Redland City Council pushes state government to take more action to help North Stradbroke Island transition

TRANSITION UNDER WAY: The Queensland government has budgeted about $25 million for the North Stradbroke Island economic transition strategy.
TRANSITION UNDER WAY: The Queensland government has budgeted about $25 million for the North Stradbroke Island economic transition strategy.

REDLAND City Council has called on the state government to immediately take measures like subsiding transport, improving communications and reinvesting mining royalties received over decades to help North Stradbroke Island transition from sandmining.

Council on Wednesday agreed to a 10-point state and federal advocacy document saying that the state government's North Stradbroke Island economic transition strategy's 23 initiatives were mainly long-term.

The Queensland government has so far budgeted $24.75 million on the strategy after deciding in 2016 that sandmining on Straddie would end this year.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said that a number of new tourism infrastructure projects - like the $9 million cultural centre which had no council funding and a $2.6 million whale interpretive centre - were under way.

"The state government is putting its money where its mouth is," Ms Jones said. "I can assure all locals that we'll continue to deliver."

Cr Peter Mitchell said that the strategy, in its third year of implementation, had two projects completed.

"The slow pace of the NSI ETS, coupled with a perceived lack of transparency regarding land tenures, has resulted in a level of concern among some of the community," Cr Mitchell said.

"With the end of sandmining now mere months away, community anxiety is increasing and I believe immediate action is needed to maintain unity and generate economic and investment confidence on the island."

Council called on the state government to subsidise marine transport to and from the island, provide an island bus service, replace mining company Sibelco's community fund that had contributed more than $1 million to sporting clubs and organisations, contribute towards the Snapper Street pedestrian link and other recreational trails, develop a 10 to 20-year transition funding model, an overall vision for the island and a Moreton Bay tourism strategy and communicate better with island residents, especially about land tenures and future land use.

Council also called on the federal government to provide communication infrastructure.

Cr Mitchell said the projects were not intended to replace existing projects or those already planned.

Cr Williams said she had raised the issues with Ms Jones and was hopeful there would be a positive response to what council had outlined.

"In addition to extra funding, there is a desperate need for more genuine and inclusive engagement with the island community, which should include both traditional owners and other stakeholders," Cr Williams said.

Ms Jones said that she and Cr Williams had met monthly since Ms Jones took responsibility for the ETS.

"I take the mayor at her word that she is just as committed to the transition on Minjerribah as we are," Ms Jones said.

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