Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the city has been blindsided by a Federal Government move to sell Commonwealth Land at Birkdale for 400 houses, labelling it as deplorable.
Cr Williams said Council had been trying to buy the land for the last three and half years to ensure it did not end up as housing but as an opportunity to equip our young people for jobs in the future economy.
For the Federal Government to suggest as part of last night’s Budget that they will now sell the land to developers was a slap in the face for the Redlands.
“This decision is completely contrary to the community’s needs and wishes and good planning showing a complete disregard for local values,” Cr Williams said.
“Council has been negotiating with the Federal Government in good faith for more than three years to purchase the land with the possibility of it being used for an educational facility or recreation to protect the property’s environmental values.
“This included indications in 2016 that the Commonwealth land owners were supportive of an off-market sale to Council with sale expected in 2017.
Councillors supported a Mayoral Minute tabled by Cr Williams at today’s General Meeting, calling for the Federal Government to rescind their decision to sell the land for housing and for Council to urgently enter into negotiations with the Federal Government to acquire the land for community use.
Cr Williams has also launched a petition on Change.org calling on the Federal Government to immediately rescind its decision and sell the property to Council off-market.
“We need the Federal Government to hear loud and clear that this land cannot be used for houses so I encourage everyone to sign the petition so there is no doubt about where the community stands on this land,” she said.
“There is the opportunity for a win-win on this if the Federal Government sells the land to Council they can still generate some return for it while ensuring it remains in public ownership.”
Cr Williams made the point the land is outside the urban footprint, showing it was not required to meet South East Queensland’s growth.
“The South East Queensland Regional Plan restricts any further reconfiguration or development of this land for an urban purpose but does allow for a range of community uses provided they are within certain thresholds.
“Someone hasn’t done their homework because the Federal Government has suggested land for housing that is not zoned for housing and is not needed for housing,” Cr Williams said.
“This smacks of a decision made in Canberra with no thought for what it means locally.
“If this land is used for houses it will be Council and our ratepayers that have to pick up the tab for the major infrastructure needed to service these unneeded homes.
“The Commonwealth should be supporting the local need and priority for locally accessible tertiary education to ensure our children are equipped for the future economy and not dispose of high value assets to prop up short term budget needs.
“This is a precious public asset that can and should be put to better public and community use and not turned into a cash cow for the budget.
“I encourage all members of the community and the region to get behind the Change.org petition and to write or call on their Federal members of Parliament to reverse this appalling decision and reconvene negotiations with Council.”