Straddie decision reinforces need for Toondah project

The decision to end sand mining on North Stradbroke Island by 2019 reinforces the importance of the Toondah Harbour development, says Redland City Mayor Karen Williams.

Cr Williams said the $1.4 billion Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area project would be a catalyst for Straddie to stake its position as a leading tourism destination.

“But the transition from sand mining to an alternative economy must be properly funded by the Government if we are to prevent a potential economic disaster,” she said.

“While the decision of the Parliament to re-commit to ending mining by 2019 finally put an end to previous uncertainty about the cessation date, it brings with it enormous challenges.

“The Government must acknowledge that this was its decision, and that they are responsible for providing the necessary funding for the transition.

“Council will stand side by side with the Government, the Traditional Owners and the island community to ensure transition is a success, but the Government now has a clear obligation to back its words with dollars.

“There can be no short-changing.  To do so will be to invite an economic disaster.”

Cr Williams said the decision to end sand mining on Straddie provided certainty for the island’s residents, Traditional Owners, business and wider Redlands community.

“We now have a clear date to work to but everyone must realise 2019 is just three years away – and much work and planning must be done before then,” she said.

“We have already lost three years with the back and forth in State Parliament and we cannot wait until 2019 to put the building blocks for the new economy in place – we need to do that right now. To wait until 2019 would be to invite an economic disaster.

“Everyone knew sand mining would end on Straddie at some time, but we need to acknowledge the huge impacts this decision will have on the island and the wider Redlands economy.

“You only have to look at the situation in Townsville with the closure of Queensland Nickel to see how the loss of large operations can affect the local community.”

Cr Williams said while she welcomed the Government’s $20 million transition package, it was a down payment.

“We need a lot more – and we need it now,” she said.

“With a State Budget fast approaching there is no better time for the Government to provide that financial security.”