North Stradbroke Island
Finance & Administration Committee Inquiry
Follow the Committee updates on the inquiry into the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability (Renewal of Mining Leases) Amendment Bill 2015 and North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015.
Labor Admits ‘No Plan’ to Replace Straddie Jobs, only After Passing Laws
Friday 27 May, 2016
- Labor Minister, Steven Miles confesses to No PLAN for job replacement, only after Straddie law changes get through Queensland Parliament in midnight hour
- Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad referred to Speaker/Ethics Committee for misleading Parliament over closed ETU meeting at Dunwich
- 300 jobs at risk – as 150 jobs cut from North Stradbroke Island sand mining
- Queensland Labor breaks election promise to protect and create jobs – a move opposed by local businesses and community
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has admitted to having no plan to replace sacked workers, the morning after sneaking through laws to end sand mining on North Stradbroke Island at the mid-night hour – a move that will cut hundreds of jobs and create an uncertain future for the local community.“The local Member for North Stradbroke Island, Member for Cleveland Mark Robinson, was infuriated with the deception of the state Labor Government by pretending that they had a plan to replace the workers they are sacking, sneaking the laws in at midnight by 1 vote, then being caught out the morning after without a plan,” Dr Robinson said.
“The Labor Environment Minister, Steven Miles was forced to fess up in Question time Thursday that they were still working on their plan to try to fill the jobs void that will be left behind by Labor’s unpopular decision, after pretending that the government had an economic transition plan already in place*
“The disgraceful admission of Labor’s Environment Minister came after the denial by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad during the Stradbroke Island debate in the Parliament, that she had attended a closed meeting with ETU Officials and workers on North Stradbroke Island, when many witnesses saw her there and many locals and journalists trying to attend the meeting were vigorously refused entry by Union security.**
Shadow Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said Labor's laws to shut down sand mining on North Stradbroke Island by 2019 would throw the local community into further turmoil and broke an election promise to create jobs in Queensland, not axe them.
“This asleep-at-the-wheel Labor government has sold out Straddie locals by completely caving in to pressure from green activist groups that don’t represent the views of the overwhelming majority of local people on North Stradbroke Island,” Mr Cripps said.
“North Stradbroke Island businesses, the Straddie Chamber of Commerce, the local community and a large number of traditional owners have condemned Labor’s so-called Economic Transition Strategy as completely inadequate to replace the hundreds of jobs that will be lost.
“The LNP Opposition remains firmly of the view that a 2035 closure date is the most sensible timeframe for the end of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island, providing for an orderly transition for the local economy and employees.
“The former LNP Government’s 2013 legislation allowed a reasonable timeframe for the local economy to transition to other industries, such as tourism, and Labor hasn’t presented any convincing arguments that this new timeframe allows for that transition to occur.
“Sand mining is the cornerstone of the North Stradbroke Island economy – it provides hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and supports the livelihoods of many families that live there and many businesses that have invested there.
“The Palaszczuk Government has moved to end sand mining by 2019, which will take these jobs away, despite the fact that the Australian Workers Union has protested loudly and vigorously against Labor's policy, which impacts directly on its members.”
Mr Cripps said Labor's shut down of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island was the latest in a series of controversial interventions in the resources sector that was undermining confidence in the industry and jeopardising future investment.
“Labor’s record on the resources sector in Queensland over the last 15 months is appalling and confidence from resource companies has plunged to a near five-year low,” he said.
“Palaszczuk and Labor have created a clear question mark over sovereign risk for resource companies wanting to invest in our great state.”
Parliament Committee Finds No Support for Laws to prematurely shut down Straddie mining
With the release of the damning Report of the Parliamentary Finance & Administration Committee which found no support for Labor’s Laws to prematurely end sandmining on North Stradbroke Island, State Member for Cleveland Mark Robinson today called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to do the right thing and to end the uncertainty by withdrawing Labor’s job-destroying Bill.
“It is time for the Premier to show some compassion and to do the right thing by the over 2000 people who live on North Stradbroke Island by withdrawing Labor’s job-destroying Bill from the Queensland Parliament, now that the bipartisan Committee could not find in favour of passing the legislation,” Dr Robinson said.
“This farcical and politically motivated inner city Greens campaign to sack hundreds of blue-collar sandminers and other workers must now come to an end, now that the Committee has not found in support of the Labor and KAP Bills.”
