban Developer story. This is followed by what is questionable about the government’s handling of what is fundamentally the future of the Gold Coast and how it effects our entire State.

Plans for a mega cruise ship terminal near the mouth of the Brisbane River have progressed after stakeholders reached an in principle agreement with Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd.

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt said the agreement with the State Government, Brisbane City Council and Queensland Urban Utilities meant the project had taken a significant step forward in the government’s Market- Led Proposal assessment process.

‘This milestone shows this government, through our Market-Led Proposal initiatives, is in the business of creating jobs and working with the private sector to facilitate good ideas” Mr. Pitt said.


It’s a pity that this government did not follow the same principles and self congratulatory initiatives when the Gold Coast based Breakwater Group submitted its cruise ship terminal Market-Led Proposal in December 2015.

The submission went unread, was rejected outright, and without any consideration at all, dismissed, good idea or not.

Gold Coast residents can be excused for believing that this government has once again put its political aspirations before the good of their city and for that matter the State. These political overlords still count us as a Regional Center, an extension of Brisbane not the 6th largest city in the country.

The manipulation was well done. First this government did not just move the goal posts but removed the entire playing field. Before the last election Opposition Leader now Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said; “There will be no development of Wavebreak Island or an area north of SeaWorld.” The Premier has repeated that ill considered statement and now adopted government policy ‘ad- nausea’. 

Adding insult to injury and in response to the Breakwater Group submission, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham said; ‘The people of the Gold Coast do not want a cruise ship terminal.” The Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate’s 72% landslide election result certainly puts paid to that assertion.

The Premier firmly hammered the final nail into the coffin when she said; “If there is a cruise ship terminal in Brisbane, I see no reason for having one on the Gold Coast.” In other words, screw you, Brisbane comes first no matter how good your offer. It’s actually an insulting statement when you consider that the Gold Coast is the tourism capital of the country with the assets and 13 million visitors last year to support that claim and reputation.

It’s not the first time a government has passed over the Gold Coast and if we let this happen it won’t be the last.

This is not about a development as the anti-everything lobby would like us to believe and should not be the lynchpin the government uses to justify its position. 

It’s about our future, our jobs, opportunity, critical infrastructure and generating security. It’s about our right and ability to compete in the tourism industry that built our city, an industry that continues to support our economy and way of life. Most of all it’s about securing the future of our children and theirs.

Competition delivers better prices, better services and generates new ideas. This government has, by manipulation and decree, circumvented competition making their Brisbane cruise ship terminal the only game in town and making a mockery of Minister Pitt’s latest statement.

To put it mildly, this is unacceptable behaviour for a government whose members are sworn to faithfully represent and govern for and on the behalf of the people.

Is it any wonder why we are increasingly disillusioned with mainstream politics? But there is a choice. We can accept the status quo and forever dance to the tune of those who would suppress our desires and ambitions or we can speak out clearly, loudly and often by all means available to us including Facebook, contacting the media and your local member. Change only happens when you make it happen while doing nothing delivers exactly that. NOTHING!

© 2017 Bob Janssen | BobJanssen.com.au

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What is the Breakwater Group Cruise Ship Terminal Proposal?

Gold Coast Cruise Ship Terminal & Associated Infrastructure 

Media Release 18th April 2017 

The Breakwater Group Cruise Ship Terminal proposal is a future building infrastructure project that delivers an all-weather port capable of berthing 4 of the largest (362m) cruise ships simultaneously, for example; ‘Royal Caribbean’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’ 5,479 passengers plus 2,300 crew. This offers the cruise ship industry the security to advertise, worldwide, the Gold Coast as a guaranteed port of call. The port is also configured to accommodate 8 Azzam class (180m) super yachts within a dedicated area of the swing basin. Strategically designed as a base port, and in that form, the proposal is projected to generate 875,000 night stays per year and achieve a $475 million income stream for the city by its second year of operation.

Long standing traffic congestion and public transport issues are addressed by new traffic signals and reconfiguration at Main Beach, creating a dual carriageway along the Spit with further connection to an underwater tunnel from the Spit to Wavebreak Island and a bridge to Brisbane Road Labrador. A dedicated easement is preserved for possible future light rail connection and a ferry terminal is constructed on the Spit and Wavebreak Island to encourage supportive water transport.

The proposal creates additional land on the Spit and Wavebreak Island, increases existing public open space that is transformed to safe, family friendly fully appointed parkland including toilets benches, barbecues, bicycle ways, pathways, parking areas, lighting, security cameras, shade trees and gazebos.

