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Coca-Cola cares for people's health. What a crock!

Their full page advertisements across Australia today are an insult to every fair-minded Aussie.

Vehicle rort rips off battling taxpayers

It is illogical that someone with 80% private usage can claim 80% business usage.

That rort should have been outlawed years ago.

Kevin Rudd has quite rightly moved quickly to stop this statutory ripoff.

Why should the battlers of Goodna be subsidising the Chardonnay set of Ascot and Hamilton Heights?

Consumers complain about Coffee Club pie ripoff

Coffee Club pies - concealing just  a small casserole below
The Coffee Club has rolled out new homestyle pies for winter 2013.
On their specials menu, The Coffee Club is introducing Gourmet Homestyle Pies this winter season.
The two new pies are Beef & Barossa Shiraz and Chicken & Pancetta. They sound great.
But Fran - from the Ipswich suburb of Goodna - has complained that The Coffee Club pie is not a real pie.
It has a flaky top with no sides or bottom - just a watery casserole in the porcelain bowl below the crust!
Oh dear - what can the matter be?
A Coffee Club pie -
With no symmetry!
Which is a fair point for this gastronomic gal to make.
Ask any self-respecting Australian pie connoisseur if you can have a pie with just a flaky top and no crusty sides or base.
The Coffee Club beef and chicken pies sound and look tempting on the top - but steer clear of them if you want a fair dinkum, hearty Aussie pie to satisfy your hunger pains.
If you're from the dainty Chardonnay upper crust set of Ascot or Hamilton Heights, this half-baked pie might just be for you.
But if you're Fran from the working class suburb of Goodna, you will give these so-called pies a big miss because once eaten, twice shy!

Finance clause costs couple $13,000 over cancelled contract

A Queensland couple has been ordered to pay more than $10,000 to a unit owner after wrongly relying on the "subject to finance" clause in a sale contract as a "get out of jail free card".

Trevor and Irene Hauff agreed to buy a Port Douglas unit for $575,000 in September 2010 on the condition they secured a loan for $400,000 from ING Bank within seven days.

Under standard sale contracts buyers must take "all reasonable steps to obtain finance".

However, the couple's mortgage broker never submitted a formal application to ING Bank.

Instead, the broker made an application to The Rock Building Society.

The building society could not approve the loan application by the nominated date and the Hauffs terminated the contract.

Not satisfied, unit owner Anne Marie Miller demanded to see evidence that the Hauffs made a sufficient effort to obtain a loan from ING Bank, as stipulated in the contract.

Ms Miller took her case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in her favour.

The Hauffs appealed the decision in March this year but lost.

Associate Professor Kristy Richardson of Central Queensland University's property programs said the Hauff's experience served as a cautionary tale.

"The realisation that you might not be able to afford the great Australian dream may turn into a contractual nightmare," she said.

Ms Richardson said the subject to finance clause could not be taken lightly or used as a "get out of jail free card".

"Under a contract of sale, you as a buyer will be required to take all reasonable steps to obtain the finance that you are saying that you will under the contract," she said.

"Also bear in mind that documents supporting your attempts to obtain finance can be called upon."

The Hauffs were ordered to pay Ms Miller their $13,000 deposit for breaching the sale contract.

Why doesn't Campbell Newman sack this buffoon?

Queensland Liberal National Party MP for Redcliffe Scott Driscoll link to fund scandal and claims of secret control of taxpayer-funded community association

UNDER FIRE: MP Scott Driscoll faces several serious accusations.

A STATE Liberal National Party MP has been secretly controlling a taxpayer-funded community association that helps the homeless and other people in need, funneling tens of thousands of dollars in consultancy fees to his wife's company.

The Courier-Mail has established that Redcliffe MP Scott Driscoll has been directing the operations of the Regional Community Association of Moreton Bay, a provider of frontline social services to his electorate, from behind the scenes since becoming an MP.

