First National Real Estate Cairns Central Shines at Awards Night

First National Real Estate Cairns Central was recognised for its outstanding achievement at the General Excellence and Marketing (GEM) Awards, held at a cocktail dinner at Sofitel Brisbane on Saturday night.


First National Real Estate is Australia’s largest independent real estate network and its gala evening celebrated the best of Queensland’s real estate performances over the past year, which according to First National Real Estate Cairns Central, principal, David Forrest, required the profession to continue to achieve results in an environment of tighter mortgage lending criteria.


‘First National Real Estate focused on delivering its agents advanced digital marketing tools and industry leading professional development throughout 2015’, David Forrest said.


‘This contributed to the network being voted “Australia’s number one employer” and the number one network for “brand, culture and support” in an independent survey of industry experts.


‘Our staff have worked and trained hard to maintain a leading edge and the results have been impressive.’


At the presentation, First National Real Estate Cairns Central received the following awards.


  • Highest Increase of Property Management Gross Revenue (%)
  • Commercial  Highest Number of Exclusive Listings
  • Commercial Highest Number of Settled Sales


Key staff also received recognition for their individual performances:

  • Grant Stone received the Gold award
  • Chris Eustace received the Silver award
  • Susan Anderson received the Silver award
  • Patrice Hayton received the Administrator of the year award


David Forrest said the First National GEM Awards are an important event as they present an opportunity for the network’s members to celebrate achievements, while encouraging their colleagues to aspire to an ongoing process of performance improvement that benefits customers.




Issued by: First National Real Estate Cairns Central:


For further information contact: David Forrest, Principal, First National Real Estate Cairns Central, on 07 4046 9300 announces ‘most recommended’ agents for 2015



Not so long ago, a real estate agent’s most powerful tool for winning business was the number and sale value of properties they’d sold.

These figures still count – but in an era when 88 per cent of consumers are reading online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, it’s bona fide reviews from other vendors that often influence their decision to choose one real estate agent over another.

As Australia’s only truly independent real estate agent ratings website, with almost 100,000 genuine reviews from vendors, is delighted to announce the most recommended agents Australia-wide for 2015.

“These are the most independent real estate awards in the country because they’re determined purely by clients’ experiences of their selling agents,” says Mark Armstrong, CEO of “The ‘most recommended’ agents are those who received the highest number of positive client reviews for properties they sold during 2015.

“The only way agents can qualify for these awards is to list and sell property, and receive reviews for the properties they sell. And, because each review is linked with a property transaction on, they carry substantial credibility with the people who read them.”

Within the most recommended awards there are three categories for agents and agencies:

  • Australia’s top 100 most recommended (see below)
  • the top 10 most recommended in each state
  • the most recommended in each ‘qualifying’ suburb (that is, suburbs where an agent or agency has sold at least five properties and received at least five positive reviews during 2015).

All winners are listed here.

Cairns City most recommended agent or agency

Sue Anderson of First National Cairns Central and Cairns Beaches has taken out top honours in Cairns City for 2015 with positively reviewed sales

First National Real Estate Headshots

First National Cairns Central and Cairns Beaches is  not alone in their awareness of the importance of vendor reviews. “Australia’s most recommended agents already know that having genuine reviews in the public domain is the most credible and effective tool to help vendors choose an agent,” says Armstrong. “Now, First National Real Estate Cairns Central and Cairns Beaches and the other winners can use their ‘most recommended’ status as a powerful tool to boost their profiles. It’s a genuine game-changer for the industry.”

By Mark Armstrong

Cairns councillors expected to sign off on $550 million C3 towers

THE tick of approval for the $550 million C3 tower development is expected to be granted today when the proposal is brought before Cairns Regional Council.

The project, first announced early last year, involves the construction of one 24-storey high and two 23-level towers in Sheridan St, opposite the city’s convention centre.

Hailed by business leaders as a way to inspire renewed confidence in the Cairns CBD, the 796-unit complex will likely be a mix of residential and holiday accommodation, as well as office and shopping spaces.