The existing pet friendly beach is relocated and enlarged and further enhanced with facilities commensurate to its use. Dog showers to remove sand and fresh water stations will be provided.
A 1km long cove protected by artificial reefs is formed on the ocean side to accommodate those visitors who, not used to turbulent surf seek calmer ocean swimming conditions. These reefs once covered by marine growth will present new and easily accessible diving sites.

This proposal is designed to replicate the great Australian surf icons of Margaret River and Angourie by purposely shaping headland outcrops and reefs to capture and hold sand in all but the most extreme weather conditions. The proposal includes provision for a first of its kind surfing stadium and arena to bring spectators closer to the world's best athletes as they compete on the high performance waves, similar to TPC Scottsdale's famous party hole the 16th.

The 31 year old sand bypass system soon in need of maintenance will be relocated and replaced with one that has the latest equipment and technology saving the city millions of dollars in ongoing costs.

To finance the entire project, the balance of the reclaimed land is sold to third party developers for mixed development to create supportive infrastructure such as international hotels, restaurants, retail and other accommodation uses. This mixed development as in any such proposal is subject to the approved consultation process. The Breakwater Group’s project is based on a design that limits buildings to a 5 story height to compliment the ambience of surrounding precincts. The Project is further designed to create a memorable and welcoming ocean gateway to the city.

All parkland, and carriageways will be handed back to government on completion.

Allowing the Breakwater Group the use of State land to construct and develop this future building infrastructure delivers the following benefits;

  • Broadens our tourism base with an all weather port that berths 4 cruise ships simultaneously, the swing basin also includes a major facility for super yachts
  • Public space is increased and transformed into safe family friendly fully appointed parkland
  • Traffic congestion issues are addressed and resolved in perpetuity 
  • Wavebreak Island is transformed into our ‘Green Heart’ when completed will become the city’s “Central Park” framed by our stunning Broadwater and the skyline of Surfers Paradise 
  • Offers new dive sites, new world class surf breaks and what will be a remarkably beautiful safe swimming cove a tourist destination on its own 
  • The existing pet friendly beach is relocated and enlarged and further enhanced with facilities commensurate to its use 
  • Introduces water transport to the Spit and Wavebreak Island 
  • Creates a self sustaining tourism and safe family friendly precinct certain to be a world class destination on everyone’s bucket list 
  • Generates over 8,500 new jobs and a long term income stream for the city and State 
  • Benefits from worldwide brochure advertising generated by the cruise ship industry to display their ports of call 
  • The project comes at no cost to the State, City or community 

The original Breakwater Group proposal was summarily rejected by the State Government when it was submitted as a Market Led Plan in December 2015. The rejection was accompanied with a comment by Minister Anthony Lynham that; “the people of the Gold Coast do not want a cruise ship terminal.” As a result, this original proposal was never presented in an objective manner to the broad community, it was effectively suppressed. 

Attempts to establish a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast since mid 2004 have turned out to become nothing short of a monumental debacle. Proponents who had made considerable capital investment in their projects were severely limited by successive government’s expression of interest briefs. Either by design or a lack of understanding of the issues involved, this frightened off potential investors. 

  • Cruise Ship Terminal proponents were given little opportunity to reassess and adapt their proposals in a way that could address well documented community objections and concerns 
  • As a consequence, and in light of the revised Breakwater Group proposal, those objections and concerns are based on concepts that are unviable and outdated rendering those objections or any public consultation process that excludes the Breakwater Group Proposal redundant 
  • By closing off the optimum areas for a cruise ship terminal and rejecting the fact that a cruise ship terminal was a core element in the former Newman government’s expression of interest, the Queensland Labor government has unilaterally denied the city and State the opportunity to make an informed choice and decision in determining its future 

Below are some of those objections raised since mid 2004 and rebuttals that address them; 

“This project is a land grab” 
No, the land is reconfigured. State owned land is increased and enhanced to become safe family friendly parkland and a cruise ship terminal facility serviced by upgraded traffic management solutions. This soft and hard infrastructure is handed back to the government on completion. The additional land set aside for commercial development is the minimum required to pay for the entire project thereby removing the need for stressed State, Council or community funding. This project delivers job creating social and economic infrastructure and is essentially a Public Private Partnership. 

This pristine land should be preserved for future generations! 
Parts of the Spit and Wavebreak island are man-made as part of the Gold Coast Seaway Project completed in 1986 and therefore do not qualify as pristine. The Breakwater Group Project not only offers a much improved public landscape but creates sustainable job prospects and infrastructure that accommodates and supports future generations. 

