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EDITORIAL January 2021

FROM A YEAR OF DISASTER, WHAT IS IN STORE FOR 2021 ON OUR ISLANDS?

At this time of year and in our editorials, we usually look towards the year ahead with considerable positivity.

However, after the year we have just had, perhaps we should be a little more circumspect.

Clearly, just about everything has changed, probably forever.

They way we think, the way we act, the way we behave, and the way we look at things has all had a battering.

The world is not the same.

Will we seek to travel overseas again with the same gusto that Australians once did?

More importantly, will governments let us?

Australia got through the Covid-10 pandemic better than most countries.

But, we have certainly paid the price.

Our country is now a $ trillion in debt, and the State of Queensland now owes in excess of $100 billion; levels of debt that will take generations to pay off; probably never!

With all the doom and gloom that came out of 2020, what about 2021?

Despite all the above, from our islands’ point of view, we just happen to be in a fairly strong place.

We were fortunate that on any level, the islands have always been near the bottom of the pile.

Highest unemployment, low investment, low levels of property values etc etc.

When you are starting from such a low level, the good news is that the only place you can head is upward and forward.

And certainly we have seen signs of that via the pandemic that are now seriously going to flow into 2021 and beyond.

Because property is so cheap here compared to the mainland, many have discovered the value in purchasing blocks of land in particular.

Real Estate figures show that our islands have shown a 400% increase in real estate sales, and the level of inquiry is still strong.

The sales are coming from people who are selling up in the cities (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane) and coming our way.

The majority of the sales, it seems, are not for ‘investment’, but to build and to come and live here.

The boost to the island building industry which is exceedingly strong now, will be massive.

You only have to see the traffic coming over on the Sealink barges daily to work out that change is coming thick and fast.

The island demographic is changing fast, and that is a good thing.

That will mean we should go from largely being ignored by all levels of Government, to finally getting services and infrastructure here that have long been needed.

Whilst SE Queensland has benefitted from billions in infrastructure and investment, these islands have been forgotten about.

A more positive Redland City Council looks to be increasing island investment and it is to be hoped that the island green seal road program accelerates next financial year. The 2021-22 council budget will be definitely interesting.

Work starts on the new island jetties in the coming days, with Russell Island to be the first and the other islands soon after.

This will also result in major parking changes and improvements on each of the islands.

Weinam Creek investment will continue with much of the work over there this year to be underground.

A ‘satellite’ hospital has been promised for Weinam Creek, but whether it starts this coming financial year, remains to be seen. After all the State Labor Government was elected for four more years!

Despite the initial doom and gloom, perhaps 2021 won’t be so bad, after all!