Once built, the three towers will be the tallest in the city, with the smaller two measuring 69m above ground level and the taller reaching 72m.

They will dwarf the city’s tallest building – the Cairns Corporate Tower – by more than 13m.

Developers Frank Gasparin and Peter James previously told The Cairns Post construction of C3 would directly provide 100 fulltime jobs a year over five years and up to 240 jobs indirectly.

While communal facilities including a pool, barbecues, landscaped open spaces and a gym area have been proposed for the top podium of each building, the council’s officers have recommended these be for residents and guests only and not be open to the public.

The company behind the project is CIU1 Pty Ltd, a consortium of city property identities led by Mr Gasparin and Mr James.

The site – an old Queensland Rail property owned by the two developers – is not a stranger to grand proposals, with at least three now lapsed high-rise development applications presented to the council since 2005.

According to the developers, the site was also previously considered for a university and a performing arts campus.

Mr Gasparin, who lives in Cairns, yesterday said he and Mr James believed the time was now right for the towers, with the city’s economy on the turn.

“A few things need to happen for the city really to move on, and I think behind the scenes things are happening,” Mr Gasparin said.

While he said the Aquis casino mega development “would help”, he said C3 was not dependent on it going ahead.

Another large-scale project coming to the city is the $450 million Nova 8 seven-tower development on Spence St, with works beginning last year.

Approval for C3 is subject to normal utility, parking, and privacy conditions, as well as an assurance the towers won’t impact on air traffic.

Work is expected to begin late this year or early next year.


Tourism sector set for another bumper year

WITH a strong Christmas and New Year season behind us and a buoyant Chinese New Year to look forward to, Tropical North Queensland has a very happy 2016 in the making.
The region’s diverse offering with our dual World Heritage areas, more than 100 ways to see the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback easily accessed from the coast ensures visitors can tailormake their holiday to suit their interests.

Tropical North Queensland delivers a holiday with quality products in a safe environment, making it a popular choice for Australian and international travellers.
And with the Australian dollar dipping to US68c last week, travel to destinations such as ours becomes even more attractive.
The most recent international and national visitor surveys show just how popular our destination is with Tropical North Queensland the No.1 region in Queensland for international holidays and record spending by domestic visitors. These great results prompted the Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones to issue a media release saying the strong rise in holiday travel to Tropical North Queensland resulted in Queensland’s best yet year in domestic tourism.
The 2.8 million visitors to Tropical North Queensland and $3.1 billion expenditure for the
year ending September exceeded Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s targets, and there are signs this forward trajectory should continue.

Chinese New Year next month is jump-starting the year with some 100 charter flights
from mainland China and Hong Kong as well as additional domestic flights adding to our four weekly Cathay Pacific services. We have an early Easter to look forward to in March and a strong calendar of more than 60 events throughout the year to attract visitors to Tropical North Queensland.
Our strategy to draw visitors to the region during shoulder seasons will be boosted as new
and existing events move to these seasons. The Professional Bull Riders, for example, has moved to March. We have some top international events this year with the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship moving to Cairns in June and the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup returning in April. The RACQ North Queensland Games will bring 5000 competitors
in June and the highly anticipated NRL match featuring Premiership winners North
Queensland Cowboys in July will attract strong numbers. In between we have events across many sports including BMX, AFL, baseball, cricket, running and cycling, as well as a mix of cultural festivities such as the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the Cairns Ukulele Festival.

The conference sector is looking strong as the Cairns Convention Centre has a good mix of
association and corporate events booked across the medical, scientific and agricultural sectors. The 1500-passenger Pacific Eden will homeport in Cairns bringing an $8 million boost to the region as passengers fly in and out to join her. Our Reef fleet has expanded with new and upgraded vessels to cater for the anticipated interest following Tourism Australia’s coastal campaign and Sir David Attenborough’s series on the Great Barrier Reef, plus a worldclass aquarium is under construction.
While Tourism Tropical North Queensland helps drive the positive results we are  enjoying, ultimately it is the tourism industry that deserves the accolades. We are fortunate to have many businesses in our region that deliver quality tourism experiences.
This was demonstrated last week in TripAdvisor’s 2016 Travellers’ Choice Awards where five Tropical North Queensland operators were among the top 25 hotels.