“Recommendation 1 of the Committee Report was that the KAP Bill should definitely ‘not be passed’ – ‘the committee recommends that the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability (Renewal of Mining Leases) Amendment Bill 2015 (the Private Member’s Bill) not be passed’. (P.x Report)
“But more critically the Committee made no Recommendation in favour of passing Labor’s Bill: in other words after all of the public hearings and submissions, this bipartisan Committee of Labor and LNP MPs could not recommend that Labor’s Laws be passed.”
The Committee found out the truth that the community was not consulted about the decision to prematurely close mining, neither in 2011 nor in January 2015, and that many residents oppose the Government’s job-destroying decision as 2019 does not allow sufficient time to transition the economy and jobs.
“The Australian Workers Union, Queensland Resources Council, Sibelco, the Straddie Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, among other groups expressed a view that consultation undertaken by the government was found to be ‘tokenistic’, ‘disingenuous’ and designed to ‘inform, not consult’,” Dr Robinson said. (P.6 Report)
“How can Labor deliberately plan to sack hundreds of miners and other workers and then claim that they are creating employment and jobs growth.”
“The Committee heard from Quandamooka Traditional Owners who claim that the current laws brought in by the LNP Government are legal and protect their land rights and jobs, and that Labor’s Bill may cause aboriginal injustice by denying them their Native Title rights and employment.
“The Committee also heard that the Government’s Economic Transition Strategy is woefully inadequate and that it will do little to assist long-term job creation and the long-term transition of the economy from sandmining to tourism.”
“Further, contrary to the Government’s view, the Committee heard that neither tourism nor Toondah Harbour will plug the gaping hole left by the job losses in the short-term.”
“With no Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) ever being undertaken by the Government on the Bills, it is flying blind when it comes to the extent of the impacts of the Bills, and so should abandon its destructive plans immediately.”
Environment Minister Ducks Questions about Labor-AWU Split on Straddie
Labor Environment Minister, Stephen Miles, refused to answer a question in Parliament yesterday (Wednesday) about the split between Labor and the AWU over Straddie mining jobs*.
"Despite my repeated attempts in Parliamentary Question Time to get Minister Steven Miles to explain the split between the Labor Government and the Australian Workers Union on North Stradbroke Island, the Minister ducked for cover and refused to answer the question," Dr Robinson said.
"The Premier and her Ministers are hiding from the truth that a chasm has opened up between the Australian Workers Union and the Labor Party in Queensland, due to this Labor Government's politically-inspired deal with inner city soy-latte sipping Greens to prematurely shut down the sandmine on Straddie."
"They are super-sensitive to this schism over job losses, such that they are now refusing to answer questions in Parliament about the job losses, and the Premier still has not attended an open public meeting on Stradbroke Island to answer the questions of residents, as she promised to do so in the Parliament.
This Labor Government has sold out the workers on North Stradbroke Island - their jobs, families, children and future.
"The State Government says its concerned about the workers and jobs at Townsville with the troubled Nickel mine, but how about the same care for Straddie workers," Dr Robinson said.
"The State Government says it won't let the environment get in the way of creating jobs at the Adani Carmichael mine, but they are happy to destroy hundreds of jobs (direct and indirect) on Straddie for an extra 30% national park.
"The State Government says it is Closing the Gap with indigenous Australians, yet 30% of the mining job losses on Stradbroke will be Quandamooka aboriginal workers."
"Question time yesterday demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that this Labor Government is frozen at the wheel and not listening to anyone, not even the AWU as it attempts to protect the workers on Stradbroke Island.
Cleveland MP demands Dunwich Harbour Development as part of Straddie ETS
Member for Cleveland, Mark Robinson, today demanded that the Palaszczuk Government include the "Dunwich Harbour Development" in the project list for its Economic Transition Strategy (ETS) as without it the island is doomed.
"The Government's $20 Million for an 'Economic Transition Strategy ' is a poultry sum that will go nowhere in the actual transition of North Stradbroke Island from sandmining to tourism," Dr Robinson said.
"The LNP's motion at Parliament means that the Finance and Administration Committee will now interrogate Labor's ETS - is $20 Million enough, what was the rationale behind the projects selected and whether other projects are needed."
"It is my strong view, shared by many island residents*, that a major upgrade of Dunwich Harbour is required, and needs to be fast-tracked if the Government closes the mine prematurely."
