Tag Archives: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Community Champions and STAR Community Services agreement supports vulnerable SMBI residents


Under a new agreement with STAR Community Services, the Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI) volunteer Community Champions will be able to help even more of the vulnerable residents in their communities.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said that during disasters and local emergencies, the highly regarded Community Champions could now help to support the safety, wellbeing and needs of STAR clients living on the islands.

“As Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, I am proud of the extraordinary efforts of our SMBI Community Champions in supporting island residents,” Cr Williams said.

“The agreement with STAR will enable the Champions to provide even more support, by allowing them to contact socially or physically isolated STAR clients to check on their safety,” she said.

“Essentially, it allows the Community Champions to help make sure everyone on the island has been accounted for and is being cared for in an emergency.”

STAR General Manager Patsy Wilshire said the agreement would help ensure the safety of their island clients.

“Isolated, elderly people are already vulnerable, so during a disaster we call over 600 Bay Island clients to make sure they are safe, and have access to fresh food and water as well as vital medications,” Ms Wilshire said.

“In any future disaster, if anyone on the SMBI needs immediate help, STAR will contact the Community Champions who will be able to visit the person’s home to assess their needs,” she said.

“We strongly believe that communities that work together are stronger.”

Ms Wilshire wanted to thank the Redlands Foundation for providing a phone and laptop to support communications between STAR and the Community Champions.

“Equipment like this is a basic need during emergencies, so we extend sincere thanks to Redlands Foundation for their generosity.”

Community Champions Coordinator Marie Dalton said the group’s main aim was to care for vulnerable people.

“In emergencies, the Community Champions work together to make sure everyone on the islands is safe,” Marie said.

“Working with STAR will help us identify and reach more vulnerable people more quickly,” she said.

Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards said the agreement reflected how Redlands Coast organisations are finding ways to work together to assist the wider community.

“STAR has provided vulnerable members of our Redlands Coast community with safe, affordable and reliable services for many years,” Cr Edwards said.

“I am delighted that by working with STAR, our Community Champions will be even better resourced to support their island communities,” he said.

“We know that the very best disaster management programs involve local people, and that’s why our Community Champions have been so successful.

“This agreement will strengthen our SMBIs’ resilience and is a great example of the power of the Redlands Coast community working together.

“If you would like further information regarding the work carried out by STAR Community Services, please call 3821 6699 or the Southern Moreton Bay Island Community Champions on 0423 162 723.

Post-COVID recovery discussion during economic round table


Laying the foundations for a local post-COVID economy was a key point of discussion during a meeting of the Redlands Coast Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) this week.

EDAB Chair Sam Kennedy said this week’s round table discussions showed a large amount of work had already been done to lay the foundations for how the Redlands economy could rebound from the current pandemic.

“The meeting was a real eye-opener and shows the importance of collaboration in responding to the current economic challenges being faced through the COVID pandemic,” Ms Kennedy said.

“It is clear Council has already done a great deal of work on the city’s social and economic response and on behalf of the Board I congratulate them for moving so rapidly to respond.

“We heard about a number of success stories that have come out of Council’s $2 million stimulus package, including businesses that have used Council’s repurposed grants program to pivot and access professional services so they can continue serving the community.

“The Board also built on that work with some exciting discussions including internet connectivity across the city and how we can use the current situation to keep Redlanders in the Redlands through better connectivity, delivering an economic boost to local businesses. 

“We also discussed some exciting projects that are taking shape and have the potential to be a real game changer for the city.”

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said having some of the nation’s leading economic minds focussed on the Redlands would ensure we were well placed to not only recover from COVID-19 but to grow the local economy beyond the current pandemic.

“We know recovering from the current situation will be a marathon not a sprint, so having the foundations and collaboration is going to be critical,” Cr Williams said.

“The Board this week was able to provide decades of economic experience and suggest a number of key partners who can support Council in helping our initiatives and projects become a reality, ultimately delivering benefits for the broader community.

“This week’s EDAB meeting follows a round table I hosted with local shopping centres recently and a second meeting I convened to discuss how to ensure any projects built in our city deliver jobs for locals.

“It is critical this work gets done now so the plans are in place and ready for when restrictions are lifted so our local economy can benefit.”

Details of Council’s COVID-19 Support for businesses and the community are available at redland.qld.gov.au/info/20166/support

 

Mayor welcomes State Government funding changes


After years of lobbying, the State Government has today agreed to extend the successful Works for Queensland grants program as a one off to the Redlands and other South East Queensland councils.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams welcomed the news, which comes on the back of continual advocacy to the State Government.

