the Breeze

STATE GOVERNMENT 'NO' TO AN ISLAND COUNCIL!

March 13, 2014

 The Queensland State Government has ruled out the Southern Moreton Bay Islands having their own, separate Local Government Council.It has told the Redland City Council that it believes being part of a larger stronger Redland Council offers the best path forward. Cr Mark Edwards, who instigated the request for the State to undertake an economic viability assessment, said that he was 'not surprised' and would not expect any support for an island Council 'unless it was viable'.He told The Friendly Bay Islander: "Following on from the recent Small Islands Forum, we have learnt that State has a significant role to play in provision of services and infrastructure to islands. "In making a determination not to assess an island Council, the State should consider investing more interest and planning to all the islands of Moreton Bay. "Greater State financial support to the Council is always welcomed," the councillor said.Cr Edwards said another option for the islands could be for the SMB Islands to have their own Divisional seat at the council table. "The next step is to review our islands Councillor divisions."There is a councillor representing North Stradbroke Island, another councillor representing Coochiemudlo Island and a third Councillor representing SMBI. In all of these divisions, the councillors have a much larger community divisional base on the mainland. "Whilst it is beneficial to have three Councillors with an island interest within their Division, I believe it would be better to have a dedicated island Division representative of all the islands."An alternative would be no Divisions and then all Councillors would be required to act holistically and not divisionally?When asked if the islands are different to the mainland, Councillor Edwards said “ There are challenges and differences in relation to infrastructure, transport, logistics, support services, economic base and the islands' water separation from the mainland should be considered as making a remote community.” The question of Divisional representation will be left until another day. Cr Edwards concluded: "What is clear is that the islands will continue to remain part of Redland City Council and we need to work together to ensure we realise all the opportunities to further develop and enhance our islands."

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