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the Breeze

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For the first time in our memory, the Southern Bay Islands have become an item in a Queensland State Budget.

For years, whilst SE Queensland has had billions spent on vital infrastructure for the fastest growing area in Australia, the islands have literally ‘missed the boat’.

It was a major boost for the islands in 2012 when the LNP Government was enticed to link island passenger ferry services to the Translink network, providing a huge boost to the islands connectivity to the mainland and with each other.

This didn’t happen, however, without some arm twisting and contribution from Redland City Council and the islands themselves.

However, when it came to big ticket items, the small island group have been the ‘poor island relations’.

That all changed in the recent 2018-2019 Queensland State Budget announced by Treasurer Jacki Trad with announcements affecting both North Stradbroke Island and the Southern Bay Islands.

North Stradbroke Island is to get a further $11 million to aid the ‘transition’ from Sand Mining which is to finally close down on the island next year.

This follows on from an initial outlay of $20 million to aid that process that has so far not seen any major boost to island employment.

Clearly the tourism industry will be the major benefactor and positive outcomes are hoped for as the process continues.

Treasurer Trad also allocated in her mid June budget $17.5 million for ferry terminal infrastructure on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, comprising $10.8 million for the complete build this financial year of a new Russell Island jetty.

The Treasurer also indicated she had allocated a 50% funding of the jetty builds for Macleay Island $6 million, Lamb Island $5 million and Karragarra $4.5 million.

These funds have been indicated for the 2019-2020 financial year.

The announcement was a clear ‘win’ for enthusiastic new Labor MP Kim Richards who, we know, had lobbied vigorously for the funding.

It is no surprise she was just a trifle ‘miffed’ when the Redland City Council announced just days before the budget that they were taking a strong stand on ‘who pays for what’ when it comes to infrastructure spending.

Council says it believes the State Government should be responsible for infrastructure over water; with the council responsible for associated infrastructure on land.

Council were inspired to make its stand when it ‘inadvertently’ discovered that right throughout Queensland, the State Government is responsible and pays for all jetty construction and upkeep.

Brisbane City and Redlands are the only councils not included in this scenario.

Fortunately, there is time to sort this out over the coming 12 months.

It should be remembered that the State Government has set a precedent in announcing total funding for one island jetty (Russell) but only 50% of funding for the remaining jetties on Macleay, Lamb and Karra.

Whatever way it goes, it is till good news for our islands and a positive outcome.

We are heading in the right directions!

Council now have to consider FUTURE PARKING NEEDS on Russell Island.

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