Cruise ship passengers do not spend significant money ashore! 
Cities that have a cruise ship terminal publish the income derived from this infrastructure, those reports contradict this claim. Each passenger that comes ashore is a potential ambassador for the city generating a personal recommendation network that is far superior in attracting visitors than any costly advertising campaign. 

What about the environmental impact? 
The Breakwater Group proposal is the least intrusive concept as it has little impact on the environmentally sensitive Broadwater while the Spit contains introduced or recently migrating flora and fauna. The Breakwater Group has designed the project and will develop it in such a manner as to ensure best practice principles that have minimum environmental impact. 

The people of the Gold Coast do not want a cruise ship terminal! 
This is an assumption based on outdated concepts that were limited by an Expression of Interest brief that failed to recognise constraints which hampered the ability to address genuine objections and concerns. By stepping outside this restrictive brief, the Breakwater Group proposal was able to address those concerns and more. This revised proposal has never gone out for broad public consultation or consideration and therefore any comment is presumptuous. Mayor Tate, the city’s biggest advocate for a cruise ship terminal, went to an election on a cruise ship terminal platform against strong opposition from the State and his mayoral opponents. He delivered a 67% majority win giving him an irrefutable mandate that contradicts the claim that the community does not want one. 

The State Government has made it a policy that there would be no development of Wavebreak Island or an area North of SeaWorld! 
If the government has implemented that policy on genuine community objections and concerns, the policy is outdated in light of the revised Breakwater Group proposal. If the government is genuine in its bid for job creation and building sustainable social and economic infrastructure it should revisit that decision and investigate the proposal in a transparent process that is open to public input and scrutiny. 

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has already put forward a compromise cruise ship terminal proposal! 
Keeping his election promise and confined by the State Government’s position Mayor Tate was left with little alternative but to put forward a compromise solution by suggesting an off shore terminal situated outside the Government’s restricted areas. This leaves the question of why should our Mayor and we be forced to accept any compromise when a potentially better prospect is put forward. Why should we pay for a moped when we can have a Ferrari for nothing? 

The project is too big! 
The Netherlands has reconfigured or reclaimed over 7,000 square kilometres of land, much of it before modern machinery was available. In the providence of Jiangsu China a project that began in 2009, 1,817 Square kilometres of land will be reclaimed and reconfigured by 2020. The list of these massive projects throughout the world is extensive. The Breakwater Group proposal only represents 2.44 square kilometres which by comparison is insignificant in scale. It is no larger than the original Gold Coast Seaway Project completed in 1986. 

Has the Breakwater Group the means to fund the project? 
There have been several proposals to establish a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast since 2004. In each case, proponents have spent millions of dollars in putting forward their concepts only to be rejected by government intervention. This has made investors extremely reluctant to commit investment in this and other projects. The Breakwater Group has been advised that funding will become available once the government indicates it is open to the establishment of a Gold Coast Cruise Ship Terminal. 

The Breakwater Group is a home grown Gold Coast company whose directors live, work and raised their families here. They are emotionally invested in the city’s future. One of those directors and some associated consultants held senior positions in the design and construction of the Gold Coast Seaway Project. That distinction renders the Breakwater Group first hand knowledge that supports credible insight and comment relating to the possibilities and practicalities of its cruise ship terminal proposal. 

As one Gold Coast councillor put it; “this opportunity has gone around in circles for far too many years without broad community involvement or objective open discussion.” The majority of residents would agree, they would also agree that opportunity should always be given serious consideration and not be subject to political manipulation or outright dismissal. 

The Breakwater Group proposal remains the intellectual property of the group but it welcomes exposure of its proposal to public scrutiny and appraisal allowing the broad community the opportunity to express their point of view and enter into an open public debate as to the value of the project in benefiting current and future generations. 

So what will the Breakwater Group proposal do for you? 

The Gold Coast is recognised as the tourism capital of the nation and therefore represents a significant contributor to its gross domestic product which through the trickle down effect has a positive local, state and national socio-economic impact. 
Whether we were born on the Gold Coast or came here, we all benefit from what those who came before us built. In doing so, they created the opportunities, security and lifestyle we enjoy today. Like it or not, we live in a highly competitive global market place and society and must evolve if we are to remain relevant and competitive. 
To continue enjoying that job security and lifestyle for ourselves our children and theirs, we must learn from the past by building our future today as those who came before us have done. 
The Breakwater Group project offers many benefits but its greatest long term asset can be summed up in that it creates the infrastructure and those opportunities that will serve many of our individual needs and aspirations well into the future. 

Bob Janssen
Spokesperson / Media Relations  

© 2017 Breakwater Group