"The Government's ETS will not propel any economic transition to a tourism-centred economy without a major upgrade of Dunwich Harbour. Without a redevelopment, this gateway to the island's future economy will instead become a bottle-neck that will suffocate the life out of the island."
"For tourism to grow, what is needed to be started on immediately at Dunwich is better passenger facilities, including improved pontoons, more parking, mixed commercial area with a tourism centre, cafes and restaurants, among other features."
"So, today I am calling on the Government to consider a $50 million development of Dunwich Harbour into a world-class tourism and ferry hub, and to provide to the Parliamentary Committee all information and costs so that the Committee can make an informed recommendation to the Parliament in its report."
"The bottom line is that without the development of Dunwich Harbour, the Government's ETS will achieve very little."
* Based on my own survey of residents about Infrastructure Priorities.
Release Straddie's Secret Survey Results
Member for Cleveland, Mark Robinson said the secrecy shrouding the Labor Government's approach to ending sand mining on North Stradbroke Island is deeply disturbing and a cause for concern.
“Officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection were despatched to the island to conduct an on-the-ground survey of residents’ opinions regarding sandmining – a move I thoroughly applaud, Dr Robinson said.
“The Officers spoke to about 10 per cent of the island’s residents – everyday people who were going about their day-to-day business in the townships.
“Alarmingly, there has been a refusal to hand over the results of the survey”, he said.
“You have to ask what the government is trying to hide. Perhaps they are trying to hide the truth as an avenue to push ahead with their disastrous plan to halt sandmining and cripple the economy of the island?
“As the local member, I was on the island when the Parliament’s Finance and Administration Committee held public hearings last month”.
Dr Robinson said that up to 90 per cent of locals who spoke at Committee Forums were opposed to the 2019 shutdown.
“The community's opposition to the Government's plan in the Finance and Administration Committee's Forums equates to the figures that I have been receiving for several years, but for some reason the government wants to hide its own research.
“In contrast to the Premier, LNP Senator Joanna Lindgren has taken a keen interest in the future of North Stradbroke Island. On behalf of island residents, I thank her for visiting, for public meetings and finding out for herself that more time is needed for a proper and timely transition from sand mining. (See Sen Lindgren’s 1 March 2016) release.
“Despite promising to do so in Parliament, the Premier still has not attended any public meeting on Straddie to explain her shutdown plan to the residents whose lives will be adversely affected by her government’s actions.
“So, today I call on the government to release the survey data immediately so that the real facts can come to light”, Dr Robinson said.
I also ask the Premier to listen to the plea from island residents and businesses, and the Union representing workers, to secure the island’s future by extending the closing time.
Straddie Locals reject Labor’s 2019 mine closures
21 August 2015
The results from the recent ‘Straddie’s Future’ Survey conducted by Mark Robinson, Member for Cleveland, shows that a vast majority of Straddie residents have rejected Labor’s decision to close mining in 2019.
Mark Robinson stated that 87% of households that returned surveys stated that they did not want to see the mine shut by 2019.
“87% of the community against Labor’s 2019 date shows that the Premier and Government are simply not listening.”
“Annastacia Palaszczuk claimed to be the listening premier, but what is now clear is that she is out of touch, has no plan and doesn’t care about jobs"
"In fact, Labor has broken their election promise to create jobs for Straddie residents.”
“The Premier has not even bothered to reply to my invitation to hold a community meeting on the island to hear directly from locals.”
“The lack of consultation by the government in its decision to ‘Shut Straddie Down’ by 2019 has caused an outcry on north Stradbroke island. Since the announcement the response has been extensive and extremely vocal.”
“Shutting Straddie down would mean up to 600 jobs would go in mining and small business, with disastrous flow-on effects for the community.”
“50 local indigenous workers will be sacked and sent to the dole queue, widening the gap with non-Indigenous Australia.”
“The Redland City Council recently joined the Australian Workers Union, the island Chamber of Commerce, businesses and community groups who all have raised questions about viability of Labor’s 2019 date”.
Survey Breakdown (See example survey attached):
Every household on North Stradbroke Island received a copy of the ‘Straddie’s Future’ Survey. The survey gave households three options for mining closures on the Island
1. 2019 (Labor’s date)
2. 2027-2029 (compromise date)
3. 2035 (existing LNP date).
