QUANDAMOOKA ASPIRATION AREAS SHOCKS ISLANDERS; BUT IT WAS A NATIVE TITLE AGREEMENT The shock gazettal of a Queensland Government Temporary Local Planning Instrument involving a Quandamooka Land Aspirations Area, was always going to happen. In fact, it has been a ‘fait accompli’ since negotiations between the State Labor Government and former power broker Jackie Trad, announced way back it 2011 the ‘end’ of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island for 2019. From that time on, except for a small update in 2015, progress on the ‘aspirational’ areas has continued between the Government and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC). The Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) is an outcome of the Native Title determination in 2011 by the High Court of Australia recognising the Quandamooka people as Minjerribah’s Traditional Owners; not dissimilar to others throughout Australia. The result from the ‘gazettal’ is that 25 parcels of prime land has been ‘aspired’ in each of the major island villages of Dunwich, Amity and Point Lookout. The total area involved is 94 hectares involving some of the best parcels of land in those communities, with the real estate industry valuing the land, in the ‘millions’. The Friendly Bay Islander has met with council planning officials and others to get a true and accurate account of what has just been announced. The gazettal has shocked many in the island community, even amongst some aboriginal traditional owners, claiming they have been ‘kept in the dark’. QYAC is the recognised aboriginal organisation on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) that has a complicated structure. It is a traditional form of management in aboriginal communities. Redland City Council is clearly the ‘meat in the sandwich’ with the announcement. The council was surprised as anyone re the Government’s gazettal announcement, with many seeing it as ‘timely’ with the State election scheduled at the end of this month. Whilst council will be ‘presented’ with the Temporary Local Planning Instrument, it has no other choice but to agree to the the land handover that will involve several levels of re-zoning that council will be required to enact ’. The Government agreement with QYAC is an outcome of the 2011 Native Title determination recognising the Quandamooka people’s Native Title rights. Whilst Redland City Council recognises those rights, it hoped it would be via a more consultative process. Many say the process has neither been open, consultative nor transparent. “Council has been handed a hand grenade for it to try and explain when council had no control in the process,” the Friendly Bay Islander was told. Mayor Karen Williams has repeated her requests to the State Government and QYAC to work with Council to create a vision for North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) that shows the community what will be built on the ‘aspired’ land. She said she had been calling on the State Government for ‘years’ to develop a vision or strategic plan for the island, and the recently released TLPI provided the perfect opportunity for that to now occur. It has been stated by critics that these processes had not been taking place, with neither the broader community nor council invited to be involved in any real way; and tokenistic at best. “The State Government’s decision to rezone these properties provides the perfect opportunity for them to work with QYAC and the whole community to develop a vision for the island that shows the community what will be built on these properties,” Cr Williams said. “We also need to know what else is on the horizon; what other land is yet to be rezoned and what is planned for it.” It is a fact that the current ‘gazettal and aspiration’ may not be the last and other land might be handed over at a further date. With 25 parcels involved, re-zoning will be crucial to the future value and use of the selected land areas. It will be ‘mandatory’ for the council to re-zone the land without question, because the State Government overrides council in these matters. Councillor for North Stradbroke Island , Cr Peter Mitchell, said : “There is no doubt Minjerribah has an exciting future, but that can only be realised if the whole community and Council are part of that future and can see what is planned. He added: “The Minister has directed Council to rezone these 25 properties and so we will start that process, but in the meantime development applications can be made now under the State’s Temporary Local Planning Instrument, so it is important a clear and transparent vision for the island is created as soon as possible.” The zoning changes demanded by the process include low density residential zones, neighbourhood centre zones, recreation and open space zones, waterfront and marine industry zones, community facility zones, emerging community zones and local centre, tourist accommodation, and conservation zones. The zones have to be ratified by council; but they have no ability to change or question their validity, as council has been ‘instructed’ by the State Government on this matter. The questions yet to be answered include: who will actually get to ‘own’ the now very valuable land. Will partnership with development result, or will QYAC become a developer in its own right? CEO OF QYAC, Cameron Costello, said planning consent in the newly established State Government required zones, would still require planning consent before any new construction. In the QYAC column in this edition on page 70 of this edition, QYAC say it has reported on the land use planning process to member via the annual reports since 2012. It says” Despite media coverage to the contrary, the 25 parcels are not all to be developed. The next step is for the Quandamooka people to develop a land allocation policy and that will be a thorough consultative process that will require formal native title holder consent.” The Department of State Development also told The Friendly Bay Islander: “Importantly, any future development on this land will be subject to usual planning, consultation and development approvals.” What QYAC is planning exactly in the new zoned areas, is not known at this stage.
• Land Claim areas for Dunwich, Amity and Point Lookout totalling 94 hectares