Canberra Confidential / New hands for Floriade?

FLORIADE’S future in Commonwealth Park looks uncertain and the ACT Government is rehearsing getting out of staging it, according to CC’s snouts-in-the-know.

Early this year the ACT Government was, apparently, notified in writing by the NCA that its lease on Commonwealth Park to stage the annual flower festival would not be renewed, they want their park back.

This started a snowballing review involving the inevitable consultants and the commissioning of a hush-hush high-level internal report that’s focusing on getting the government appropriately out of the showbiz of staging Floriade and passing the annual problem to a contractor.

While it’s too early to know where Floriade will end up, this might be an opportunity to give the event a permanant site with infrastructure somewhere lakeside like Weston Park.

Meet the mates

katy gallagher

Katy Gallagher.

YOU don’t get to be Chief Minister without making friends. In a level of commendable transparency, consistent with her early pledge as she slipped into the big chair, it is pleasing to see how easy it is to look up the names and web addresses of hundreds and hundreds of what looks like subscribers to Katy Gallagher’s Word Press-based website katygallagher.net.

And what a list! From functionaries to the famous they’re there for all to see, if you know where to look. Type katygallagher.net/wp-content/uploads and Aladdin’s cave opens. Scroll down to wpmisubscribers and there are three mailing lists from December last year to June this. Or at least there was when we posted this.

Happy anniversary, Frank

Pope_FrancisTHEY wrote to tell us they were having a knees-up at the Apostolic Nunciature in Red Hill to celebrate the second year of the Pontificate of Pope Frances.

So off goes social snapper-to-the-stars Andrew Finch to capure the occasion only to be confronted with a situation that conjures up Manuel’s  “que?” scenes in “Fawlty Towers” as the relentless photographer struggled to be understood. But they were not for turning and Finch, who has been thrown out of some gin joints in his time, was firmly escorted to the exit by a nun!

Sparing the sick the ED

CC notes the dark irony that, in two weeks of hospital accusations, resignations and shocks, the winner of ACT Health’s 2014 ACT Quality in Healthcare Award is an idea that keeps “selected” sick people away from the overcrowded emergency departments.

At a knees-up at the Boat House by the Lake, the overall award winner on the night was the ambulance service’s “Expanded Scope of Practice for Paramedics” program, which redirects selected patients who call an ambulance back to the primary care sector. Unsurprisingly, there was an overwhelming decrease in the number of patients being transported to emergency departments unnecessarily. But it’s still a long wait.

If you knew Suzi…

suzi quatroCANBERRA Theatre chief Bruce Carmichael admitted over lunch with one of CC’s arts snouts that he started getting concerned at the number of tribute bands treading his boards when a lady phoned up to book tickets for ‘80s hard rocker Suzi Quatro’s February concert at Canberra Theatre but only if they could guarantee it really was Suzi who was playing.

Oodles of moolah

ANDREW Barr was terribly pleased to announce that the Enlighten Festival is to get night noodle markets early next year. The Deputy Chief Minister told the world more generally in a media release hours after “The Canberra Times” had it as front-page news that morning.

Why was it the paper’s most newsworthy photo story of the day? Well, the hawker-style noodle markets, which have been a success in Sydney and Melbourne, are being managed in Canberra by the paper’s Sydney-based owner Fairfax Media.

What the paper didn’t admit in its ecstatic puffery (but Barr did in his subsequent media statement) is that the ACT Government has coughed up $200,000 to “assist” Fairfax to line up 25 food stalls for 10 nights. In return, there’s a contra deal of $1 million in out-of-town advertising. Given the festival was never going to spend a million on media, CC’s brow wrinkles at the value proposition.

Circling the drain?

AND while we’re on numbers “The Canberra Times” won’t tell you, here are the latest tumbling circulation figures for its only source of reader income – the daily paper.

While it gives away its news free digitally to the city and beyond to Fairfax paywall dodgers nationally, its print version continues to head determindly south. Flagship Saturday has sunk by 12.73 per cent in the past year to 35,568; Sunday is down 14.78 per cent (21,589 copies) and weekdays, it’s fallen 9.63 per cent to 22,797.

Award for small mindedness

AND finally on “The Canberra Times”: the cranky gnomes of Fyshwick just weren’t big enough to give our little paper the credit for sponsoring the Canberra Artist of the Year Award, which they stopped sponsoring a few years ago at short notice, feigning budget cuts.

Its early internet coverage, days after this year’s event, described the award correctly as the “CityNews” Artist of the Year Award, but two hours later (and subsequently in the printed edition) all mention of us was gone. Well may they wonder why Canberra is turning its back on them.

Muck up runs amok

MYSTERY surrounds the goings on at St Eddies recent “muck up” day, where the tradition is for graduating students to, it seems, run amok.

First, who’s not talking: the school to our emailed enquiry and the police, who say they have no record of having been there, despite a school mum of our acquaintance counting three patrol cars at the school that day.

What the school isn’t confirming or denying or anything else is our snout’s info that “some of their leavers got a bit crazy, got pepper spray recipes off the internet and sprayed a few students, covered piglets in oil and let them run loose in the library and egged a staff member.”

We’re pretty sure about the oily oinks, the rest remains a mystery.

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One Response to “Canberra Confidential / New hands for Floriade?”

  1. December 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Floriade and its infrastructure would destroy what Weston Park now provides Canberra – a very valuable part of the ‘bush capital’ environment- a peaceful, fairly unspoilt, bush environment where families can picnic in the company of kangaroos. The influx of large numbers, the parking and infrastructure development, the space needed for displays and growing numbers of commercial stalls would impact on the whole of the park and change its nature completely. Weston Park is close to houses and there would be significant traffic impact on suburban roads. There are better options that could be considered for relocating Floriade, perhaps near the Arboretum where there might be scope for sharing some infrastructure and facilities.

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