the Breeze

OUT WITH THE OLD . . . .

PETER DOWLING REFLECTS ON HIS PUBLIC CAREER

• A relaxed Peter Dowling in his office just prior to the State election.

Former State Member for Redlands, Peter Dowling, says he bears 'no malice' to anyone as he rides off into the sunset on a 15-year political career.

Save perhaps for President of the LNP, Bruce McIver!

Mr Dowling's demise is well known given the publicity that surrounded his non-endorsement for the seat of Redlands following a personal matter that became public, and allegations in relation to entitlements, of which he was subsequently cleared.

He admits to being disappointed at his 'abandonment' by the State Executive of the LNP.

"I wouldn't have minded my dis-endorsement had it been made it clear to me by LNP president Bruce McIver, when I fronted him after being cleared of allegations that were made against me in relation to use of entitlements.

"Had he said, 'we won't support you', I would have copped it.

"It didn't happen that way and after receiving support from many of my colleagues, including Premier Campbell Newman, I found the local branch meeting stacked with a few faces we haven't seen before, and I was history."

So, Peter Dowling is moving onto his next stage in life.

"I am out of work and will be looking for a job," he told The Friendly Bay Islander in an EXCLUSIVE interview.

"I am leaning towards a role in humanitarian work involving helping to provide housing to the handicapped, indigenous Australians and others," he said.

The former Member for Redlands says he has been surprised at the number of people who have sought him out and thanked him for his contribution.

"It has been quite touching."

He says he is 'happy' to step out of the limelight and spend time with his wife and family and become 'a bit of recluse, grow a beard and mow the lawn for a while'.

Peter Dowling lists the roll out of Translink to the Bay Islands as perhaps his greatest achievement as Member for Redlands.

He was also pleased with his contribution to the PDA's for Redlands at Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek.

So much so, that former State Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney admitted that Peter Dowling had been a 'rottweiler' in his determination for the PDA at Weinam Creek.

He says the Walker Group plans for Toondah Harbour are 'mind-blowing', but more work needs to be done on the Weinam Creek concept.

He is disappointed that Weinam Creek and the new Shoreline Suburb had not been signed off by the time of his standing down, but 'such is life'.

He believes he cannot imagine a future for the Bay Islands without a bridge.

"I believe it will come one day".

"Discussion about a bridge draws attention to the lack of infrastructure on the islands.

"A bridge to Russell brings everything closer and becomes less costly," he added.

Some of his best memories come from helping individual people who really needed help.

"I am also confident that the Redlands is a much better place today than when I first entered politics as a Councillor on the Redland City Council."

Nine years a councillor and six as a State Member of Parliament have seen huge transitions throughout Redlands.

"Take Victoria Point. When I first started out it was a rural industrial landscape, and look at it today. I am proud that this community has blossomed on my watch," he said.

As for the Bay Islands, he is not as buoyant.

He says the islands' difficulties have been '40 years in the making'.

He admits that there are no real forseeable solutions.

He lists the problems as isolation, over crowding, poor planning, expensive to service, and historically is attracting the neediest and the lowest socio-economic profile, a demographic that highlights the lack of social infrastructure, compounding an already stressed situation.

"It is not cheap to get to the islands, to live there or to service," just for good measure

Not a bad list!

He adds that the situation has not been helped in the past by some 'who should have known better'.

"Island residents should know that they are buying blocks of land that area at a fraction of mainland prices.

'If you pay $20,000 for a block of land, you should not then expect sealed roads, curb and guttering, sewerage and water. That is why land on the mainland land sells in the hundreds of thousands."

And for good measure: "Rates are about maintenance, not building infrastructure," he added.

We may not hear much more about Peter Dowling, but he admits to doing his utmost best for the community whilst holding public office.

C'est la vie!

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