Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has used Raby Bay Harbour as the backdrop to hammer home the advantages of his Budget as he visited Redland city to be greeted by locals of all ages, anti-Adani protestors and a Mayor keen to sort out a land deal at Birkdale.
Mayor Karen Williams sought assurances from the Prime Minister that he will reconsider the sale of the commonwealth land at Birkdale to private developers for housing and instead, work with Council to see the site secured for a future University for the city.
The decision to sell the federally owned historic 80-hectare block was included in last week’s federal budget- a decision Mayor Williams says is not acceptable.
A change.org petition launched by the Mayor now has over 5,000 signatures and calls for the Government to immediately rescind its decision and sell the property to council off-market.
Cr Williams says the council had been trying to buy the land for the last three-and-a-half years to ensure it did not end up as housing.
“This decision is completely contrary to the community’s needs and wishes and good planning showing a complete disregard for local values.
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.”
Federal LNP MP for Bowman, Andrew Laming, says the issue is a beat up.
He says the reference to the land sale in the Budget was one line that was clumsily-worded.
“There isn’t and there never was going to be housing on the block. I’m encouraging people to sign the petition but it’s a victory already because there’s not going to be housing.”
“But it’s never been sold to developers and (selling it) off-market has always been the approach that’s been taken.”
Prime Minister Turnbull meantime appeared election mode like as he spoke to the crowds today for about 20 minutes.
Mr Turnbull spoke for about 20 minutes, with a hard sell about job building in his election-style budget.
“We are spending more money than ever before [and] we’re continuing to put the resources we need to deliver those essential services. We’ve reduced business taxes for small and medium companies up to $50 million turnover. That benefits thousands of businesses in this electorate and millions right across the country, many of them very small businesses.”
“Those businesses are overwhelmingly Australian owned, family owned businesses. Lower business taxes mean more investment, more employment and that’s what we’ve seen last year, 415,000 more jobs in Australia. The largest jobs growth in our history.”
The Prime Minister also took a moment to acknowledge a small group of Anti Adani mine protestors who were on hand.
“Thanks, comrades, good to see you there … It’s a great country, that we’ve got so many diverse opinions.”