Secession move needs a little thought | Opinion

RUSSELL Island residents have made a call to break away from Redland City Council and become part of the Gold Coast local authority area.

It’s a canny move perhaps aimed at pressuring council to ramp up spending on the island.

At first glance you might think it would be wise for council to cut the islanders adrift. After all the island is not easy to govern.

It has a long list of problems, many stemming from the catastrophic carve up of farmland into an impossible-to-manage residential hodgepodge in the 1970s.

This development was ticked off by the state government of the time and years later the island and its myriad problems became part of the then Redland Shire. 

It included blocks of land under water at high tide and imaginary roads drawn on maps, with little planning for what would have to occur with expensive infrastructure like sewerage, transport or parking once the island population swelled.

People move to this pretty place and buy land at the right price but do not take into account that they will live in what can be, in some ways, a remote area. They subsequently incur high transport costs.

The reality that there are difficulties in island or remote living is not new. People who live on Norfolk Island complain of similar issues as do those in remote areas of the far north and far west of Queensland.

This leads to the regular north Queensland call for the region to secede. Some north Queenslanders argue that too much money is spent on the south-east corner of the state but figures show this is not the case.

It might well be that some councillors feel they would be well rid of the islanders.

More likely councillors would not want to lose the island for fear the subsequent reduction in size of Redland City Council would put it at risk of being eaten up by larger councils in any redraw of boundaries.

Islanders might feel that they would get a better go from the much bigger Gold Coast City Council but that is highly unlikely.

None of the problems on Russell Island will change and it is hard to imagine that Gold Coast councillors would prioritise island spending any more than Redlands.

Cr Mark Edwards makes a valid point that it would hardly help islanders if they became a smaller voice in a bigger council.

Certainly, islanders are right about Russell’s beauty and potential. But as the old saying goes, sometimes you have to be careful about what you wish for.

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