the Breeze

EDITORIAL March 2015


THE TURMOIL OF CHANGING GOVERNMENTS

The Queensland State election was a surprise to many, particularly the Labor Party.

New Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was as surprised as anyone, but seemingly has risen to the task.

The trouble with Government change is the uncertainty it brings.

Local Government is affected, and so is business.

For our islands in particular, uncertainty is the name of the game.

Because clear direction is still to come, a shadow hangs over a number of industries and projects.

All of our islands will be affected.

The biggest dose of uncertainty is on North Stradbroke Island.

Whilst both parties say they are 'about jobs'; it is jobs that will be the focus on our biggest Moreton Bay Island.

There are clear differences in policy between the two major parties in Queensland politics when it comes to sand mining on North Stradbroke Island.

Mining company Sibelco employs 275 on Straddie.

The Labor Party's policy has for some years been to wind up sand mining by 2019 - just three years away.

Whether that is still the Government's stated position given the imminent time frame, remains to be seen.

Clearly the island, Sibelco, and the people employed in the sand mining industry were lulled into a false sense of security given the huge mandate the previous Newman LNP Government had.

That Government's policy was to wind up sand mining on North Stradbroke in 2035 - 20 years down the track.

The difference between the two policies on timing is significant and of a concern.

The North Stradbroke Economic Forum was put in place by the previous Government to look at the transition. That is now thrown into some turmoil.

After all, it has only just started the process.

The other key projects are the Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek re-developments.

They seem further down the track in planning with the Walker Group working on plans and direction.

It would surprise if the new government intervened to halt these Priority Development Area projects, but nothing is certain.

Uncertainty is death in politics and so, it seems, is taking Government for granted no matter the number of seats a party has to its advantage.

Clarification of the new Labor Government's position is vital.

And so is the position of Independent Member for Nicklin, Peter Wellington. He holds the balance of power in the current parliament.

It would be interested to see how he sees the subjects we have raised here?

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