The State elections have come and gone. The voters of Queensland have made an emphatic statement. There is a new Premier with a new cabinet running the show, and they will be assisted by a raft of new parliamentarians and senior public servants.
There are some very major issues facing Queensland. There is a mind-boggling array of new resource developments either underway or proposed. These will change the face of Queensland in a way that is not yet appreciated. These developments have the potential for major downgrading of both on-shore and off-shore areas of Queensland. The developments will permanently sterilize over 100,000 hectares of arable land. The recently approved Wandoan Coal Mine alone will sterilize 25,000 hectares. These projects have the potential to impact the underground water resources in the affected areas. They will require massive dredging of reef and near-reef areas for new port facilities and navigation channels. They will require tens of thousands of skilled workers that can only be provided from offshore. The government infrastructure developments to support these developments like schools, hospitals, roads, ports, and housing will cost billions of dollars – money that could be spent on addressing existing infrastructure deficits.
Sadly, little or no debate regarding these massive changes and their potential impact on the lives of all Queenslanders occurred during the campaign. No vision of the future was enunciated by any party. At best, just some minor changes to the status quo were put forward. The initial ALP campaign was based around a very personal attack on the integrity of the LNP leader and his family. While this did result in an initial boost in the polls, voters soon tired of these relentless attacks, especially when little or nothing concrete was put forward in the way of a vision for the future. Seeing the ALP offered very little to the electors, there was no pressure on the LNP to offer anything of substance. So they didn’t.
Here on Bribie there are also some major issues. Real estate values have plummeted. Business conditions are very difficult. More then 30 businesses have folded in the term of the current Council. Unemployment has increased. Social support groups are under extreme pressure to keep up with the needs of those requiring assistance. The natural environment of Bribie, which is what attracts people to want to live in and/or visit Bribie, is under extreme stress as a result of some significant downgrading by inappropriate actions by Council on Council-owned and State-owned lands. Moreton Bay is acknowledged as being the most degraded waterway in Australia and its condition is deteriorating every year. This on-shore and off-shore environmental downgrading of Bribie Island is having a most negative impact on tourism and business. Property values are affected as well. One of the areas with the greatest environmental downgrading is the Woorim foreshore, and as a result of this downgrading the assessments of property values for Woorim by the Valuer General have fallen by 10% in the last year alone.
Sadly, very little debate of these major Bribie issues occurred during the campaign. Even more sadly, some of the proposals put forward during the debates would actually make some of these conditions worse.
In his book Up the Organization, Robert Townsend outlines his views on management which he used to successfully turn Avis into an international car hire company to rival Hertz. Townsend suggests that after 6 – 8 years in the same job, managers cease to bring new ideas to the job. After that time they just defend past actions and should be moved on. Townsend followed his own ideas by standing down as President after some eight years in the chair. Perhaps Queensland voters were following Townsend’s ideas when they decided that after 10 years of ALP rule that changes were needed, and that the only way to achieve those changes was to bring in a whole new team.
It will be interesting to see if Queensland and Bribie Island voters do the same thing at the upcoming council elections to long-standing incumbents.