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Looking at the year ahead - 2019 - it could be a year of ying and yang; of much to look forward too, but with uncertainty.

The biggest island impact this year will be the ending of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island.

With the announcement of the end to sand mining by the State Labor Government in 2016 with the promise of $20 plus million to aid the process, and a further allocation of another $11 million, uncertainty still prevails.

The direction then, as it is now, was to boost tourism.

It’s the answer that everyone comes up with when they don’t have any other ideas.

Three years down the track – and with just a few months to go, lots of meetings have been held and many ideas put forth, but still nothing of substance has evolved.

In the meantime, the businesses of North Stradbroke Island, are literally shaking in their boots because they have already seen business decline considerably as the sand mining has geared back to a trickle.

The $30 plus million that has been talked about and the ‘re-education’ of former mine workers has made little progress.

The one aspect about ‘tourism’ that those who don’t really know is that much of it results in casual and part-time jobs, with many becoming just small partnerships with little or no ‘grunt’.

We think the way forward is via an education agenda, even a ‘first ever’ Aboriginal University at Dunwich.

The plan for the delivery of the NSI Education Exchange and NSI Education and Training Products NSI ETS projects is a step in the right direction.

Minjerribah Ganaba is working in partnership with the Queensland Government’s Department of Education and the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training to enhance education, employment and training opportunities for NSI (Minjerribah) residents.

It is additionally coordinating, delivering and promoting the island as a destination for education and training to attract education focused visitors.

With such learning capabilities comes a boost to the economy via more teachers becoming resident and the housing of visiting students.

We will watch this direction with interest.

The other big issue is the development of temporary parking at Moore’s Road at Weinam Creek, and the start of work in the Weinam PDA area.

There is also the possibility of a major tourism element to this at a later date.

For the islands, it will improve our ‘front door’ and will set in place huge changes for the future.

The other big issue this year will be the proposed start to the replacement of our island jetties.

The Russell Island jetty is to be fully funded by the State Government and is earmarked for replacement this year. It will be the ‘benchmark’ for the rest of the islands.

The council ‘green seal’ road sealing program will continue, thankfully. From an island perspective, this has been the most progressive and changing project that has ever been undertaken on the islands.

Sealed roads leads to improved property values and future prosperity.



Happy New Year to all our readers. We hope 2019 is a great one. There are some big things happening to and close to the islands this year, and let’s be positive that it will all lead to better outcomes for our islands.


The extreme fire conditions and the fires that hit SE Queensland in early December, definitely left an impact on our islands. At the time of going to press, no fires had broken out on the Southern Bay Islands, and that was probably because of the extreme vigilance that resulted from a well-informed population thanks to Redland City Council’s media section, and special community meetings held on the islands that brought our local and state politicians together with senior fire representatives. Everyone was on extreme vigilance due to the fire on North Stradbroke Island that was burning on more than 2300 hectares along a 40km stretch of the eastern side of the island. Fortunately there was no immediate threat to any of the townships on Straddie, but there were fears that embers from the fires could make their way to the neighbouring islands thanks to strong winds and very hot conditions. We went to press quite early for the January edition just as the rains started pouring down, taking the edge of the crisis. At that time there were no further outbreaks and the situation had eased considerably.


Hats off to Redland City Council’s communications section for keeping the community informed during the latest fire emergency situation on North Stradbroke Island. They literally worked from dawn to past dusk with no breaks during the crisis with constant information being provided. All the islands were involved because of the constant fears that strong winds could bring the fires to the Southern Bay Islands as well.


Redlands Coast residents are the second happiest in Queensland, according to Bond University’s Happiness Project. The project – which used Census and other publicly available data to provide local government areas across the nation with an overall quality of life score – rated Redlands Coasts 6.7 out of 10, second in Queensland only to Brisbane. “The results highlight what we have long known – Redlanders love living on Redlands Coast,” Cr Williams said. Redlands Coast scored particularly well in the categories of accessibility (at 9.3) followed by safety, education and employment. Mayor Williams said: “I believe it is the residents who need to take credit for this result. Redlanders are welcoming and generous and proud of their city, which plays a large role in generating happiness across the city. And apparently we are pretty smart, too Cr Williams said the study also named Redlands Coast as the third smartest in Queensland.

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