- Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney
Despite overtures and debate promoted by Member for Redlands, Peter Dowling, a bridge to Russell Island is not on the agenda of the Newman Queensland State Government.
Clarification on the matter was sought by Redland City Council Division 5 representative, Cr Mark Edwards.
"I was concerned following comments by Peter Dowling, and had been asked about the issue by many island residents.
"As a result, I wrote to Minister Seeney stating that the council would support a bridge if it were to become State policy.
"His letter is self explanatory and a bridge is not on the agenda with the LNP," Cr Edwards said.
Speaking on behalf of Deputy Premier the Hon Jeff Seeney, his chief of staff, Mary Sharp, said: "I can advise the Newman Government is not currently considering building a bridge to Stradbroke or Russell Island.
"Rather, we will continue to work towards making public transport options, such as ferries, accessible and affordable for the community.
"I appreciate this is not the outcome the Russell Island community are hoping for, however, with the State Government's current financial position, we are unable to consider such a proposal at this time."
Cr Edwards believes before the issue of a bridge is broached again, "a wider discussion needs to evolve about State responsibility to contribute to a wider range of infrastructure needs on the islands which would also deliberate on a bridge and short haul barges.
"That discussion would centre around forward planning and ensure that the community is involved in a process to discuss what infrastructure is wanted by the community and when that needs to be delivered.
"As a community, if a bridge is the accepted eventual outcome, we need to think about at what population level on the islands is the trigger to deliver a bridge or is it something that is set as a timeline instead?
"What other infrastructure is required before then and after? How, as a community, can we ensure the 'islands feel' is retained as the housing density increases?
"What is the trigger to sewer the islands; when does a high school need to be considered; how do we fund the sealing of all roads by a certain date?
"There are many other services and improvements to consider that need long-term planning, community involvement and the commitment from the State and Federal governments to join with Council for delivery of projects over an agreed timeframe.
"It makes sense to have a co-ordinated approach with a commitment to delivering a community focused outcome," Cr Edwards said.