Mr Driscoll cemented control - with the help of friendly RCAMB members - installing political mates on the board in 2012, getting his wife a job on the payroll and having dissenting staff removed and forcing a troublesome board member to resign.

Former RCAMB staffers have told The Courier-Mail that money was so tight last year they could not access funds to buy food for homeless clients of the RCAMB, which received about $1.6 million in public funding and donations in 2012.

It has been established that Mr Driscoll has had secret day-to-day control of the management of the RCAMB for at least the past 12 months, while Norsefire, a company owned by his wife Emma and where he was sole director until she took over on February 25, received almost $120,000 for consultancy work, only some of which was actually performed.

Emails, invoices and other documents show Norsefire charged $1000 a week until the middle of last year for "media communications strategy and management" and subsequently $2600 a week for "secretariat management fees".

From August 2012 there is no evidence of Norsefire having any employees to conduct any work on behalf of RCAMB.

Even prior to this, RCAMB staff say there was little evidence of any benefit from the "press liaison" work they understood Norsefire had been contracted to do.

Scott Driscoll's business world.

Mrs Driscoll, a florist, was from late last year on the payroll as "HR admin officer".

Mr Driscoll wrote her job description, which includes "formal qualification requirement: nil".

On February 28, a day after the Department of Communities asked RCAMB, formerly known as the RCA, for information about payments to consulting companies, Emma Driscoll sent an email to a colleague at the association asking for help to "delete what is in the drop box that was on my laptop which I have of course left at RCA".

"Is there a way we/you can do a complete sweep of that computer both files/trash/word docs etc ... so there is nothing left on there?" she asks.

Scroll down to read the emails.

All the members of the RCAMB board during 2012 except one worked on Mr Driscoll's election campaign, including his campaign director Ben Scott, his campaign treasurer Geoff Jamieson and former local Federal LNP chairman Brian Roselt. Its president until last month was Bruce Mills, another supporter.

The Courier-Mail understands Mr Mills held about half of the votes of the RCAMB's 20 members as proxies, which with the votes of Mr Jamieson, Mr Scott and Mr Roselt gave Mr Driscoll's political mates control of the board.

The other member of the board is understood to be a "client" of the RCAMB's mental health program.

When former RCAMB Treasurer Terry Rogers, himself a former state MP, questioned Norsefire's involvement in the association in March 2012, Mr Driscoll wrote to Mr Mills and Mr Scott saying: "The buck stops with an elected MP or Minister to make any required disclosures not Terry Rogers ...

"I personally suggest it's time his position on this board was considered for him and action taken pretty quickly right now".

Mr Rogers was forced to resign from the board shortly afterwards.

Mr Driscoll has disclosed his directorship of Norsefire but has publicly distanced himself, saying it is "100 per cent owned by my wife".

He has only ever described himself as "patron" of the RCAMB.

But emails show he micromanaged the body, giving instructions on everything from financial audits and how to respond to demands for information from bureaucrats to which airconditioning company should be used.

In January he even banned staff from participating in free health checks provided by Medicare Local.

"The fact paid RCA staff at large are being encouraged or allowed to avail themselves of funded services while the staff are meant to be working in essentially a government funded role could understandably create a catastrophic PR disaster," Mr Driscoll wrote to services manager Tracey Slater on January 17.

Emails also show Mr Driscoll presented Norsefire invoices to RCAMB and chased up payments.

Federal and State Governments are investigating the RCAMB over allegations of mismanagement and financial irregularities following complaints by staff.

Mr Driscoll did not respond to a request for comment. Mr Mills did not respond to questions. Mrs Driscoll could not be reached.

Mr Driscoll won the seat of Redcliffe at the LNP's landslide election victory last year.

Redcliffe had long been considered a Labor stronghold but the force of the LNP victory meant such seats were swept to the conservatives. Mr Driscoll has received strong support from Premier Campbell Newman in Parliament in recent weeks under scrutiny from the Labor Opposition.


