Hacked by Wissem Mahfoud
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.
The debate in Council on the very important Economic Development Framework on Wednesday was stopped by a ‘put’ motion.
This means that there is no further debate and the motion is voted on. That meant that I didn’t get to speak on this important topic…So, I have put my speaking notes below. Hope they make sense 🙂
Specific comments on industry sectors:
- A strategy that argued for some above trend growth industry sectors, and indicated where the smart focus and investment was, would have been good.
- Lack of any above average prospects in ‘smart’ industry due to lag in broadband; and same for manufacturing which can find better transport routes elsewhere; retail also in decline due online economy and difficult to participate without high speed broadband…where do we go?
- Construction is going to slow and it has nothing to do with supply. Everything to do with slowing population growth.. The possible PDA projects are seen as the counter to this slowing, but there is no discussion in paper on what major projects like this would do the local sector. Real estate sales are likely to be soaked up by large projects like this and the value added small construction firms and developers that rely on redevelopment and development at smaller scales don’t get a look in…
- Our biggest competitive advantage for our economy is our lifestyle, combined with our proximity to Brisbane. It would be a big mistake to kill our lifestyle with development that doesn’t come with infrastructure. And infrastructure bottlenecks that impact our liveability and attractiveness aren’t going away. Upstream is bad, not even close to getting downstream flow. Our government investment is important in making our liveability prime and central to future competitive advantage.
- Tourism strategy was supposed to have been refined and redelivered over two years ago and its still hanging out there…
With regards to the committee:
- ‘Action plans’ will now be delivered by industry representatives (?) who won’t be resourced to prepare – let alone have much of an understanding of the resources and regulatory environment of Council. What timelines do we have on these plans? Real ‘talkfest’ potential in this one…
- Delegating ‘action plans’ s is outsourcing of our responsibility. Collaboration is one thing but this is different.
- No geographical or community reps on the board. One could argue that for NSI, SMBI, Cleveland CBD and Capalaba they are equally important as a sector representative.
- there is no direction here as to where we should be allocating our resources other than servicing a committee.
- It is more a report on what is, and not about where, we need to go, much less, about how we get there.
- Philosophically, we are all ‘open for new business’ and not enough a ‘friend of business’. We have this ‘cargo cult’ mentality that big investors are going to drop from the sky and make things good and forgetting that healthy economies come from the thousands of small businesses that are trading profitably. One of the few ‘actions’ that was making a difference to these people was the ‘business grow’ program that has been axed…if we can’t afford that program then what actions can we afford that will make a difference to our home grown businesses. These people want help, advice etc and we’ve spent our resources on a strategy that has a plan to form a committee. And now we are going to service one.
- Our economic development efforts need framework. This ‘framework’ doesn’t deliver it.
- Are we doing action plans. In document the committee is but in Terms of Reference they simply provide feedback?
- If we are doing, who, when?
- Have we resourced digital strategy and island plans?
- Where is the tourism action plans?
- Why haven’t we refered to the bigger picture of plans – at least the “centre and employment strategy’ and ‘rural futures strategy’ and etc…
- Why not at least acknowledge the closure of mining?
- What does figure 10 mean? Pg 34
- Page 36 says we are going to do lots of things in the ‘climate change adaptation for business’ space but is it resourced?
- Framework implementation paradigm – are ‘innovation diversity’ and ‘labour force capacity’ our responsibility? Pg 44
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