OUR WETTEST SUMMER? Is it only we who think this is the coolest summer we have ever experience in recent memory on our islands? The temperature has rarely exceeded 30c this year and we have had consistently long rain periods, thanks to the predicted El Nino effect. It certainly is accurate. Being islands we are graced with breezes from all directions that keep our average temperature down compared to the nearby Brisbane CBD. For those who don’t enjoy the summer months (February in previous years has always been a scorcher) living on our islands has been a blessing in disguise. With great, but not overpowering rainfall, it has been a cooler and enjoyable summer season. We are not silly enough to be thinking we have ‘got away with it’ yet. The start of autumn, March, can also be hot; so we shall just have to wait and see. We sure are lucky living on our islands! LONELINESS IDENTIFIED Something has started on our islands that could have major ramifications. During the Covid crisis of 2020, life changed for many people; including some on our islands. Older people living on their own were left in a quandary when they were told they could not attend their island pharmacy or attend the local supermarket. The information wasn’t exactly correct, but it highlighted a major hidden community problem: LONELINESS. The Macleay island Community Centre identified the problem and set up a new group called ‘Can Do Companions’. It was realised that the visit to the supermarket or to the Chemist is the only time many single or lonely residents get to communicate with someone face to face. The ‘Can Do’ team that has been set up by Angela Collins and Leanne Auilt has opened a pandora’s box that deserves to be addressed at much higher levels. And you can bet the situation is not just isolated to our islands. We have brought the situation to the attention of MP for Redlands, Kim Richards, who has said she will take it further with the Queensland Government. One thought that comes to mind is that our Community Champions might like to get involved and add a visitation process to their growing portfolio. And why not expand the Can Do Companions right across Australia. Why not? OPPOSITION POLITICIANS VISIT ISLANDS A group of LNP Shadow Ministers recently visited the islands on a fact-finding mission. The group included Steven Minnikin (Shadow Minister for Customer Service, Transport and Main Roads) Ann Leahy (Shadow Minister Local Government, Disaster and Recovery, Volunteers) and Dale Last (Shadow Minister Police and Corrective Services, Fire and Emergency Services, Rural and Regional Affairs). They visited Russell Island where they had a community meeting at the hall with the Community Champions, SES, Rural Fire, Police and Redland City Council representatives and officers, including Division 5 Councillor, Mark Edwards. It was an opportunity for the Shadow Ministers to understand and appreciate the unique role of the Community Champions. Council provided a bus and council officers Michael Tait (Disaster Management), Claire Barker (SES) Luke Duncomb (Disaster Management) and Luke James (Conservation) drove the group around Russell looking at the fire management steps that had been taken including new fire trails and proposed new hardening of trails through wet areas to enable all weather access. They also inspected the green seal program; were advised of the new ferry terminals; and were given a general understanding of island opportunities and challenges.