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the Breeze

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There were many highs and lows for our islands in 2023. First and foremost, it is amazing just how quickly 12 months has gone; but that is just life! The highlight of the year was the final works carried out on the four new $45 million (approx) terminal jetties for the four SMB Islands of Russell, Macleay, Karragarra and Lamb. Their design and efficiency are there for all to see, and the difference to our island ‘front door’ is amazing. The expenditure on the jetties saw work halted on the islands’ green sealing program, but that was temporary only. The July 2023-24 budget has seen $2 million for the re-start of the program. Material for the work has been happening in recent weeks, with work on the roads themselves to start probably in February of 2024. Another $2 million boost is the money made available by the Federal Government to the Macleay Island Arts Complex Inc for construction of its new gallery complex. The build is yet to start. 2023 was also the final year as a councillor for Cr Mark Edwards. He will not be standing again at the May 2024 Local Government election for Division 5, but his contribution over the past 12 years needs to be recognised. The Friendly Bay Islander has looked at the future of our islands with a number of articles throughout the year and clearly future population figures will be challenging along with infrastructure issues such as sewerage schemes, of not, for our islands. The opening of the Satellite Hospital in the Weinam Creek PDA area is a huge plus for the islands. It is already making a difference taking pressure off the main Redlands Hospital. It is a clever concept. Another positive in 2023 was your Friendly Bay Islander celebrating 12 years of keeping all the islands linked to Redland City Council, informed with some great stories and information in a quality format. We are proud of that significant milestone. A formal submission has been made to the State Government for Russell Island to be renamed Canaipa/Kanaipa. We shall be watching this with considerable interest. On the negative side of things, the biggest happening on our islands in 2023 was the disastrous fire tragedy that accounted for a father and his five children on Sunday, August 6. It was a dreadful event that impacted all the islands, but particularly Russell Island. So significant was the fire and its outcome, it brought the first visit to the islands by the Premier of Queensland and the Police and Fire Commissioners and a host of others. The people of Macleay Island have complained and cajoled about the foreshore erosion of the embankment adjacent to the main island boat ramp. Redland City Council have continued to bat it away with declarations they are ‘waiting for a report’ which has still not eventuated. We discovered that our island police are overworked, and we sought out the Queensland Police Commissioner who promised to ‘look into’ more police for our islands. The islands voted strongly ‘NO’ to the Voice referendum, whilst at the same time observed that more than 300 Redlands sites may be subject to more Native Title claims. There is no doubt that our islands are still missing out when it comes to both Federal and State funding, compared to other areas of SE Queensland. In the meantime, your Friendly Bay Islander will continue to write good stories about good island people and to stand up for our cluster of unique SE Queensland islands.



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