Sheraton Mirage first stage upgrade nears completion at Port Douglas

The Fullshare Group has announced a complete redevelopment of the Sheraton Mirage resort

THE $40 million first stage of the Sheraton Mirage Resort redevelopment at Port Douglas has reached halfway.

About half of the resort’s 294 rooms have been refurbished and demolition of the central complex is under way.

It comes as amendments to the property’s Integrated Resort Scheme deed of agreement have been supported by Douglas Shire Council and now go to the State Government.

If approved by the State Government, which regulates the development and use of the land within the Sheraton Mirage precinct under the Integrated Resort Development Act 1987 (IRDA), the amendments will formalise land use and infrastructure arrangements between the council and the resort’s developers.

The proposed amendments allow for a day spa, a health/rejuvenation centre and a medical centre in the residential precinct of the resort, the relocation of the heliport and the realignment of the golf course and resolve infrastructure and water issues.

Managing director Yi Yu said it would pave the way for the second stage of the $200 million resort redevelopment, which included a new $10 million convention centre near the Sheraton, a new conference hotel near the country club, day spa and health centre, apartments, new golf residential estates, a gated estate and six-star villas along the beachfront.

“This will enable us to proceed with stage two in the future,” he said.

Mr Yu said in the meantime stage one was progressing well.

He said the first stage, which included the remaining hotel suite refurbishments as well as a new lobby cafe bar, should be completed by mid-May.

Mayor Julia Leu said the agreement was the result of extensive and detailed negotiations between the council and the resort developers.

“The Sheraton Mirage is an iconic resort not just for Port Douglas, but for Australia, which is demonstrated by the fact that its land uses are regulated by a specific piece of state legislation,” she said.

“It’s great news for the Douglas Shire and the Australian tourism industry that the developers are so focused on returning the Sheraton Mirage to its former glory with a multimillion-dollar refurbishment and these proposed amendments pave the way for this to occur.”


Tourism minister praises Far North Queensland for visitor and dollar growth


THE tropical north’s tourism industry has received a glowing year-end report card from state Tourism Minister Kate Jones.

The praise from George St follows the latest National Visitor Survey results showing the region has topped growth in domestic holiday visitor numbers by 21 per cent to 1.1 million people and overall numbers by 19.4 per cent to 2 million.

For the first time Australians holidaying in the region spent more than $2 billion in a year and with overseas tourists the total was $3.1 billion.

Ms Jones said the “strong rise in holiday travel to Tropical North Queensland has resulted in Queensland’s best-ever year in domestic tourism”.

“As it did in the recent international survey, Tropical North Queensland continues to record significant uplift with a 19 per cent rise in total visitors to just over two million with more than $2 billion, an 18 per cent growth in expenditure,” Ms Jones said.

“This supports Tourism and Events Queensland’s strong focus on the Great Barrier Reef and Tropical North Queensland as one of the most sought after locations on earth.

“Domestic overnight visitor expenditure increased in six of Queensland’s tourism regions, with the strongest growth recorded in TNQ and Townsville.”

Queensland Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said it was “a great result”.

“It’s an indication we are back in business in Queensland,” he said.

“I was in Cairns last week. There is a good mood. The restaurants are busy, the retailers are busy, the operators are busy, the hotels are busy.”

Mr Gschwind said the Great Barrier Reef was fundamental to tourism.

He said the Sir David Attenborough Reef series to be broadcast next year would have an enormous impact.

TTNQ business and tourism events director Rosie Douglas said TTNQ and the region’s operators had long recognised the importance of the domestic market.

“We have been consistent in our domestic marketing even during the years when the Australian dollar was high,” she said.

Ms Douglas said events were designed to draw visitors in the off-season.

“Its success was demonstrated by the Brisbane Roar game in Cairns last weekend which attracted strong visitation from Brisbane during a normally quiet time,” she said.