Of the 550 surveys sent out: 129 were returned with 13% in favour of 2019, 15% for 2029 and 72% for 2035.
Member for Cleveland, Mark Robinson has today taken the step of inviting the Premier to come and listen, just like she has in other parts of Queensland, to the concerns of Straddie residents.
“I invite the Premier to come and visit the Dunwich Community Hall so that she can outline her Government’s plan, and listen to the community’s concerns.”
The lack of consultation by the Government in it’s decision to ‘Shut Straddie Down’ by 2019 has caused an outcry on North Stradbroke Island. Since the announcement the response has been extensive and extremely vocal.
“On facebook the ‘Don’t Shut Straddie Down’ post has been my most popular post to date with over 220,000 hits reached, 1,200 likes and 2,660 shares.”
“It is quite clear that the decision to Shut Straddie Down has not only hit a chord with island residents, but with people right across the State.”
Following the announcement, a heartfelt petition has been launched by locals asking the Premier to reconsider.
“The Australian Workers Union, the Island Chamber of Commerce and local residents were not informed of the Government’s plan to end sand mining on the Island without an adequate timeframe for transition.
“The fanciful notion that somehow the jobs being created with the Toondah Harbour project will offset the job losses on Straddie just doesn’t stack up.
“The timeframes don’t equate and the skill set differences between mining and construction have obviously not been taken into consideration.
“Are we somehow expecting systems operators in the mine to have completed trade apprenticeships in a couple years so they can work as a chippie at Toondah? Give me a break.”
"The botched roll out of the Green political agenda of inner city Ministers Steven Miles and Jackie Trad, has placed the future of Straddie residents’ jobs, livelihoods and communities at stake, , so the Premier must now intervene.”
Don't Shut Straddie Down!
17 June 2015
North Stradbroke Island residents overwhelmingly rejected the Bligh government’s plan to prematurely cease mining operations by 2019.
‘Shutting Straddie Down’ would be the result of the rushed closure of the island’s major employer without the timeframe needed to engage and grow a successful economic transition plan.
Up to 600 jobs would go in mining and small business, with disastrous flow-on effects for the community.
50 local aboriginals workers will be sacked and sent to the dole queue, widening the gap with non-indigenous Australia.
I am calling on the Premier and MPs to hit the pause button, listen to the concerns of the local North Stradbroke Island community and ensure that the current proper economic transition to a sustainable post-mining future be continued.
DON'T SHUT STRADDIE DOWN!
Stradbroke Island Economy
7 April 2015
Much progress was made by the LNP Government toward the economic transition on Straddie. The ‘Economic Transition Group’ (ETG), a body of local business and community leaders as well as Government representatives, was formed to chart Straddie’s future in consultation with the community. It has been an honour to Co-Chair the ETG, along with Redland City Mayor Karen Williams, and I look forward to continuing in that role.
I am grateful for the ongoing support of the people of North Stradbroke Island for our plan for a gentle and practical transition to a broad-based economy. Very few people want the premature closure of the mine and the mass job losses that would send the island into recession.
The 2000-plus residents have spoken clearly in both the 2012 and 2015 State elections that they want our ‘pro-jobs’ plan to continue. The majority of Quandamooka families on the island also voted for this plan.
During the election Labor promised jobs, jobs, jobs, so sacking 600 workers in mining and small business, including 50 aboriginal workers, would break that promise, and would ‘widen the gap’ for aboriginal Australians. Hopefully the new Government will respect the wishes of the people.
I will provide further updates on Straddie as they are made available.
One Mile Improvements Committed
27 February 2015
A joint State Government and Redland City Council project of $450,000 will relieve the parking and public transport issues at One Mile, while improving the safety of the jetty.
The final act of the LNP Government for North Stradbroke Island residents was to provide majority funding of $345,000 to the project to make the One Mile experience safer and better for local residents and visitors.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads will commence work in March this year, after carefully considering the parking, public transport needs and safety concerns of local Dunwich residents.
This project which is expected to be completed mid-year delivers on my commitment to Straddie residents to provide a new safe turnaround and drop-off area and a safe public transport experience via the bigger and better buses.
The 40 parking spaces provided at the Dunwich Secondary School, the entrance to Yabby St and adjacent to the boat ramp have been welcomed by locals who have been calling for parking relief for some time.
