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Community challenges growth at Gold Coast Labor Conference

A rally to protest about the costs of growth to the community and the invasion of housing and infrastructure into high biodiversity areas of South East Queensland will take place outside the Labor Party Conference at the Convention Centre on the Gold Coast this Saturday, 21st June at 10:30am.

A variety of protestors awaited delegates attending the ALP state conference, including this group opposing the Traveston Crossing Dam.

Protestors opposing the Traveston Dam
amongst those awaiting delegates
attending the ALP state conference.
Photo: Steve Holland, Fairfax Media

From the Save the Mary - no dam group in Hervey Bay to the S.T.O.P. the Mudgeeraba-Tugun powerlines group in the south of the Gold Coast, community groups are sending a strong message to Premier Bligh and the Labor-led Queensland Government that "enough is enough".

Lois Levy, spokesperson for Gecko - Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council, said that the community is fed up with the government overriding legislation, ignoring community consultation and placating the demands of the development industry under the guise of providing affordable housing.

"Not only has the Premier released more bushland to developers ahead of schedule and without infrastructure in place; but the government is now reviewing the SEQ Regional Plan with a view to releasing even more land to developers and further weakening restrictions," said Ms Levy.

"Containing the urban sprawl and ecologically sustainable development were at the top of the government's agenda when elected; however, all of this is being reversed under the current Premier," said Ms Levy. "Growth is out of control in our region and it's costing the community and the environment dearly."

Ms Levy said that the costs of growth included not only more dams and more powerlines, but also the continued devastation of bushland, particularly Greenfield sites, infill of open space and infrastructure intrusion into natural areas.

"We are very disappointed that the most profound warnings against this unsustainable level of growth are being delivered by scientists, economists and demographers of the highest repute, only to fall upon the deaf ears of our current crop of leaders," said Ms Levy.

"People are coming from all over the region to tell the Premier that she's not listening and her government will have to answer to the voters for this at the next election," said Ms Levy. "We're hoping that she sees the light - that the level of growth being allowed in South East Queensland does not reflect the wishes of existing residents and is having devastating impacts on the environment and social fabric of our communities and that she must reverse the trend.

We are calling upon the Queensland Government to honour their commitments and to create genuine ecological sustainability, as they have been promising for the last 12 years, by both stabilising the population of South East Queensland within the confines of its carrying capacity and protecting its high biodiversity values with effective legislation.

For more information ring the following at Gecko 5534-1412 or direct: Lois Levy 5534-3706 or 0412-724-222.
or e-mail media [AT] gecko org au

Gecko, 139 Duringan Street, Currumbin 4223, Ph: 5534-1412; Fax: 5534-1401,


Typically, the story of this protest has been largely ignored by the newsmedia. The only story which gives the protest any substantial coverage is the story QLD Labor stung by protests in the free glossy Brisbane Times magazine. There's nothing yet on the (bandwidth intensive) Courier Mail web site. We can expect, if we're lucky, half a page in the Sunday Mail and after that it will be forgotten completely, and Bligh will be left alone by the Queensland newsmedia to get on with the job of trashing Queensland's environment as if these protests had never occurred, in order to line the pockets of developer backers.

If the Courier Mail does decide in any way to try to make life difficult for Anna Bligh, it will no doubt attempt to channel any consequent public indignation against her government towards the equally pro-development pro-big-business National/Liberal opposition.

For what it's what here's some of what a google news search with the terms "Queensland Labor" (quotes omitted) turned up:

Queensland the great state, says PM from the Melbourne Age of 21 Jun 08. This report made the following bizarre of Electrical Trades Union protesters at the conference:

Electricity, rail workers to picket Labor conference from Brisbane Times of 17 Jun 08.

Protesters set to greet Rudd in Qld from the Sydney Morning Herald of 20 Jun 08

Dam protesters to rally against 'scrubber bull' Bligh in ABC online news of 20 Jun 08

Qld union threatens to dump Labor from the Melbourne Age of 21 Jun 08. This report made the following bizarre of Electrical Trades Union protesters at the conference:

They were also forced to compete for attention with a variety of other protesters, including those against the state government's $1.7 billion Traveston Crossing Dam project and those against recycled water, who all came to capitalise on the appearance of the high-profile Labor attendees.

… as if, somehow, having others protesting against the Queensland Government's policies would weaken their cause.

Other news items found in this google search focussed on how the Queensland Coalition is gaining on Labor in opinion polls.

Let's hope that the organisers of this rally gave some thought to keeping people who attended in touch after the day in order to maintain the momentum. If this happens then these campaigns can hope to begin making traction and start forcing politicians to sit up and listen.

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