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    Your daily local news briefing // Wednesday 26 April 2017

    WEATHER FORECAST
    Cairns: 21-30C max, 5% chance of rain
    Port Douglas: 23-29C max, 5% chance of rain
    Mareeba: 16-30C max, 5% chance of rain
    Innisfail: 21-29C max, 5% rain


    TODAY'S TOP STORIES

    CAIRNS NAMED AS AUSTRALIA’S DOLE HOTSPOT
    Cairns has the second-highest number of people on the dole out of anywhere in Australia, according to new government figures.
    According to a report released by the Department of Social Services, Cairns had 4353 dole recipients in December 2016. Bundaberg, in the top spot, counted 4465 people on benefits.
    Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch told News Corp that Cairns didn’t have a shortage of jobs, “just a shortage of people that are prepared to take them”.

    NEW REEF PONTOON SET TO MAKE A SPLASH
    The Great Barrier Reef is often referred to as nature’s greatest playground, and now it will have the slippery dip to prove it.
    The theme park-style waterslide is part of the new, two-storey pontoon being set up by Sunlover Reef Cruises at Moore Reef.
    The new pontoon, which also features two large decks for lounging and sunbathing, is part of the company’s 4 million investment in new and refurbished marine infrastructure.
    The old Moore Reef pontoon will be refurbished and rehomed at Arlington Reef.

    FLOOD CAM TO REDUCE RAINY-DAY RISK
    A flood camera is being installed at Ryan Weare Park bridge to help Freshwater and Brinsmead residents monitor road conditions during heavy rain.
    The flood cam will feed live images to Cairns Regional Council’s website.
    Smart flood warning signs will also be placed on surrounding roads to advise when they are closed due to flooding, and a Bureau of Meteorology flood alert station will be installed at Glenoma Park.

    MAN CHARGED WITH ALMOST 30 OFFENCES
    An alleged crime spree has landed a 38-year-old Westcourt man a date in Cairns Magistrates Court today, charged with 26 offences, including 23 property-related transgressions.
    Police will allege the man was wanted in relation to a high number of offences allegedly committed in suburbs including Edmonton , Kewarra Beach, Holloways Beach, Westcourt, Cairns North, Mooroobool, Parramatta Park, Bungalow, Woree and Earlville, over the past four weeks.
    In addition to the counts of entering a premises and committing an indictable offence, the man was also charged with two counts of fraud and one of failing to dispose of hypodermic syringe.

    CAIRNS BASKETBALL SCORES FUNDING SLAM DUNK
    Cairns Basketball Association will receive $1.5 million for a new indoor court.
    The funding, announced by Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch at Early Settler Stadium this morning, makes good on a Federal Government election commitment.
    Cairns Basketball boss Mike Scott told ABC Far North that the association was close to securing another $1.5 million to complete its “overall vision”, adding that Cairns Regional Council had already committed half a million dollars.
    Full story to come on TropicNow.