A big thanks to those locals and businesses who treated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to a warm welcome and a showcase of home-grown projects. Under blue skies at Raby Bay Harbour, the PM visited a series of kiosks where he learned about Redlands’ innovation that has the potential to change, improve and even save lives. From cancer drugs to boosting employment prospects to breaking the ICE epidemic, it’s all happening in our region. Redlands’ drug action team is working hard to implement services to reduce the scourge of ICE and other drugs in our community. The Senate is also considering a trial of drug-testing Newstart recipients after I went into bat for the trail-blazing testing devices of Cleveland-based Alcolizer. The PM heard how we’re determined to grow local jobs and so much more can be achieved if we help our vulnerable kids get the best possible start. My plan to use Medicare items to finance allied health visits to Early Learning centres has already been trialled in Redland City. As well, I’ve come up with a new approach to tracking performance in Queensland state schools. The Prime Minister also enjoyed meeting a couple of our “Sharktank” community grant winners. TRACTION’s Bicycle Build, Small Engines and Motorcycle programs give young people the chance to restore donated items while supported by volunteer mentors. Alexandra Hills’ Sycamore School provides a safe and inclusive educational environment for young people living with autism. Radiation pharmaceuticals are emerging as a new treatment class against prostate and other cancers. At a March 20 meeting last year, I proposed the PBS listing that was accepted by Health Minister Greg Hunt. Inspiration, hard work and ultimately success are alive in our community. Thanks for visiting, PM. And great job everybody!
I was shocked this week to see Council abandon the SMBI Ferry Terminal upgrades at their General Meeting in a unanimous vote by all Councillors. Council has had a Draft Business Case underway since 2016, which is still to be finalised. The position taken by Council is disappointing. In other news the most recent Parliamentary sitting week has seen legislation passed that will improve transparency and accountability within Local Governments across Queensland with amendments to legislation on Councillor Complaints process and implementing Stage 1 of the Crime and Corruption Commission's Belcarra Report findings. On more positive news it was terrific to meet with representatives from the Queensland Department of Tourism, Brisbane Marketing, RCC tourism officers, QYAC and the Mayor to discuss tourism in the Redlands. Quandamooka Coast and all our magnificent islands were at the heart of the agenda and discussions on opportunities. In June I'm looking forward to celebrating volunteers on Russell Island, a big thanks to Shirley Bennett for bringing it all together. Finally congratulations to the team at Tingira Boat Club what a fantastic 10th Annual Macleay Classic. The event hosted over 45 entrants from across Queensland and Northern NSW!
At our 23 May General Meeting Council drew a line in the sand with respect to marine public transport infrastructure for our islands by calling on the State Government to fund the upgrade of the Southern Moreton Bay Island Ferry Terminals and Rocky Point boat ramp and associated infrastructure. While Council has previously helped fund some public transport infrastructure in the city, the fact remains public transport is operated and funded by the State Government. As such Council’s decision sets a policy position with respect to funding marine transport infrastructure moving forward, allowing the State Government to allocate future funding accordingly. Council officers have been working with Translink on a business case for the upgrade of the SMBI ferry terminals for some time to decide the most appropriate funding mix. During this work it emerged that of the nine regulated Translink ferry services across the State, there are only two councils required to help fund ferry infrastructure for their city; namely Redland City Council and Australia’s largest Council Brisbane. This means Council’s decision to ask the State to fund these projects is consistent with that of other councils across the State. Ferry services to and from the SMBIs became part of the Translink network in 2013 and in 2017 there were on average 1400 people using the service every weekday, so it makes sense for the State Government to fund the infrastructure needed for this service. Over the years ratepayers have paid millions of dollars for marine public transport infrastructure, a perfect example is the Macleay Island project currently under construction, which cost Council $6 million and the State Government $2 million. With a relatively modest rates base compared to our larger neighbours such as Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Redland City Council needs to use our funding wisely in order to deliver value for money to our ratepayers and this decision is designed to do just that. I have discussed this decision with State member for Redlands Kim Richards who I know is a great advocate for her community and will do all she can to ensure there is adequate state funding to deliver these important projects for her community. Council has also written to the State transport Minister asking him to urgently complete the hydrographic investigations on the requested Rocky Point boat ramp and provide the results to Council and the community. We have also asked the Minister to fund the boat ramp and associated infrastructure to service it. Redland City’s waterways are critical to our residents’ daily commute. As a city of islands, water based public transport is as critical to us as buses and trains are to mainland communities and for this reason Council is asking the state to fund the necessary water based public transport infrastructure to ensure our residents can get where they need to go faster and safer. I look forward to the State’s response and working with our state member and Minister to ensure the Redlands has first class public transport services.
Over the last term and a half that I have been your Councillor, I have worked hard to achieve, with the support of other Councillors, accelerated delivery of infrastructure to the islands such as sports fields, skate park, park upgrades, foreshore redevelopment, sealing the roads etc. In the 1970’s the State government transferred the islands to Council following the infamous carve up of the islands into small blocks without providing any infrastructure. Council is committed to continue this island focused delivery of infrastructure which consumes a great deal of Councils available revenue. Just two projects, road sealing and Weinam Creek redevelopment will draw tens of millions of dollars over the projects life. We now face an additional challenge with the need to replace the islands jetties to which Translink delivers the passenger ferry service. The cost to replace these jetties at just a reasonable standard is over $26 million and unfortunately Translink are expecting Council to significantly contribute to fund their infrastructure. Outside of Brisbane, no other Council has been expected to pay for Translink jetty infrastructure. It is important to understand that the State controls the water ways of Moreton Bay and the foreshores on the islands. Our island jetties are no different to a bus stop, train station or the Weinam Creek terminal. Council has taken a position that Translink must fund the jetty replacements and look after their assets as is done elsewhere in the State. If Council had to contribute to rebuild the jetties, for every $800,000 contributed, rates across the city would have to rise by 1%. When we consider island ratepayers already contribute around $1million a year to Translink via a levy and Translink share in the transport revenue the passenger boats receive, we must stand firm and insist that Translink fund jetty replacements that will cater for the present and future needs. This is not an issue against our State Member; Kim Richards has been wonderful to work with and very supportive of council and island issues. It is a position taken between Council and Translink. I would like island residents to back Council to the fullest to ensure that Translink funds and builds the standard of jetties needed and avoid massive rate increases. Council continues to be committed to the islands but can’t fund costs that Translink or any other State agency should be responsible for. Council has drawn a line in the sand to fight for island funding and we need your support to send a message that we must be treated the same as everywhere else where Translink funds its water assets.