Recent Submissions made:
Operational Works for Black Swan Lake OPW201800637; Solar Farms Guidelines;
Reform of Local Government: Gecko has made a submission to the Crime and Corruption Commission in relation to their current examination of Council decision making relating to Black Swan Lake and the sale of the Bruce Bishop Car Park and planning decisions by Council. A meeting with the new Minister for Local Government, Stirling Hinchcliff will be sought.
Planning. A letter requesting a meeting with the Minister for Planning, Cameron Dick has been sent. Other actions include a petition asking for reform of planning legislation and a possible conference later in the year.
The Community Alliance – This group of around 15 community organisations meets at Robina on the third Thursday of each month to plan actions for Local Government reform and planning reform. The Alliance is coming together well and provides support with development issues in different parts of the city.
SEQ Alliance representatives from SEQ groups Gecko, EDO, SCEC, Redlands 2030, Brisbane Residents Group, Ipswich Residents, and UNAA meet on the third Tuesday of each month in Brisbane to progress regional actions on advocacy to return planning legislation to a more prescriptive form which recognises community rather than developer needs. A recent Supreme Court judgement indicates there is some recognition of these difficulties the community is having.
Koalas: Council has announced that they will spend $10 million on some koala habitat. The place has not been identified. They want to pay this with an additional ratepayer levy of $3.00 per household despite the fact that ratepayers already pay $38 p.a for purchase of conservation land. The Expert Panel Report on Koalas and the Dept of Environment and Science response have been released. There is a timetable for the recommendations to be implemented starting with changes to the Planning legislation. A Koala Conference on the Gold Coast later this year – Dept. of Environment and Science will fund this and once Council is better engaged planning will proceed.
Coal;Waratah Mine owned by Clive Palmer, in the same area as the Adani mine, has now applied to the Federal Government for approval. It will rely on the Adani rail line to get the coal to port. Gecko will be examining the proposal and put in a submission.
Gecko Climate Action Network: – Climate Change Action: Gecko hosted a live streaming of 350.org. founder Bill McKibben, and about 20 people attended and are keen to see the Federal Government accelerate climate action. Ongoing actions include stopping fossil fuel use, rapid transition to renewables and intense lobbying of Federal Government to ‘accelerate climate change action.
Adani: has applied to the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Unit for assessment of a dam and pipeline to secure their access to water. Submissions close on 25th June. Further it appears the Queensland Government is intending to pay for road access and then claim the costs back later. It appears they are still looking for finance and have employed a high up ex-executive from BHP to help. The local Adani action group is targeting the Minister for Trade, Steven Ciobo’s office on Chevron Island to stop him seeking taxpayer funds for Adani through a mechanism called Efic. These protests occur every Thursday morning and Gecko members actively support these.
E-Waste. The development of a local e-waste recycling system is progressing well with a partnership with Currumbin Special School and Substation 33 e-waste recycling centre in Brisbane.
Gold Coast Green Business Directory is progressing slowly with a decision on criteria close and needs a dedicated team.
The Spit Master Plan: Lois attended the Community Reference group meeting on 31st May which was largely procedural. Concern about the emphasis on the cruise terminal was raised by several people present. Rose and Lois attended the two day workshop on the Spit Master Plan at SeaWorld Conference centre on 28th and 29th April. The first day was a bus tour of the Spit. Day 2 was a series of 6 discussion topics for representatives of various groups and businesses at 5 tables. The report from this are on the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning website. The next two day workshop will be on 21-22nd July.
Black Swan Lake – still subject to the threat of being filled in for use as a car park. The Turf Club withdrew their Operational Works application due to Council error and submitted a new one, which was approved. Other actions are being tried. The CCC are investigating the process. There appears to be some Aboriginal interest in the site as a test case. It has been referred to the EPBC Unit since the listing of Casurina glauce as a threatened ecosystem.
Ground Water Extraction at Springbrook (GWE).A third extraction site in Springbrook has been applied for from Gold Coast Council to which Gecko will object. A letter has been sent to Minister for Natural Resources, Min. for Environment and Min for Tourism raising our concerns. The Water Sensitive City document recognises the inadequacies of research into the impacts of GWE and lack of regulation. Gecko has linked up with Tweed Water Alliance who are much more advanced in their research against ground water extraction and have sent through numerous document. The laws regulating ground water extract in NSW are far superior to Gold Coast, but still inadequate.The Right to Information documents were received and appear to demonstrate a failure by Council to properly regulate this industry. Further documents have been sought. A new application has been received for Springbrook this week. Gecko is seeking information on whether this extractive industry is sustainable.
Narrowneck Littoral Rainforest threatened remnant is under threat from a possible development application for an additional surf club for Surfers Paradise on public land, which is not acceptable especially as they have just increased the facilities of the current clubhouse for supporters and not the lifesaving arm.
The off-shore cruise terminal (OCST)– The 23 financial and physical risks associated with this proposal were revealed in a document pertaining to the ABC Defence of their defamation claim by Mayor Tate. The risks are considerable and should be widely known to the public. The cruise terminal which we thought will not be considered as part of the Spit Master Plan now appears to be part of the discussions in terms of what impact it would have. However it cannot progress until that process is completed in 2019-2020.
Saving Trees: The Isle of Capri bridge is due for extension to cope better with traffic, but there are two 50 year old trees in the way and Gecko has received a request to help save these. The Veteran Trees group will also be involved.
Boral Quarry, West Burleigh – this appeal by Boral was refused by the Supreme Court and Boral have decided not to appeal to the High Court. It is great to see a victory for residents after 7 years of campaigning and we thank Council for persisting with the two court cases.