NSI Economic Transition Group
Friday 5 December 2014
Community, business leaders attend inaugural NSI Economic Transition Group meeting
The inaugural meeting of the North Stradbroke Island (NSI) Economic Transition Group, established to chart the island’s transition from sand mining to an alternative economy, was held yesterday, the same day that Sibelco announced it would close one of its mines next year.
The group comprises elected representatives, community and business leaders, and academics who will work towards the common goal of a sustainable future for the island and its people as mining is wound back.
The NSI Economic Transition Group comprises:
- State Member for Cleveland Mark Robinson (co-chair)
- Mayor, Redland City Karen Williams (co-chair)
- Federal Member for Bowman Andrew Laming
- Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation CEO Cameron Costello
- Straddie Chamber of Commerce President Dave Thomson
- Executive Dean, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, University of Queensland Professor Iain Watson
- Sibelco Australia External Relations Manager Paul Smith
- Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Deputy Director-General Kathy Schaefer
- Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Regional Director Gary Krishna (Secretariat)
Co-Chair Mark Robinson said the first meeting saw the establishment of a Terms of Reference for the Group, which includes at least quarterly meetings and membership until 1 December 2015, when a review will be undertaken.
“The group also started work on a consultation plan, including establishment of a website which will be completed this month,” he said.
The Transition Straddie website will provide up-to-date information about the transition, as well as publish minutes from the meetings, membership of the group and the Terms of Reference. The website will be available at www.transitionstraddie.org.au. There will also be links to the new website from Council’s website www.redland.qld.gov.au and Mark Robinson’s website www.markrobinsonmp.com
Co-chair Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the group had also started the process of reviewing the work of the 2011 Economic Transition Taskforce.
“Analysis of that work will be valuable. We will also use it to consider what new data is required to ensure jobs for the island’s residents into the future.”
Sibelco announced yesterday it would close its Yarraman Mine on North Stradbroke Island in August 2015, bringing forward the scheduled closure date of December 2015. The company’s Enterprise Mine on the island is scheduled to stay open until 2035, while its Vance silica mine on the island will continue operating until 2025.
The next NSI Economic Transition Group meeting will be held in February 2015.
Media information: Office of Mark Robinson on 3286 2726 and Office of the Mayor of Redland City on 3829 8624.
Drug and Drink Driving, North Stradbroke Island
Dunwich Police in conjunction with the Random Drug Testing Unit (RDTU) recently conducted Operation Mike Varta, targeting drug and drink driving on North Stradbroke Island.
This operation saw the RDTU attending the island on a regular basis over a three month period conducting mobile enforcement throughout June, July and August.
As a result 20 people were detected on a total of 29 offences.
Seven drivers are facing court for drug driving.
Almost 600 RBT’s and 56 Random Drug Tests were conducted, 54 traffic infringement notices were issued and one vehicle was impounded.
Six search warrants were executed resulting in a number of drug charges including possess, produce and supply dangerous drugs and possession of utensils.
Dunwich Police are reminding residents and visitors to the island that “anywhere – anytime” is as relevant on the island as it is on the mainland.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.
For all non-urgent police reporting or general police inquiries contact Policelink on 131 444 or Policelink.qld.gov.au 24hrs a day.
North Stradbroke Island Economic Transition Group to be established
30 July 2014
Mark Robinson has announced plans to establish a transition group to help chart the shift of North Stradbroke Island (NSI) from sand mining to an alternative economy.
The Government will form a NSI Economic Transition Group to help plan for the island’s economic future and have asked Redland City Mayor Karen Williams to share the role of group chair.
Much work will need to be done if we are to ensure a smooth transition over coming years from mining to an alternative economy.
To achieve this aim we will need all parties to be working collaboratively towards a common goal – a sustainable future for the island and its people.
The formation of an economic future group will run in parallel to the well-established Quandamooka round table formed to address the implementation of the important ILUA on NSI with the Quandamooka people.
It is envisage that both groups will work together on a vision and strategy for the island’s future, with both the empowerment of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community in generating a real economically viable future for North Stradbroke Island as it transitions from a mining to an alternative economy.
Membership for the NSI Economic Transition Group could be drawn from business and community leaders who have both an existing interest in the island and a vision for its future.
Prominent business and government entities such as Straddie Camping, Straddie Chamber, Stradbroke Ferries, The University of Queensland, Sibelco and Redland City Council will work alongside community representatives who will be invited to join the group to investigate and help plan a viable future for the island.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has committed to delegating a senior officer from his Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning to be part of the group.