“Today’s announcement is exciting and opens the door for increased State Government funding for Redlands Coast in recognition of our regional and remote challenges,” Cr Williams said.

“I know the Redlands has unique challenges, including islands with twice the State average of unemployment and ageing communities, in addition to connectivity challenges due to their remoteness.

“These challenges are why I have been lobbying consistently for additional State Government funding to provide our community with the same funding opportunities as regional areas with lower unemployment.

“This announcement also follows a resolution I put to last year’s Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) conference asking the State Government to develop a similar grant allocation for South East Queensland.

“This one off funding is being made available to help Councils recover from the COVID pandemic, which is very welcome and I thank the State Government for this commitment.”

Cr Williams said she had met with and written to the Minister requesting this funding and also recently joined with State Member for the Redlands Kim Richards on a petition to State parliament calling for the funding.

“Finally the unique challenges of our community are receiving the recognition they deserve and on behalf of the community I thank the Premier, Minister and Ms Richards.

“This funding is the beginning of the journey and I will continue to speak with all levels of government to ensure our local challenges are recognised through long term and consistent funding,” Cr Williams said.

Enjoy safely all that Redlands Coast has to offer


There’s a lot to do at Redlands Coast as restrictions ease and we head into the cooler months that are perfect for hiking, cycling and exploring.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said that with people able to travel up to 150km from tomorrow, Saturday 16 May 2020, there were  many naturally wonderful hidden treasures and little adventures to explore on Redlands Coast.

“Please remember to exercise social distancing and buy local where you can,” Cr Williams said.

So what will it be for you this weekend?

Redlands Coast has everything from hiking in the bush at Venman Bushland National Park at Mt Cotton, to the all-abilities playground at Capalaba Regional Park to the King Island walk at Wellington Point Recreation Reserve.

Mountain bikers can get an adrenalin rush on the tracks at Redlands Track Park at Cleveland while all cyclists can enjoy the Moreton Bay Cycleway from Thorneside through Wellington Point and Cleveland to Victoria Point and Redland Bay.

You can also get out on our waterways kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding or boating, with restrictions removed from Saturday 16 May 2020 for boating around North Stradbroke Island.

All Redlands Coast Islands are also open for day trippers, with restrictions on North Stradbroke Island lifted on Saturday 16 May 2020.

Venman Bushland National Park

West Mount Cotton Road, Mount Cotton (Jungalpin/Tungipin)

Within the beautiful hinterland of Mount Cotton you’ll discover this reserve, with a variety of walking tracks amongst the forest of eucalypt and melaleuca trees. You may even be lucky and spot a koala so keep an eye out! The reserve also acts as a haven for many other native animals including greater gliders, powerful owls and red-necked wallabies, so it is the perfect place to explore.

Raby Bay Foreshore Park

Masthead Drive, Cleveland (Nandeebie/Indillie)

Raby Bay Foreshore Park boasts sprawling parklands with sandy beaches, a playground and scenic walking and bike paths. It’s a great place to take the family to cool off, enjoy a picnic and relax overlooking the bay. The calm waters are suitable for swimming and you can hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board right on the shore. Coffee, drinks and snacks are available from the coffee trailer. Don’t forget your furry friends. The park is dog-friendly, with a popular designated off-leash beach area.

Wellington Point Recreation Reserve

Main Road, Wellington Point (Cullen Cullen)

Wind surfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, boating and coastal fishing are just some of the water activities that entice people from far and wide to the Wellington Point peninsula.

Surrounded by coast on three sides, Wellington Point Reserve is popular for picnics, launching a boat into Moreton Bay, and, at low tide, walking to King Island – home to an abundance of coastal wildlife.

Scattered with historic Moreton Bay Fig Trees, with a sandy beach, wooden jetty and brilliants, it is an Instagrammers delight.

Children love the established playgrounds that weave among the shade of Moreton Bay fig trees while the adjacent café and takeaway store offers a great menu and superb view.

King Island Walk

Main Road, Wellington Point (Cullen Cullen)

‘Walking on water’ across the spectacular low-tide sand bridge from Wellington Point to King Island is a Redlands Coast signature experience and one of the most unique walks in South-east Queensland.

A stunning sand causeway emerges from beneath the Moreton Bay waters between the Wellington Point (Cullen Cullen) mainland and the tiny, uninhabited King Island at low-tide, forming a natural bridge for walkers.

It’s a 2km return walk – great for kids who can paddle along the way and spot birds and crabs and you can take your dog (on leash) on week days too.

Make sure you check tide times before you head out too – it’s a strictly low-tide affair.

Put this one on your weekend bucket list for some time soon!

