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  • Crispin Till

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    Board shows faith in leader after rocky days for peak body

    Trent Twomey has been re-elected unopposed as the Advance Cairns chairman.

    In a show of unity, the board threw its support behind its leader amid ongoing tensions with Cairns Regional Council.

    In a statement late this afternoon, Advance Cairns said:

    "The Advance Cairns Board met today for its first meeting following the 25 October AGM. Lieutenant General (Retd) John Grey AC was also in attendance, representing our three Patrons.

    "We welcomed new Board member Jodie Duignan-George, and elected Trent Twomey as our Chairman for a further term.

    "The Board considered the notice received from Cairns Regional Council this week stating Council’s decision to discontinue the Resource and Performance Agreement between Council and Advance Cairns.

    "We are reviewing our budget following this change in funding, and are confident that we can continue to work towards our vision.

    "We also considered the Board governance review report we received in August. The Board noted a number of recommended elements had already been put in place and is progressing the implementation of the others.

    "We are keen to continue to develop the capability and effectiveness of Advance Cairns and welcome feedback from Members and other stakeholders on what we can do better.

    "Advance Cairns will continue to advocate for the TNQ region and our local Councils, and will continue to work with local, State and Federal governments to deliver the best outcomes for the region."

    The council cut its $300,000 a year funding and other ties with the group yesterday after increasingly bitter tensions between the two sides, believed to have come to a head with the dumping of former CEO Kevin Byrne last month.

    The move led some to call into question the ongoing viability of Advance Cairns with council's funding making up more than one-third of the group's annual budget, with the bulk of its bottom line coming from memberships of local companies and organisations.

    When debating the motion to cut funding, the council raised "concerns" with the governance and leadership at Advance Cairns.

    In an exclusive report by TropicNow last week, tensions between the two groups reached crisis point when Cr Manning sent a letter to Advance Cairns demanding it fall into line with the council's public positions and views.