“Mr Seeney has told me that DSDIP will also provide support, including economic analysis and economic strategies, development facilitation and land use planning and development.”
Cr Williams said she was pleased to be able to play a role in the transitional process.
“We have to plan carefully to ensure we address the issues that could flow from the cessation of sand mining – job losses and a dramatic impact on the local economy and local residents,” she said.
The government supports a well-planned approach to the future and is ready to drive the actions needed for a successful transition.
The transition will require time and careful planning if we are to seize and maximise future opportunities.
Straddie Fire Recovery
30 June 2014
Straddie is still in the process of recovering from the December bushfires that devastated 60% of the island. The State Government is working with locals to assist in the rehabilitation of native flora and fauna. Mark has been taking a keen interest in monitoring the recovery process to ensure that Straddie is restored to its natural beauty.
Promoting tourism on Straddie is essential if we are going to transition the island’s economy from sand mining to eco-tourism. One way the government is assisting in this process is by the investment of $200,000 into the Signature Straddie package, the aim of which is to grow eco-tourism on the island.
The state government in committed to ensuring that North Stradbroke Island has a viable economic future. We have protected the economic future of Straddie by allowing a longer transition period from sandmining to other economic activities.
ANZAC Grant Awarded to Straddie WWII History Research
13 June 2014
The Member for Cleveland, Mark Robinson, has welcomed a Queensland Government grant to the Cleveland electorate for a project to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the First World War.
Dr Robinson said the Anzac Centenary community grants program recognised the role many communities throughout the state played in supporting Australia’s involvement in the First World War.
Dr Robinson said $34,500 had been provided for the Stradbroke 100 project which will research the WWI history of North Stradbroke Island, both overseas and at home. Particular emphasis will be on the known 13 Islanders; Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who fought overseas.
“The First World War was Australia’s first significant international military campaign, and men and women from all over the state willingly answered the call to serve,” Dr Robinson said.
“Many of them didn’t return to the families, friends, jobs and communities they’d left behind to fight for their country and for the security of generations to come after them.
“This project and others like it around the state will ensure that the memory of their sacrifice and that of those left behind continues to be recognised and preserved for future generations.”
The Queensland Government has provided funding of up to $80,000 each for this first funding round for local events, projects and re-enactments to commemorate 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War.
Dr Robinson said a second round of community grants under the program will be opening soon, and he encouraged local organisations to apply.
He said further information about the program could be obtained from his electorate office, or from the Queensland Anzac Centenary website at: www.qld.gov.au/anzac100.
Straddie Chirstmas Fires Update
6 March 2014
In the aftermath of the devastating Christmas fires, with an eye to the challenges that this natural disaster now poses to the island’s recovery and transition to a non-sandmining economy. In late December fires broke out on North Stradbroke Island as a result of one or more lightning strikes. Fanned by strong winds, the fire broke out into many fires with much damage being done over the next few weeks of January.
In excess of 16,000 hectares of land was burnt by the fire or two-thirds of the island’s footprint. The impact and scale of the fires is only now being fully felt by the local communities on the island. The local businesses and tourism sector are doing it tough since the fires forced the evacuation of many holiday-makers at peak time. Many of these businesses rely upon that peak season as the main source of revenue for their operation. The island’s tourism industry and local businesses have taken a hit with a loss of trade during that season. The fires placed an enormous emotional and financial strain upon the communities of North Stradbroke Island.
Due to the planning and hard work of the various emergency service agencies no property was damaged nor lives lost during the fires. The well-coordinated approach of the various emergency services at the emergency management centre in Dunwich and at the fires was something to behold firsthand. My time at the centre gave me a firsthand appreciates of their work under pressure.
I want to thank all of the staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly during and in the aftermath of the fire. The several hundred individuals from the police, fire, SES, ambulance, parks and wildlife, Energex, the Redland City Council to name just a few. It was uplifting to see the community come together to not only fight the fire but to support each other at the front line.
I was great to be a part of the community information meetings at Dunwich, Amity Point and Point Lookout. These forums were important avenue to get feedback from the residents as to what we did right and what we can improve on.
I want Queensland to know that Straddie is still open for business and there has never been a better time to jump on the water taxi or barge and experience the golden beaches of North Stradbroke Island.