Cleveland Point Recreation Reserve

Shore St West, Cleveland (Nandeebie/Indillie)

With magnificent Moreton Bay on three sides, Cleveland Point is one of the most iconic, must-visit sites on Redlands Coast.

Cleveland Point is family-friendly with a park, children’s playground, shaded picnic areas and toilets, plus a picturesque pathway around the point for leisurely strolls and cycles – it has a significant link to the city’s past too with the historic Cleveland Point Lighthouse, a Redlands Coast and South-east Queensland icon.

There are plenty of reasons to stop and stay a while at the Cleveland Point Reserve too. Aside from the picturesque location and mesmerising views, the fish and chippery serves up great seafood.

Moreton Bay Cycleway

Redlands Coast

Start at Thorneside or at the other end at Redland Bay and cycle through Redlands Coast’s naturally wonderful villages taking in taking in the unique coastline and mangrove vegetation.

Redlands Track Park

Cleveland (Nandeebie/Indillie) and Alexandra Hills

Looking to discover a new coast this weekend? You can in Redlands Coast. The Redlands Track Park is a multi-use trail for mountain biking, walking and cycling. You may even spot a wallaby or two in the Scribbly Gum Conservation area. Add some excitement to your day by exploring the Scorpion Rock, the Hammer, and the Upper and Lower Magic trails.

IndigiScapes Centre

Runnymede Road, Capalaba (Kapallaba)

Immerse yourself in nature at Redlands Coast’s environmental education centre. Whilst the IndigiScapes building and café might be closed, you can still make the most of the tracks and trails that wind their way through the native bushland that surrounds the centre. Wander the paths that lead you through unspoilt greenery and follow the banks of Coolnwynpin Creek, or stroll the native botanical gardens and get inspiration for your own backyard. There is plenty of space for you to you pull up a picnic, and a playground for those looking to burn some energy! Keep an eye out for the local wildlife that like to call the area home – if you’re lucky you might spot swamp wallabies, lizards and an array of native birds.

For more places to discover on Redlands Coast visit visitredlandscoast.com.au.

Straddie reopening announcement leaves little notice for businesses to prepare


Redland City Mayor Karen Williams would have liked more notice to be given to North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) businesses and residents to prepare for the reopening of the island from tomorrow (Saturday 16 May 2020).

The State Government announced today (Friday 15 May 2020) that the island would be open for business from midnight tonight after being locked down under a special restricted access directive since 26 March 2020.

Cr Williams, the Chair of the Redland Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), said that a longer lead time to reopening the island to tourists would have been preferable to ensure business were ready for the expected increase of visitors.

“The LDMG requested a staged approach to reopening the island to tourists and for businesses to be given prior notice to prepare,” Cr Williams said.

“We asked for those with holiday homes allowed to access the island in the first stage, followed by tourists in the second stage, to help manage crowds and give businesses time to re-establish themselves.

“Ferry companies have reduced the number of vessels they are operating and their staff have taken leave – they need time to return their services to normal.

“Our other businesses also need to ensure they have enough staff – many of whom left the island when businesses closed.

“Businesses also need time to restock basic items – much of which comes from the mainland, and requires transporting to the island.”

Cr Williams said while the island needed an economic boost, she asked people to remain patient and use common sense.

“We want people to love visiting the island, but with less than 24 hours’ notice not all businesses will be open so people need to take that into account and call ahead before making the journey to the island,” she said.

“People also need to continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene because there are vulnerable residents on the island who need to be respected and protected.”

Redlands Coast islands have topped the list in Queensland for employment vulnerability resulting from COVID-19, according to research from the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) at the University of Newcastle.

“This data reinforces the need for Redlands Coast islands to be recognised as regional communities in order to be able to access regional support funding from other levels of government and help with their recovery post COVID-19,” Cr Williams said.

“With sand mining ceasing on North Stradbroke Island last year it was always going to be difficult but now there will be an even greater need to rebuild the tourism economy the State Government predicted would fill the mining void.

“Some businesses that have closed on the island will really struggle to reopen soon, if at all.”

Redland City Councillor Peter Mitchell (Division 2, which includes North Stradbroke Island) said North Stradbroke Island businesses had said they needed assistance to market the island once reopened.

“Straddie needs to be ready to market itself competitively as a holiday destination domestically when it is up and running,” he said.

“COVID-19 and the cessation of mining last year through a State Government decision have been a double whammy – decimating jobs, businesses and livelihoods.”

Park facilities, libraries and other Council services to reopen under eased restrictions


As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease across Queensland, Redland City Council is preparing to reopen its libraries, park facilities, animal shelter and community halls from this weekend.

