Cairns leaders off to new start
THE captains of industry and politics in Cairns insist they have cleared the air after getting off to a shaky start - and agreement has been reached about the way forward for the local economy.
Cairns MP Gavin King convened the peace talks after recognising the city was missing the "strong, positive leadership" it needed because of squabbling between various groups.
Seventeen representatives from the local council, Advance Cairns, the Cairns Chamber of Commerce and other influential groups were locked in talks for more than three hours yesterday until a united vision could be decided on.
Chamber of commerce president Anthony Mirotsos said the meeting was a chance for local leaders to speak up about what matters to them, and find common ground between their visions.
"It's really important to get context around why some organisations push particular issues," he said, adding that a CBD upgrade was high on the chamber's wish list.
The need for the meeting arose after Mr Mirotsos made public digs at Mayor Bob Manning and his council for failing to live up to the expectations of the business community.
Mr Mirotsos sent an email to all chamber members condemning the "paralysis" in the mayor's office and took out a half-page ad in The Weekend Post reiterating that stance.
But he said the chamber was now more confident in the mayor's leadership.
Mr King said the meeting was a "line in the sand" and any differences were in the past.
He said the region’s leaders were united in their push for stronger aviation capabilities, a rejuvenated and safe CBD, and attracting investment from the private sector.
But he was unapologetic about snubbing local ALP politicians Jan McLucas and Curtis Pitt.
"I can't trust the Labor party as far as I can throw them and there were a lot of confidential, commercial-in-confidence issues discussed at the forum," he said.
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Talks:Business and political leaders thrashed out their differences at a meeting in Cairns yesterday.