Wagners to advise company behind medicinal cannabis farm
31st May 2019 9:08 AM
TOOWOOMBA businessman John Wagner has been appointed as a strategic adviser to Asterion Australia, the company building Australia's largest medicinal marijuana farm.
Mr Wagner had been an early supporter of the project, helping Asterion secure 71 hectares for its medicinal marijuana farm.
"I am very pleased to support Asterion and its plans to develop a state-of-the-art facility at Wellcamp Airport, it is an exciting opportunity and one that will bring many economic benefits to the region, he said.
Mr Wagner is one of the co-founders of Wagners and developed it into one of the leading construction materials producers in South East Queensland.
Asterion Chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer said Mr Wagner was the right pick, as he knew how to lead a major company.
"We are extremely pleased to have established a strong following of support from Wagners," he said.
John Wagner was appointed as a strategic advisor to Asterion Australia.
"They are globally recognised as one of Queensland's largest construction materials and service providers who add value across several industries.
"Having John Wagner as an adviser will assist in fostering long-term and deeply-rooted community and strategic relationships for Asterion in Australia."
Asterion lodged its development application with Toowoomba Regional Council two weeks ago.
According to documents filed with the council, the facility will consist of four glasshouse "modules", capable of producing 500 tonnes of dried cannabis each year.
My personal views on the medical marijuana industry is its heading to a big crash, lots of suppliers but the AMA is warning Doctors off prescribing it. A lot of people are look forward to 500 tonnes of cheap weed being made available for the recreational market.
I recently went along to a very good health "information seminar" presented by Arthritis Australia. One of the presenters was a retired Doctor, and he spoke about the benefits and disadvantages of medical Marijuana for pain relief - as it's being sold to many people suffering chronic pain (severe arthritis sufferers being high on the list) as a good analgesic.
The bottom line was, the good Doc stated that there's no concrete evidence from any peer-reviewed, extended studies, that medical Cannabis (in any form) provides any better pain relief than any other regular analgesic.
In fact, he went on to say that there was a paucity of extended studies on the medical benefits of Cannabis.
The information he provided is that medical Cannabis has highly variable results when used for pain relief - and often has highly variable side-effects, according to the individual.
He stated the big problem is the inexact science surrounding the chemical reactions in the body, when Cannabis is administered.
This is compounded by the varying levels of many of the major chemical constituents present in Cannabis - even when produced for medical use.
What was more interesting was when he asked the audience if anyone had used Cannabis in any form, for either recreational reasons or medical reasons.
There was quite a bit of silence, as it was obvious Cannabis use was relatively foreign to the group of mostly older people. Then one woman in her late 50's volunteered that she had been a recreational Cannabis user.
Her opinion was that the benefits of Cannabis were overstated, even in recreational form, with a wide variation in levels and types of stimulation or calming, from day to day, and from batch to batch.
I've never smoked and never used drugs in any form, and I even have a great reluctance to consume medically-issued pills, as I believe a fortified immune system is the best defence against diseases and health complaints, so I cannot offer any comment on Cannabis use.
As a former employer, I know that Cannabis users were less reliable employees, had slower reflex and decision-making responses, and use of it is a big no-no, when any type of machine operation is required.
In fact, the ban on Cannabis use in transportation jobs came about, due to just one major rail disaster in the U.S. - the Amtrak Maryland disaster of 1987, where the locomotive engineer and his brakeman, high on Cannabis, ran their locomotive into an Amtrak Express passenger train, which derailed it, and killed 16 people.
WAGNER'S WIN: The war that costs millions in legal fight
30th May 2019 5:00 AM
ONE of the region's most powerful developers has strongly encouraged the Toowoomba Regional Council to review its decision-making processes to avoid wasting ratepayers' funds.
The suggestion follows Wagner Corporation this week winning a labyrinthine legal dispute with the TRC over levied infrastructure charges at Wellcamp Airport and Wellcamp Business Park.
The Planning and Environment Court found the TRC had not and had no intentions to provide stormwater infrastructure at the developments, and agreed the company should not be charged the levies.
The legal dispute between the Wagner company and the TRC had lasted more than three years.
Wellcamp Business Park director Denis Wagner welcomed the court's decision which he said agreed with the company's view the TRC should not charge for "infrastructure and services that it does not provide".
"We are still absorbing the court's decision," he said.
"It is really disappointing that millions of dollars have been spent on the legal process to achieve an outcome that was offered to council three years ago."
Mr Wagner has been a vocal campaigner for equal infrastructure levies for all businesses and developments, and warned the company would take its business elsewhere unless charges were made fairer.
"Wagners is committed to bringing new enterprises into this region," he said.
"Enterprises that will enhance opportunities for growth as well as creating jobs and prosperity for the wider community.
"There is a community expectation that our council share this vision and ensure charges are relevant, fair and equitable for the community as a whole."
The council was asked how much the legal battle cost, but the figure was not immediately available.
When asked if the council would review its decision-making process, council CEO Brian Pidgeon said: "Council is still considering the decision before determining its formal response to the ruling and is therefore unable to make any comment at this stage."
How much council spent fighting Wagner Corp
8th Jun 2019 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:41 AM
THE Toowoomba Regional Council has defended spending more than $1 million of ratepayer funds in a legal stoush against Wagner Corporation over infrastructure charges at the Wellcamp Business Park.
The Planning and Environment Court last month ruled, in part, the council had erred in calculating infrastructure charges at the business site anchored by Wellcamp Airport.
