Brisbane to bay ferry would deliver economic boost for the Redlands

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said she is “totally supportive” of a move by Brisbane City Council to make access to Moreton Bay and the islands easier from inner-Brisbane marinas.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced during his annual Property Council of Australia presentation this week that Brisbane City Council was looking to facilitate urban marinas and moorings allowing passengers to be transported down the Brisbane River to Moreton Bay.

“If more people can access Moreton Bay and islands, particularly North Stradbroke Island, Coochiemudlo Island and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, it would mean significant tourism potential for Redland City; so I am very supportive of Brisbane City Council’s plans,” Cr Williams said.

“Moreton Bay and its islands are the jewels at the end of the Brisbane River, so why wouldn’t you look to make access easier for tourists and existing Brisbane residents? It is a no-brainer and we are 100 per cent behind it.

“In fact Redland City Council recognised this opportunity in our 2015-2020 Tourism Strategy and Action Plan and traditional owners, the Quandamooka People, have already trialed a proposed route.

“Redland City CEO Andrew Chesterman and I were also at the initial Brisbane Marketing roundtable where this idea was discussed and I am happy our input was included as part of this concept.

“Brisbane hosted more than 7 million tourists last year and if we were able to tap into just a percentage of these visitors it would be a huge economic coup for the city.  That means money through the doors of local shops and restaurants and a real sense of confidence for locals.”

Cr Williams said the infrastructure needed to accommodate this new ferry route was the type of innovative ideas needed to ensure North Stradbroke Island’s economic future following the end of sand mining in 2019.

“The State Government’s decision to end sand mining by 2019 has the potential to cripple North Stradbroke Island if something is not done urgently to set up viable economic alternatives quickly,” Cr Williams said.

“Since the State Government made the decision to end sand mining early, we have been lobbying them to ensure there is a solid plan supported by adequate funding and I am not convinced this is the case yet.  The State Government should throw its support behind this proposed new ferry route to help get things moving.”

Cr Williams said the fight for more funding for North Stradbroke Island had begun.

“Council has been actively agitating for more support,” Cr Williams said.

Don’t Leave Straddie Stranded is the message to the State Government and all candidates.”

“The $28 million allocated to the North Stradbroke Island Economic Transition Strategy is not even remotely close to what is needed to fill the economic void that will be created by the departure of the mining company.

“This represents just 17 per cent of the estimated $55 million sand mining brought to the Redlands economy each year.  Council believes $120 million is closer to the mark in order to support the projects that have been identified.

“The end of sand mining will not only impact Straddie and the Redlands, but also the wider South East Queensland region, so regional initiatives like that being proposed by Brisbane City Council make sense and I call on the State Government and neighbouring councils to adopt a similar approach.”

Cr Williams said the $1.3 Billion upgrade of Toondah Harbour would create a world-class marine facility that could accommodate larger boats from Brisbane city and beyond, supporting this initiative and creating further regional tourism opportunities.

“The Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area is a significant project in its own right, but when you look at it in the context of what it could mean for expanded ferry services from Brisbane City to the Redlands it shows just how much potential it could deliver for not only Redland City but the entire state.”