THE SCOOP: January

Memorial garden for grieving parents

Sunday, February 2, 3.00pm

A memorial garden will be established at Cattana wetlands in Smithfield to allow parents to honour their babies lost through stillbirth, during birth or soon after.

The Cairns Regional Council initiative is in response to a request from the Cairns and Hinterland Health Board to provide a space where trees could be planted in memory of lost babies.

A local nursery has offered to provide trees free of charge for planting in the memorial garden.

Cattana wetlands is about 80 hectares of formerly degraded land, rehabilitated into a nature conservation park by CRC and open every day of the year.

Reef dredging given green light

Friday, January 31, 2.13pm

Millions of cubic metres of dredge spoil from the Abbot Point coal expansion will be dumped on the Great Barrier Reef, after the plan was green-lighted by the Marine Park Authority today. 

As the ABC reported, though Environment Minister Greg Hunt said strict environmental conditions would be in place, conservationists and scientists argue the project will have "detrimental effects" on the reef.

Read the ABC report Opens external link in new windowhere.

Car thief caught behind the wheel

Friday, January 31, 11.48am

Mossman police arrested a 30-year-old Mareeba man last night after they discovered he was driving a car allegedly stolen from Cairns on January 25.

Police stopped the car during a traffic intercept on Gorge Road at around 7.30pm and charged the man with one count each of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and unlicenced driving. He is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on February 11. 

The beach is back

Friday, January 31, 11.00am

As Mackay residents prepare for flooding and evacuation from Tropical Cyclone Dylan's destruction, it seems the Port Douglas landscape has returned to normal after severe weather earlier this week.

Ann Scott posted this photo (left) of Four Mile Beach this morning on The Newsport's Facebook page today with the caption, "The 'wild weather' on Four Mile Beach around 6.30am this morning...just to let everyone know we still have a beach!"

Suspended sentence for Port man

Thursday, January 30, 12.29pm

A Port Douglas man has been given a suspended sentence for assaulting two men at Iron Bar on January 5.

According to Cairns police Senior Constable Russ Parker, the man fronted a Cairns court yesterday and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment, wholly suspended for 12 months,

James says "thanks" for green-thumbed help

Tuesday, January 28, 1.46pm

Port Douglas community volunteer James Watson, 78, expressed his heartfelt thanks to Douglas residents today, announcing all his backyard plants had been re-homed.

The popular local identity is known for his voluntary maintenance of the Nautilus Street median strip greenery, but as The Newsport reported on January 23, James' worsening Parkinson's Disease led to doctor's orders to permanently hang up his gardening gloves. 

James was using the backyard of his Port Haven home as a nursery, but was advised to remove about 40 plants of miscellaneous species as soon as possible. The Newsport, along with The Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette and Radio Port Douglas, spread the word to locals, successfully urging anyone and everyone to help out and pick up a free plant.

62% against WA shark cull

Tuesday, January 27, 9.00am

Almost two-thirds of Newsport users don't support Western Australia's planned shark cull, with just over 20 per cent of votes in favour of the move.

A total 74 users voted in the poll, which was active on The Newsport homepage from Friday, January 24 at 7am, to Monday, January 27 at 5pm.

13.5 per cent of voters were in favour of action, but not a cull, while just two voters said they needed more information.


Read the related article: 

WA shark cull plan "ineffective", January 24.


FNQ sergeant charged with assault

Monday, January 27, 5.00pm

A sergeant from the Northern Police Region is facing assault charges after an investigation by Queensland Police.

According to police, the 43-year-old sergeant was off-duty when he was allegedly involved in an assault at a Cairns residence on Friday, January 24.

He resigned today, January 27, and has been charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm. He is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on February 25.

Queensland Police, in keeping with their commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, have an undertaking to inform the public when an officer faces criminal charges. This does not mean that the allegations against the officer have been substantiated.


No rates rise for Douglas Shire

Friday, January 24, 4.00pm

The Douglas Shire Council has delivered a reprieve for ratepayers, announcing a rates freeze during an historic budget meeting in Mossman this morning.

