Has Redland City Council done enough to ensure that there is an effective plan for Straddie’s future when sand mining finishes in few years from now?
In 2010 the Bligh Government announced the 2019 end to mining. Five years later Council has no plan on how it proposes to work with the State Government on this.
In 2012 the Newman Government was elected. It passed legislation that put the mining deadline out until 2035. That decision was to be tested in the High Court by traditional owners. Their argument was that this State legislation was over ridden by Federal Court legal agreements. Many native title lawyers agreed that the State legislation was, at best, legally risky.
In 2013 I argued that the State Government should be planning for ‘transition’ in case they lost in the High Court.
In 2014 (after prompting) the Mayor co-convened with Mark Robinson MP a Straddie Transition Group. It had one meeting before the election and produced a ‘terms of reference’. I wasn’t invited to be part of the group, so can’t vouch for it’s efforts, but you can see their website here.
In 2015 a new State Government has been elected and they are returning to previously pledged timelines and moving VERY quickly indeed.
At the last Council meeting I moved a motion to ask Council officers to prepare a proposal to put to the state government to source funds for Councils participation in the ‘Straddie Transition’ package.
In June of this year the Mayor and I met Minister for Environment, Stephen Miles who is heading up the Straddie transition effort. He indicated a eagerness to get going and that $20 million would be allocated in the budget. At that meeting I made the point that Council had many projects that could be ready to go quickly that would assist a transition. He invited a proposal from Council. My motion was intended to get that to happen.
The Mayor countered my motion with a do-nothing option. You can see her’s below also. The reasons for my motion were simple:
- The Bligh government has previously prepared a ‘Planning for Action’ document that outlines future actions.
- Advice from the Minister has been that they will be using that document as their blueprint for action.
- If you survey the document it becomes quickly apparent that the Council will have to be lead agent on a lot of the ‘actions’.
- There is a real sense of urgency in the government and there is no time to waste on getting a proposal done.
- Council needs to get active for the next few years.
- It makes sense that with our local knowledge we provide direct input into their considerations.
- It makes sense that we seek to offset the money that ratepayers would spend on the island with State government funds
- The State is thought to be finalising budget allocations now.
This is not the time for politicking. Straddie is not a political football. Its community and its future deserve better than this.
See my speech on the video recording – fast forward to 1.23.50 minutes which is when discussion about Straddie begins
That Council resolve:
- To prepare a funding proposal for submission to the State Government in order to access funds they have allocated to ‘economic transition’ on North Stradbroke Island.
- That this proposal includes any possible activities or infrastructure that currently are part of Council’s jurisdiction, or would sit on Council tenure.
- That the proposal include, but is not limited to; events, infrastructure and grants programs.
- That the proposal reflect and draw from the already existing, NSI, Planning for Action (Draft).
- That the proposal draw from Council’s already existing; Capital Works program, NSI Commercial Use of Public Open Space Strategy, Tourism Strategy, NSI Signage Plan and any other documents that officers think are relevant.
- That priority be given to projects that will offset ratepayer contributions to NSI ‘transition’.
- That the proposal be brought back to Council prior to November.
- That the proposal form a basis of any amendments required to Council’s Capital Works Program and Operational Plan.
- That the proposal form the basis of future discussions with State Government representatives on how we can partner with the State Government. This includes any participation in future consultative mechanisms that they State may set up.
The Mayor’s Motion
That Council resolve to:
- Request an urgent presentation to Council from the Interdepartmental Government Committee on NSI Economic Transition outlining:
a)Governance Structure of the NSI Economic Transition Committee (NSIETC);
b) Relevant ministerial office contacts for NSIETC;
c) The suggested 180 short, medium and long term actions sourced from various State Government and Council plans and strategies;
d) Update on North Stradbroke State Government planning outcomes;
e) Consideration of other sources of funding beyond the $20mill NSIET commitment including other State Government, Commonwealth Government and private enterprise;
- Forward any outstanding plans, strategies, programs and projects such as the NSI Commercial Use of Public Open Space Strategy that has not already been received by the relevant State Government Departments that could assist in positive opportunities for the economic transition of North Stradbroke Island.
- Consider the information presented before allocating Council resources in preparing further submissions to the State Government.
- Reconfirm commitment to working with the State Government to ensure the best possible outcome for economic opportunities, jobs and financial sustainability of residents of North Stradbroke Island and Redland City.
- Confirm Councils concerns on delivering sustainable economic outcomes within the stated transitional timeframe.