Zipline Australia is planning a treetop canopy zipline from the summit of Mt Coot-tha.
Zipline Australia is planning a treetop canopy zipline from the summit of Mt Coot-tha.

Former commando finds future in tourism

MIKE Thompson used to be a commando in the Australian Army so he knows a thing or two about jungles and ropes.

So when he and brother Matt decided to get into the tourism game a few years back something combining the two seemed natural.

The brothers now run Zipline Australia, the company planning a treetop canopy zipline from the summit of Mt Coot-tha, an indigenous cultural heritage tour and suspension bridge

Mike Thompson left the army back in 2005 to pursue a career in security before getting into the tourism game in 2011.

He now bases himself in Vanuatu with his young family, where he runs a jungle zipline operation catering to cruise line passengers.


Illustration of Mike Thompson by Brett Lethbridge.
Illustration of Mike Thompson by Brett Lethbridge.


"That was where I got the idea for the zipline," Mike tells your diarist. "I was sitting in Vanuatu wondering what I could for a job and I keep seeing all these big white ships coming in." Brother Matt says the Mt Coot-tha zipline will be all about appreciating nature rather than speed. "It is not about being superman," he says. "The top speed will be between 55km and 60km. We want people to appreciate the view and not having their eyes watering."


TROUBLED Blue Sky Alternative Investments, which posted a massive $86 million loss this year, has often boasted of its Brisbane roots. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that its listed fund Blue Sky Alternatives Access has decided to hold its annual general meeting in Sydney in November, and not at its usual venue at Brisbane's Stamford Plaza. Surely the fund wasn't scared of angry Brisbane shareholders hurling lukewarm cups of coffee and stale cucumbers. Shares in the Alternatives Access fund are down 28 per cent to 86 cents for the year.

No, sources say the reason is that the fund is based in Sydney and a majority of investors are apparently based in southern states. We believe that up to a point Lord Copper. Blue Sky Alternative Investments still plans to hold its AGM in Brisbane. Meanwhile Alternatives Access has announced a new director, Peter Wade, who just happens to be on the financial services and credit panel for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. ASIC just happens to be probing Blue Sky Alternative Investments disclosures at the moment.


NAB continues to burn whatever customer loyalty it has left with yet another branch closure in suburban Brisbane. NAB last month shuttered its Stafford City outlet, telling customers they will have to trek all the way over to Chermside or Brookside to access the closest branch. NAB has shuttered more than 50 branches around Australia in the past couple of years, many in country towns where the local bank is an economic lifeline.

In the past couple of months, NAB has closed branches at Lowood and Sherwood. Of course, all the big banks want us to go online allowing them to reap even bigger profits by cutting staff and other overheads.

NAB told Stafford City branch customers in a letter about the closure that "more of our customers are taking care of their banking online and on-the-go - and we need to make some changes too." What they refuse to consider is that Australia is an ageing population, not all of whom are tech savvy. City Beat has a mate who doesn't even have an ATM card.


Amid all the profits and loans results out yesterday for BoQ - motto: 'It's possible to love a bank, unless you're a victim of convicted Ponzi scheme financial planner Brad Sherwin" - were some interesting share movements.

Its business banking chief Brendan White was awarded 50,076 shares in 2018, and sold the lot. He started with 3330 shares in the year and finished with that same amount.

Meanwhile, chief executive Jon Sutton offloaded 120,000 shares, but still ended the year with 177,616 shares after being awarded a big chunk in 2018. Chief risk officer Peter Deans, meanwhile, was obviously balancing his portfolio, selling 80,472 stock after being awarded a package of 47,355 shares. Deans still owns 34,026 BoQ shares.

As for being a good customer, Sutton and his close interests have loans worth about $1.3 million with BoQ, while White has about $790,000 in borrowings.

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