Mayor Karen Williams said Council appreciated the restrictions have been challenging and thanked community members for their work in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“These are difficult times that none of us have lived through before, yet the Redlands Coast community’s positive response to this rapidly changing situation has helped keep the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 low,” she said.

“As restrictions are steadily lifted, it is important we all continue with physical distancing, regular handwashing, and cough and sneeze hygiene; and to stay at home if we are unwell.

“I’m pleased that we can all soon enjoy being out and about more, but keeping up the practices we’ve learned over recent months is vital to also keeping the spread of this virus slow and continue saving lives.”

Reopening from this weekend is the following, with physical distancing (1.5m), gathering rules, and hygiene measures continuing to apply:

Park facilities

Parks, playground equipment, skate parks, outdoor exercise equipment, basketball hoops and picnic settings will be open from Saturday 16 May 2020.

Under the State Government’s guidelines for easing Queensland restrictions, gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted in outdoor, non-contact activity.

With almost 120 public barbecues across Redlands Coast, these will be turned on progressively over coming weeks as electrical safety testing is completed.

This is expected to take at least two weeks, which means that not all public barbecues will be available for immediate use.

Mainland Libraries

Council’s mainland libraries, at Cleveland, Capalaba and Victoria Point, will reopen from Saturday 16 May 2020, with physical distancing, gathering rules and hygiene measures applying.

Library hours are Saturdays 9am to 4pm; Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

A maximum of 10 people will be permitted in each library at any one time.

Due to the State Government’s guidelines on the number of people allowed onsite, the libraries will be open for borrowing purposes only, not for computer use, meetings, or reading books or newspapers.

The libraries will not be open during the evenings at this time.

Council’s home library service has also restarted for people who are unable to leave their homes due to illness or disability, and for full time carers.

Online library services are continuing and you can plan your visit to the library by checking the online catalogue and placing a hold on a book to collect at a branch.

The mobile library will also recommence its usual service on Monday 18 May 2020.

Island Libraries

Russell Island library will reopen on Saturday 16 May 2020 during its usual hours, with physical distancing, gathering rules and hygiene measures applying.

Dunwich Library will reopen on Saturday 16 May 2020, with physical distancing, gathering rules and hygiene measures applying. It will be open during its normal hours on Saturdays and Thursdays, but will temporarily remain closed during its normal Tuesday hours.

Point Lookout will reopen on Tuesday 19 May 2020, and Amity Point Library will reopen at a later date, to be advised.

The number of people permitted in these libraries at one time will be based on library size.

Animal Shelter

Council’s Animal Shelter at 265 South Street, Cleveland will reopen from Saturday 16 May 2020, with physical distancing, gathering rules and hygiene measures also applying.

The shelter’s opening hours are 9am to noon Saturday and Sunday; 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Community halls

Council’s mainland and island community halls are open for bookings from Saturday 16 May 2020, with physical distancing, gathering rules and hygiene measures applying.

Dog off leash areas

Redlands Coast’s fenced and gated dog off leash areas reopened on Friday 8 May 2020.

Council’s COVID-19 assistance package progressing and new measures to be investigated


Redland City Council has noted the progress of its Stage1 COVID-19 Social and Economic Assistance Package and endorsed investigation of new, Stage 2 initiatives.

Mayor Karen Williams said that of the 11 items endorsed on 26 March 2020 as part of a more than $2 million assistance package, five were already complete and the other six were in progress.

“I’m pleased that Council has moved swiftly to play its part to relieve some of the pressure the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for Redland Coast residents and businesses,” Cr Williams said.

“This early progress paves the way for Council to now look at new options to provide further stimulus and support.

“Council has doubled the time for current rates payments and continues to work compassionately with those requesting financial relief,” she said.

“Community groups have been advised of available grants up to $10,000 to provide hardship relief to residents and one-off Council contributions made to waive electricity network charges for clubs and associations adversely impacted by COVID-19.

“Business owners may apply for grants up to $1000 to access professional business advice and up to $5000 to re-engineer their business operations to remain viable.

“Already we’ve received 26 applications for these grants, across all categories. Application information is available on Council’s website.”

Cr Williams said Council was also giving preference to local suppliers, with a 10 per cent advantage to be applied, while Council’s own local spend increased by approximately four per cent in the past quarter and 97 per cent of invoices paid within 14 days.

“In addition to providing increased flexibility in many of Council regulatory requirements, a substantial area of support has been delivered through advice to community and businesses,” she said.

“Council’s support officers have helped local businesses, social enterprises, community groups and sporting clubs access Federal and State government economic stimulus packages.

