Hard hitting campaign planned aimed at winning more North Stradbroke Island state government funding

STRADDIE PLAN: Mayor Karen Williams plans to lobby local MPs in an effort to pressure the state government into putting more money into the transition from mining on North Stradbroke Island.
STRADDIE PLAN: Mayor Karen Williams plans to lobby local MPs in an effort to pressure the state government into putting more money into the transition from mining on North Stradbroke Island.

COUNCIL proposes a ratepayer-funded political-style campaign to leverage more money from the state government for North Stradbroke Island as mining winds down.

Documents leaked to Redland City Bulletin show the proposal has strong political overtones, with information to be handed out on election day.

It's based on the hard-hitting style of campaigning run by left-wing group GetUp! which has become prominent at elections over the past decade.

As a bipartisan campaign, it proposes to target all candidates in the four local state seats - Redlands, Cleveland, Capalaba and Springwood.

MPs will have to declare whether or not they back the campaign which will likely put pressure on government members Don Brown at Capalaba and Mick de Brenni at Springwood regarding solidarity on Cabinet decisions.

The government has proposed $20 million for the North Stradbroke Island Economic Transition Strategy but the Redland City Council wants this boosted to $120 million.

If approved, it will see Cr Julie Talty potentially having influence in the council campaign, despite her standing for the LNP against Labor’s Housing Minister Mr de Brenni.

Mayor Karen Williams was unrepentant about the campaign, saying it was aimed at saving every Redland ratepayer money.

She said planning started on the campaign last year before Cr Talty announced her state candidacy.

The campaign would cost about $12,000 and had the potential to bring in millions if it was successful. “I’m not backing off this one bit,’’ she said.

Her hope was that the campaign would be supported by all sides as had occurred when council lobbied the state government to have ex-HMAS Tobruk sunk off Straddie as a dive site, with Labor and LNP MPs backing council.

Cr Williams said Redland was a relatively small council area that had an eternal struggle in its fight for funding against much larger councils with far more substantial budgets.

Documents show the campaign was planned to run using the election as leverage.

The campaign proposes maritime life rings be used as props to highlight the issue any time a minister should visit Redlands.

Life rings will also be presented to each local MP which they will sign if they agree to the campaign as well as signing a larger version.

"Get a giant life ring (2 or 3 metres in diameter) with the names of every candidate in all four target seats with a spot for them to sign their name,'' the proposal says. "As an optic, this will easily demonstrate who is on board and who is not.''

It is not clear how a target of $120 million has been set because the document says council should "develop a wishlist of projects they would like to see occur".

The campaign raises questions about whether it is appropriate for ratepayer funds to be used in such a politically sensitive way during an election, given the PR campaign includes brochures, bumper stickers, petitions, information stalls and mail-outs.

Cr Williams said the government expected council to contribute to the mining transition which meant that it would impact on every ratepayer.