the Breeze

Editorial October

WHY WE NEED TO DECENTRALISE SMALL INDUSTRY TO OUR ISLANDS

The Friendly Bay Islander believes the islands have to address the shocking demographics that have been revealed in the recently released Redlands Coast Transport Strategy.

The details of the figures are featured in a story on page 4 of this edition.

Basically they reveal that islanders have half the income of our mainland counterparts at just $46,060 compared to $94,380.

At the same time, our rents are 2/3 of mainland rents: $265 v $400 per week.

The island unemployment rate is staggering at 21.7% compared to 9% in the rest of the Redlands whilst the Australian unemployment rate average is currently 5.3%

21% of island families are regarded as low income, compared to 8% in the Redlands and the average age is 41.1 on the mainland compared to 55.5 on the islands.

Basically the figures are telling us we are older; earn half the income; a quarter of us don’t work; our rental comparisons are higher; and there is little island work to be had.

The figures also tell us unless we do something about it, the future of our islands will be very bleak indeed.

Consider this: What happens when island property values climb to parity with the mainland and the rest of the figures remain unchanged?

Throw in the current situation where there are very few island jobs because there is very little island industry.

And there is very little island industry because there is no industry infrastructure on our islands.

Whilst on Russell Island there is some land zoned for ‘commercial and industry’, there is none on Macleay Island!

The figures and the situation on our islands could be labelled a ‘Perfect Storm’.

The Friendly Bay Islander believes the way forward is a form of ‘decentralisation’ of small industry to our islands.

There are many small manufacturing businesses located in the outer suburbs of Brisbane that could be ‘targeted’ and enticed to relocate to our islands.

These would each employ say between 5 and 20 people.

Cheap land and some added ‘incentives’ could make such a proposition very attractive for many.

And ‘targets’ could be attracted on the basis that they would be complementary to island living and island lifestyle, particularly from an environmental point of view.

One island business owner several years ago moved his manufacturing business to the islands and he discovered that the work force was more reliable and that via Australia Post, his delivery costs were far lower. He was surprised at the hidden benefits of locating on the islands.

We know Redland City Councillor Mark Edwards is keen on developing an industrial precinct on council land on Macleay Island, and this could assist the process.

More island jobs will change the demographic that currently is presented via the recent figures.

More island jobs equals less work travel; more island income; improved property values; less unemployment; and less a perceived burden on society.

(SEE STORY PAGE 4)

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