“Council support services have effectively triaged business and organisation information needs by helping point to relevant support with forty percent of business inquiries seeking information on government stimulus support.

Twenty one percent of business inquiries to date have been accommodation and food services businesses and eighteen percent from manufacturing.

“This support information is also being offered through regular e-newsletters to more than 1400 business recipients and updates on Council’s COVID-19 Business and Community page.

“Approximately 400 tourism and event businesses have also received six industry specific e-newsletter updates while our officers have individually contacted more than 80 event organisers.

“Council is committed to working closely with industry representatives and government agencies to ensure tourism and events operators receive the help they need.”

Cr Williams said opportunities to bring forward State Government investment in major infrastructure projects was also being identified, including through programs administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

“While it is impossible to completely remove the burden this pandemic is having on Redlands Coast, Council remains committed to doing what it can to continue supporting our local people, community organisations and businesses.”

Redlands Coast Dog Off Leash Areas Reopen


Walkies anyone? Redland City Council reopened its fenced off dog off leash areas on Friday 8 May 2020.

Residents are reminded to practise social distancing and gathering rules while at the parks.

Council’s unfenced and partially fenced dog off leash areas have remained open during the COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest reopening comes after announcements today by the Queensland Premier and Prime Minister regarding the roadmap for easing restrictions.

Mayor reiterates calls for regional status for island communities after red alert rating from Employment Vulnerability Index


Redlands Coast islands have topped the list for employment vulnerability, according to an index published by  the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), an official research centre at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales.

Mayor Karen Williams said CofFEE’s Employment Vulnerability Index (EVI) was updated in response to the economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It identifies areas that have higher proportions of the types of jobs thought to be at most risk when economic activity declines,” Cr Williams said.

“As a group, all of our islands – including North Stradbroke Island, Coochiemuldo Island and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands – top the list for Queensland with a red alert rating.

“That suggests our island communities – with an older population and lower incomes relative to the Queensland average – are very vulnerable to employment loss if the national economy contracts.”

Cr Williams said with Redlands Coast islands already having high unemployment and vulnerable communities, it reinforced the need for increased funding from other levels of government.

“With isolation and ageing communities our islands were hurting before COVID-19 and now they face a double whammy that is going to need all levels of government to recognise and respond to these challenges,” Cr Williams said.

“With sand mining exiting North Stradbroke Island last year it was always going to have an uphill battle and they will need as much help as possible to build the tourism economy the State Government predicted to fill the mining void.

Cr Williams said the data reinforced the need for Redlands Coast islands to be recognised as regional communities.

“I have always maintained that our island communities have a different profile to the Redlands Coast mainland,” she said.

“They are more aligned with regional communities and should be categorised as such in order to be able to access regional support funding from other levels of government.

“This is something I have continued to advocate for over many years.

“I once again ask the Queensland Government to consider the evidence – clearly stated through the EVI Index – and recategorise our islands to allow their eligibility for improved financial support.”

Council urges State to plan for phased reopening of North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah)


Redland City Council is urging the State Government to start planning for the reopening of North Stradbroke Island as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Mayor Karen Williams called a Redland City Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) meeting this week to discuss a potential staged approach to reopening the island safely.

“Following this week’s meeting we have written to the State Government to request a phased plan to reopen the island in line with State and Federal health advice,” Cr Williams said.

“We know the island is hurting financially, but we also know there are vulnerable people on the island, so we have asked for a phased process that provides plenty of notice for residents, businesses and tourists.

“We aren’t asking them to open the floodgates right now, we are asking for a clear plan that recognises it will take time to return the island to normal.

“Ferry companies have reduced the number of vessels and their staff have taken leave, so they have told us they need two weeks’ notice to return their services to normal.

“Our request to the State Government makes it clear that the island cannot just be turned back on at a moment’s notice, we need some lead time and planning.”

Cr Williams said the LDMG’s recommendation was for a two staged process that allowed landowners with holiday homes to access the island first, followed by day-trippers and tourists, provided it was safe to do so.

“This all has to be done right and it has to be based on the most recent health advice,” Cr Williams said.

“Having a phased plan that gives everyone plenty of notice will provide the community, businesses and tourists with the confidence they need and deserve.

“It will also give local businesses a light at the end of the tunnel, allowing them to resource staff and products so they can do what they do best – serve the community.”

Division 2 Councillor Peter Mitchell said the fact that such a request was possible was down to the cooperation of the community in following health advice.

“In the main, people have been very understanding and cooperative, which means we can start to look at recovery planning,” Cr Mitchell said.

“While this is an important and positive step in the right direction, we aren’t there yet and the next step is for a detailed plan that reopens the island safely.”