Knock Knock Census Calling

Following the previous post unoccupied properties for Cairns by suburb (SSC) with Port Douglas (SSC) thrown in.

Cairns unoccupied

Port Douglas SSC comes in higher than the broader PD SA2 previously posted at 25%. Below Palm Cove at 30%. There doesn’t appear to be any significant change pattern from 2011 in these areas.

However I suspect this could be an issue for the data. Particularly strata units within accommodation module buildings in the regulations. Census is conducted in August during peak tourism season in FNQ.

Also noted there is a difference between total dwellings and the sum of occupied and unoccupied dwellings.  Must go back and check on that.

P.S. Obviously the residents of Kanimbla deserve an award of some kind but not sure what?


First look at the Census

The first batch of data has been released from the (controversial) 2016 Census.

An aspect of interest in the dwellings data is unoccupied private dwellings. Around 10% of dwellings unoccupied is typical given a proportion will be absent on any given night for a variety of reasons as well as vacant dwellings.

Places like Cairns City SA2 come in well above this at 17.1%. This compares with 10.4% for Cairns LGA which is actually below Queensland (10.6%) and Australia (11.2%).

Port Douglas SA2 is a standout though with 20.8% of private dwellings deemed unoccupied. In 2011 it was 19.9%.

20% of dwellings in Port Douglas unoccupied during peak season?



The Census and Cairns…less religious than your average Aussie

Population growing faster than expected

Council Budget

It’s Cairns Regional Council budget day for 2017/2018 with all the boring details at Special (budget) Meeting. I will just focus on this statement apparently drawn from the Mayor’s speech.

council budget

Cairns missed out on a revaluation this year so we will have to wait until next year for that fun. Although I’m curious as to the composition of that 0.4% presumably above the general rate increase?

Increases below CPI funding an equivalent level of council works and services over ten years could be something of a conflict. LGAQ have previously compiled a council cost index based on the relevant components of council costs but not sure if this is still available or behind a member login. The CPI is not really a relevant benchmark for council costs as we have found out at times in the past.

I think I would be prepared to take a bet against this but ten years is a long time to wait to collect and perhaps a closer look at the assumptions is warranted.

May Airport

Airport numbers appear to have recovered from the new year dip with steady growth in May. Domestic was up 2.8%, international 9.5%, total ex transits 3.7%.

AirportMay1AirportMay2Source: Cairns Airport

Sydney this week posted continuing strong international numbers for May up 8.1%, the largest increase for the month in 9 years. YTD international growth is now 7.4%. Given the scale of Sydney as the largest gateway the numbers are quite impressive.

“In 2017, I am delighted that airlines have already announced almost one million additional seats into Asia on an annualised basis, reflecting the confidence that our airline partners see in the Sydney and NSW markets. The additional capacity spans right across the Asian continent, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and South Korea.”

There will be a lag before we can catch up with some more recent comparative data from BITRE.

What’s a fair share?

It has always been a common wisdom that the Far North is not getting it’s “fair share” when it comes to government funding. Queensland Economy Watch has posted on Huge regional disparities in Qld Government capital spending per capita


The surprise for many here would be that SEQ does not appear after all to be a villainous suck-hole draining the wealth from our fabulous regions. However capital expenditure is always going to be lumpy and what is really needed is more transparency around this as Gene points out in that post.

Bill Cummings has also been reported in local media this week on the subject. There is a report posted last year at Cummings Economics: Queensland State Budget 2016-17 Capital Expenditure by Region (pdf)

I have a couple of problems with this typically agenda driven report. Given that regional capex numbers are likely to be lumpy it doesn’t really help to provide analysis on a selected base year even if the time frame is longer. There are however some good points made.

It would be nice to have much better data over a more extended period. However a quick observation on what is easily available here would be that if FNQ is not getting a “fair share” it is more likely to be because it is going to other regions and not down some Brisbane gurgle hole.

It’s June! FY end duck hunting season is officially open!

Yes, the end of financial year is nigh. Certain regions and demographics feature prominently for scammers and dubious offerings at this time of year.

Excellent find from Pete Wargent:

Buy an apartment off the plan, get a new car!

That’s the selling pitch for a luxury apartment complex at West End on the edge of Brisbane’s CBD.

The car offer is for buyers if they secure a contract before the end of the financial year, i.e. June 30.

Online property agency iBuyNew is offering on behalf of a Brisbane developer 10 Toyota Yaris hatchbacks for purchases made in the recently launched ‘The One’ apartment complex.

Luxury apartments a bit beyond you? Never mind ANZ have the margin lending deal for you:

Did you know you can leverage your investments by using an ANZ Share Investment Loan? And right now, with our low End of Financial Year interest rates, it’s a great time to apply.

Plus, open or refinance to an ANZ Share Investment Loan by 30 June 2017 and draw down at least $20,000 before 31 July 2017, and you’ll also receive a special gift: the Zero-X Raven, a robust, lightweight drone with a built-in high definition camera.

I would go the drone scheme because is more easily gamed and much more fun. Nobody has ever had fun in a Yaris. Consult your professional adviser.

We is winners Cairns

Reef Casino attributed weakness in their EGM (pokie) business to “aggressive competition” particularly from clubs. There is official monthly data from OLGR for the last 3 years which includes locations, EGM numbers and also metered win.

It may be a “win” from the perspective of clubs, pubs and tax collectors but for our purposes we will refer to it as the “metered player loss”. Which is what it is. The net amount lost through the machine by the punters.

The data is provided at SA4, LGA, and SA2 level. However “for privacy reasons, monthly metered win totals for regions with less than 5 operating sites are not released”. This means the only SA2 region in Cairns with available metered player loss data is Cairns City. The data does not include casinos. Reef Casino has more than 60% (500+) of the machines in Cairns City SA2. So that’s all good then we will have to make do without the casino.

Anyway, derivation from the available data of available permutations for our region came up looking like this (ex-casino):


Scale can be deceptive there for the seasonal pattern in the City. Maybe a comparison with Townsville. Cairns is displayed in deep green and Townsville in baby shit yellow:


I hadn’t expected the seasonal pattern in Townsville to be so similar to Cairns or the correlation generally to be so close. However over the period of the data the number of machines in Townsville has remained about the same while Cairns has been a regional star with a 12% increase in reported operational machines. A look at the rolling annual aggregates over the last two years may be better:


Well done Cairns. We is winners. Any tourism boost, or other factor, is more than enough to overcome a population deficit with Townsville for respective LGA’s (161,932 v 195,914) at June 2016.

Most surprising is that the Cairns Post has missed two headline opportunities; when we surpassed Townsville and then cracked the $100 million annual player loss milestone (ex-casino).

Source: OLGR gaming statistics