Others were referred back to the TRC in the latest step of a labyrinthine legal fight which has lasted more than three years and cost the council about $1,185,000.
TRC CEO Brian Pidgeon said the 39-page judgement was "not black and white, is complex in nature and found partial wins and losses for both council and the applicant".
"In this case, the litigation was instigated by the applicant," he said.
"In response, council sought expert advice and, based on this advice, determined it had limited options but to defend its policy and the financial sustainability of the council.
"Council was also mindful of the bigger picture, where an adverse judgement could also potentially affect the total amount of infrastructure charges that would ultimately be received by council as the applicant's 800 hectare (approx) Wellcamp site is incrementally developed.
"The recent judgement could have significant implications in creating a shortfall of income from the charges to fund future trunk infrastructure for the region in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars."
Mr Pidgeon said the council was considering its options with regard to the court's decision, not ruling out appealing it at a later date.
He said the council must balance the wider interests of all ratepayers and the community with supporting the development industry and "the ensuing economic benefits of development and growth".
"The recent decision of the court, as it currently stands, reverberates way beyond Toowoomba Regional Council boundaries as it has the potential to adversely affect all local governments in Queensland."
"The State Government introduced the current capped infrastructure charges framework in 2014, in response to lobbying by the development industry who wanted certainty around charges," Mr Pidgeon said.
"Council acknowledges the importance of the development industry to the growth of our region and has a responsibility to treat all developers in a consistent and equitable manner."
Non flying torn-a55 I am gratified any forum users think I am the right person to begin the search to replace Sarah Hales and subsequently interview applicants. Truth is, one does not simply replace someone with five years of experience as an airport manager and more besides working closely with her predecessor. I hasten to add, she did a lot of other stuff at Wellcamp too as others can attest.
Airport managers are a rare breed. Good airport managers even more so.
Someone qualified and experienced will make the job theirs. I fear the job will own them, in return
CANNABIS company Asterion has given Wagners the option to settle a portion of some invoices with shares.
This discussion comes as Wellcamp, an affiliate of the Wagners Properties, waits for the green light in the construction and development of Asterion's Toowoomba medicinal cannabis project, which will be the largest of its kind in Australia.
Asterion has offered to pay parts of Wellcamp invoices connected to goods and services for the project with common shares in the capital of of the company.
"As Wagners and Wellcamp are expected to play an important role in the construction and development of the Toowoomba Project, we are pleased to be offering Wellcamp this equity participation option which is intended to provide Asterion with additional equity financing and offer Wellcamp the opportunity to share in the success of Asterion going-forward," Asterion CEO Stephen Van Deventer said.
In accordance to the Equity Participation Agreement, Wellcamp can chose to receive Asterion shares as payment for up to 10 per cent of any approved invoice, which can be increased to 100 per cent with prior approval from Asterion.
Asterion said the shares would have a deemed issuance price equal to the then current financing price of Asterion, or, if it is not conducting a financing, at the last financing price.
Asterion lodged its development application with Toowoomba Regional Council in May and is awaiting approval.
TOURISM in Southern Queensland Country will be supercharged after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between former rival industry organisations Southern Queensland Country Tourism and Tourism Darling Downs.
SQCT chair Associate Professor Jane Summers said the organisations intended to join forces to develop one powerful and unified voice for the region's tourism industry.
"TDD and SQCT have pursued different areas of focus over the past few years, always with the common goal to grow tourism across the region," Dr Summers said.
"Both organisations agree the time is right to now combine expertise and resources to further boost the region's ability to explore new opportunities for tourism operators and stakeholders."
TDD chair John Wagner said commercial negotiations required to bring the organisations together were completed and he anticipated a combined entity could be operational as early as July 1, 2019.
"Together we will develop a well-funded and highly focused strategic plan for tourism in our region, to be implemented by a committed and focussed team under the direction of an experienced and well-credentialled board," Mr Wagner said.
"The interests of the current members of TDD and partners of SQCT will be supported as our groups combine and I urge businesses and stakeholders in the region to get behind our new-look regional tourism organisation."
Both chairs welcomed the appointment of experienced tourism professional Peter Homan from July 8, 2019 as chief executive officer of the newly united tourism organisation under the existing SQCT banner.
"The goal for this united regional tourism organisation is to deliver tangible results for its partners and to expose the Southern Queensland Country brand to new and larger markets," Mr Homan said.
"Bringing together the best ideas from both organisations gives us a very solid platform for growth."
Dr Summers and Mr Wagner announced the MoU ahead of the Escape the Ordinary masterclass, an industry event to be jointly hosted by the two organisations in Toowoomba on Monday, June 24.
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones will attend the masterclass, along with the winner of Tourism and Events Queensland's iconic Best Job in the World campaign, Ben Southall.
"Southern Queensland Country is a wonderfully diverse region offering plenty of rich experiences to travellers," Ms Jones said.
"With epic landscapes, thriving rural communities and delicious local produce, there really is something for everyone to enjoy in this unique part of Queensland.
"The work of local operators in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland will continue to grow awareness of this beautiful region and the many experiences available to visitors here."
Southern Queensland Country has experienced an 18% boost in visitation with 2 million people coming to the region since the regional tourism organisation was founded seven years ago.
Both Dr Summers and Mr Wagner agreed a redefined approach combined with a reinvigorated team could be the catalyst to unlocking the region's enormous tourism potential.