Councillors voted in the six-month rates freeze and unanimously adopted the proposed six-month budget - the new Council’s first after officially de-amalgamating from Cairns on January 1.

Sixteen members of the public and representatives from each of the Shire’s media outlets attended the special meeting, with Mayor Julia Leu heralding the budget outcome as “outstanding” and a sign of the Shire’s sustainability.

“This is an historic event, something many people thought they would never see,” Mayor Leu said.

“Everyone needs to be proud of the fact that we were able to return to a sound financial position.”

The agenda, attachment and minutes from the January 24 meeting can be downloaded as they become available at


FNQ waterfalls among state's best

Monday, January 13, 7.00am

Two waterfalls in Far North Queensland have been named among the state's best, by Tourism and Events Queensland. 

The list, published on TEQ's 'Queensland Blog' by 'Best Job in the World' winner and Queensland Tourism Ambassador Ben Southall, includes Barron Falls in Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands' Millaa Millaa. 

Mr Southall said, "raging, angry yet oddly beautiful, the Barron Falls during the wet season is captivating at any angle," and  "surrounded by lush vegetation and often a bus load of tourists, [Millaa Millaa] is the perfect Kodak moment."

For the full list, visit


Dry conditions will persist

Friday, January 10, 7.00am

The Far North region’s wet season has been uncharacteristically dry so far, though decent rain is expected in Cape York by the end of the week thanks to a monsoon trough over the north of the state.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andrew Mostyn told ABC Far North that a monsoon trough is sitting over the Cape and should become more active in coming days.

"By the end of the week we are expecting more frequent and widespread showers and thunderstorm activity especially during those afternoon periods, anywhere north of about Musgrave," he said.

There’s potential for 50 to 100mm of rainfall under a monsoon trough thunderstorm.

Despite Wednesday’s brief downpour in Douglas, dry conditions will likely continue around the Shire, Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands and Cassowary Coast.

Mr Mostyn said decent rain won’t hit the region until the monsoon trough makes its way south.

More charges laid over Mossman break and entry

Thursday, January 9, 10.42am

Mossman detectives laid additional charges on a 38-year-old Tablelands man yesterday after further investigations into a recent spate of break and entry offences allegedly committed in the Mossman CBD late last week. 

He was charged with one count of breaking and entering premises and two counts of attempted entry to premises.  The charges relate to business premises in Front Street including a real estate office, a disability services premises and a retail tenancy. 

The man has now been charged with a total of 13 offences relating to the Mossman CBD and is scheduled to appear in the Mareeba Magistrates Court later this month. 

Can you help?

Wednesday, January 8, 11.30am

Police are asking for the public's help to identify a man in connection with a series of recent burglary and property offences committed recently in North Cairns. 

A man is believed to have entered the McLeod Street accommodation complex on several occasions during the past month and stolen jewellery, handbags, watches, cameras and other items. 

Police believe the man pictured may be able to assist with their investigations.

Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24 hours a day.

Man punched in the face

Monday, January 6, 10.33am

A Port Douglas man has been charged after allegedly punching a 25-year-old man in the face yesterday at a Macrossan Street licenced venue, before punching another young man who tried to help.

Police charged the 41-year-old Port Douglas man with one count each of common assault, assault occasioning bodily harm and disorderly behaviour on a licenced premises. He is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court this morning. 

Meanwhile, detectives also charged a 38-year-old Mt Carbine man yesterday after investigating a series of break and entry offences at various Mossman businesses last week.

Police say a veterinary practice, a doctor’s surgery, a pharmacy, a butcher shop and a council building were allegedly broken into between January 2 and 5.

The 38-year-old man was charged with ten offences, including six counts of breaking and entering premises and one count each of attempted break and entry, attempted unlawful use of a motor vehicle, possession of a dangerous drug and possession of a drug utensil.

He is scheduled to appear in the Mareeba Magistrates Court this morning.