Smooth flight path for Airport

While growth remains healthy the monthly passenger numbers for Cairns Airport have become almost boring in their recent consistency.


In September Domestic was  +4.9%; international +9.1%. International growth rate has come back somewhat in recent months but that is to be expected given it is no longer coming off the previous very weak period.

Good numbers also continue to be reported this week by Sydney Airport: domestic +3.9%;  international +8.6%. All charts and BITRE info will be updated imminently have been updated for most recent data at the Cairns Airport page.

Queensland labour force sample

The most recent labour force numbers for September from the ABS were out yesterday. There is plenty of commentary and the usual political use and abuse of different statistics. There is also an interesting note from ABS at Insights from the original data.

The incoming rotation group in Queensland in September 2016 was noticeably different in its labour force characteristics to the group that it replaced, and to the rest of the Queensland sample rotation groups, with a greater level of influence on the current month’s estimate and movement estimate than usual.

Through the Composite Estimation process the ABS has temporarily reduced the influence of this rotation group for September estimates and this is reflected in original, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates. This means that the remaining 7/8 of the Queensland sample will have a higher influence and contribution to the September estimates, with a marginal increase in standard errors for the estimates for this month.

The ABS will review this when October data for this rotation group are available. In the meantime, the ABS encourages users of the GM1 data cube to exercise caution in interpreting incoming and outgoing rotation group changes for Queensland, and, to a lesser extent, Australia.

There has been critical comment on the jobs data from a number of economists, including what this may mean for the Queensland data: Economists have taken aim at the reliability of Australia’s jobs data. May be interesting to see if and how that plays out across the regions next week also.

A perspective on backpackers tax

A recent post on a topical issue: How much tax should backpackers pay?

This analysis is very much based on farm labour and the Seasonal Worker Program rather than hospitality.



Note: “The figures in the graph are from government statistics. Consistent with the data, it is assumed that 90% of those applying for a second-year visa have worked on a farm. Backpackers who have worked on a farm but not applied for a second-year visa are not included in the graph, which therefore underestimates the number of backpackers working on farms.”

The Cairns Hospital Dichotomy

I posted this just a few short months ago: Cairns Hospital scores for efficiency

Now there is this: Cairns Hospital board resigns in response to questions from Health Minister over $80m deficit

Yes, the efficiency score is now two years old, the most recently available comparative data,  related to the period up to 2013-2014. However, somehow my faith in reliable data over politics is challenged by this situation.



Revisionism at the Cairns Post

I had wanted to move on from a previous virtual persona but have been challenged in the past week by this at the Cairns Post: Former Cairns developer and bank battler backs ombudsman review

I wont go into detail. It should be history and left behind. However it is significant for potentially repeating past mistakes in a future Cairns where collective memory, particularly at the Compost, is rather limited. This was my post at Loose Change in 2011: The rise and demise of CEC


Not a great graph as I acknowledged at the time but best I could do try and represent the rapid expansion of CEC post 2007 and subsequent implosion. The maroon bit is net. Assets in the last years included a material deferred tax assets component which is where the auditor ultimately had an issue. Best for my own mental wellbeing that I don’t rake over these coals. Anyone so inclined can search the ASX database on corporate releases from CEC notable for the serial failure to meet reporting deadlines.

However, surprised that after all these years this link still exists online: CEG – CommSec 2007 Emerging Companies Conference – Mr Roy Lavis, MD

Please reference the above graph but the key comment here comes just after 27 minutes in.

Roy Lavis: “I want to grow this company to a billion dollars very, very quickly”

Yep, It was the banks what done it I tell ya!




Earthquake risk in Cairns

The excitement around the Bowen earthquake last week reminded me of this now dated 1999 report I stumbled upon some time ago, with a foreword from a more youthful Warren Entsch. The building construction and location data would be well out of date by now I presume: COMMUNITY RISK IN CAIRNS A MULTI-HAZARD RISK ASSESSMENT


The earthquake hazard in Cairns is moderate by global standards, but it is not negligible. Over the past 100 years there have been at least 11 significant earthquakes reported within 200 km of Cairns, the most damaging being the Richter magnitude 4.3 event of 1896. In many places of Australia, probably including Cairns, moderate to strong earthquakes of Richter magnitudes 5 to 6 make up about 90% of the total contribution to the overall earthquake hazard. The occurrence of such an earthquake close to Cairns would be a rare event. However, its impact could be great. An earthquake in this magnitude range (Richter magnitude 5.6) near Newcastle in 1989 caused arguably Australia’s most costly 20th Century natural disaster.
We have constructed earthquake urban hazard zonation maps and, from the building database, produced an inventory of buildings, by construction type and usage, in the zones in these maps. Any earthquake of a magnitude likely to cause damage in Cairns will have an effect across all suburbs. The amount of damage, and consequently risk, will increase with the intensity of the event.
Whilst all suburbs have some degree of exposure, Risk-GIS analysis of the earthquake hazard reveals that some 86% of Cairns buildings stand on ‘soft’ sediments of the coastal plains and riverine deltas, or the sands, silts and clays of the lower footslopes. These sediments amplify earthquake shaking. The extensive ‘soft’ sediments beneath the coastal suburbs, in particular, would aggravate the impact of any significant earthquake. These are also the suburbs that contain many of the critical facilities and have significant concentrations of people, buildings and infrastructure. The remaining 14% of the buildings are mostly modern and are situated on the upper slope soils or rock of the hills where ground motions will be less damaging. Some of these buildings conform to the earthquake loading provisions of the Australian Building Code, and the majority conform to wind loading provisions.
In order to produce a suburb-by-suburb ranking of Cairns for earthquake risk from direct damage to buildings, we have introduced a vulnerability ranking of building construction types. The profile of risk exposure to earthquake and a total earthquake risk profile, which takes account of community vulnerability as well as the exposure to the hazard, are shown in Figures (v) and (vi

June quarter rental data

June quarter rental data from the RTA based on rental bonds lodged for the quarter was released on Friday. I have updated the comparative graphs of the two largest Cairns cohorts, 2br units and 3br houses, at Rental Data. Further insights into this excellent data will be added at that link over the coming millennium.

Cairns renters are now paying a premium of $60 per week over Townsvillians for a 3br house. Mackay continues to search for a bottom.


Despite recent reports of lower vacancy rates and limited supply for Cairns in the recent months that isn’t yet showing up in further increases in median rents.