RACQ goes from dumb to dumber

With Queenslanders hurting, the RACQ has come up with absolute cracker of an idea - force car owners to pay for compulsory annual vehicle checks.

The brains trust of the RACQ has forced its way out of its cage again.

Weather Bureau's Rod Webb owes the people of southeast Queensland an apology

Any window showed more than the forecast

Bureau collage graphic


FORECASTERS have for the first time admitted they were caught unaware by the freak morning super-cell storm that smashed Brisbane's inner suburbs last November.

The bureau has repeatedly claimed it had acted within its guidelines when it failed to issue an early specific warning about the storm, which lashed the inner suburbs between 10am and 11am on Saturday, November 17.

Despite more than 1000 lightning strikes being recorded in the half hour before storm cell smashed into the inner suburbs at 10.30am, a specific warning was not issued until 10.50am, by which time the storm had passed over and was almost at the coast.

By that time there was flooding in some suburbs and dozens of calls for help had been made to authorities.

At the time, bureau bosses backed the decision to not issue a specific warning.

They said the storm had not met the bureau's threshold for a specific "severe thunderstorm" warning until just before the warning had been issued and that a series of general warnings about storm activity over that weekend was sufficient.

It can now be revealed that the day after, the bureau's Queensland regional director Rod Webb wrote in an internal email that the forecasters on duty had been caught unaware by the storm as it had blown up unusually early in the day and directly over the inner suburbs.

The email, only now released after a Freedom of Information application by The Courier-Mail, said: "The storms developed a little earlier than anticipated and forecasters felt the first wave would not produce severe weather.

"This was true on the most part but once the storms approached the city, forecasters issued warnings based on radar evidence."

In an interview yesterday following the release of the documents, Mr Webb acknowledged the warning should have come earlier.

But he denied any shortage of front-line resources at the bureau was to blame.

"That was a meteorological issue rather than necessarily having more people look at it," Mr Webb said.

"In hindsight, you would have like to have something out, but we felt ... much of the community would have been pretty well prepared for severe weather."


COMMENT:  Rod Webb would make the people of southeast Queensland a lot less nervous if he took a sabbatical during next summer's storm season and went  back to forecasting the weather  for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. He should be pushing his bosses and the government relentlessly for more staff for the Brisbane office of the Bureau of Meteorology. What has he done to get more staff?  He owes it to the people of Queensland to publicly explain in detail exactly what new staff and facilities, if any, he has been actively seeking. 

Rail Back on Track: SEQ fares skyrocket

Media release 7th January 2013

SEQ: TransLink versus TransPerth

RAIL Back On Track ( a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport passengers has highlighted the 7.5% fare rises.

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

"The recent fare increases will hit residents in the suburbs of Bulimba, Centenary and the Northwest hard as these areas are public transport 'no go' zones and now they are paying 7.5% more for it. High frequency bus services should be extended to these areas as a priority, and in particular to Bulimba."

"Rail users will also be disproportionately affected as much of the network runs sub-par 30 minute frequency outside of peak hour. The exception here is the Ferny Grove Line, however even this is a partial upgrade, interpeak only and where frequent service is not available on weekends."

"Perth's system provides a stark comparison to the situation here in Brisbane. Not only does Perth have fewer people and a smaller network than Brisbane, they have now eclipsed Brisbane in carrying patronage, provide double the train service frequency to all stations on all lines all day, and not only that, charge less than TransLink does for comparable journeys.* Perth also runs identical trains to Queensland Rail."

"If anything is clear, we need a review of TransLink fares. These fare increases are significantly
above CPI and also above weekly wage growth. On trains, passengers are not getting value for money due to low frequency for most of the day. Where is the money going and what is driving such huge increases?"

"We just can't afford to not have a proper detailed fare review, with public consultation."


* TransPerth Perth CBD to Mandurah, 70 km, adult pm peak hour - $9.40

* TransLink Brisbane CBD to Helensvale, 68.2 km adult pm peak hour $10.53