State of the Region, green ambitions

Published 6:29am 2 December 2022

State of the Region, green ambitions
Words by Kylie Knight

In his inaugural ‘State of the Region’ address, Mayor Peter Flannery has revealed Moreton Bay Regional Council is going into 2023 with the ambitious goal of protecting 75 per cent of its landmass from development.

Mayor Flannery delivered the speech to community groups yesterday and spoke with prospective investors and business leaders last night.

“I’ve repeatedly said we must learn from the mistakes of other cities, and in 2023 we will start putting that into a positive plan of action that will make Moreton Bay look and feel different to the rest of South East Queensland,” he said.

“I believe Moreton Bay is the only Council now capable of preventing South East Queensland becoming a mega city that sprawls from Coolangatta to Coolum.

“We need to contain our urban footprint to 25 per cent of our region. By protecting 75 per cent of Moreton Bay from urban development, we’ll ensure we retain important, productive rural areas, greenspace and habitat for wildlife.

“If we do this, not only will we be the green belt between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, we will become the lungs of South East Queensland.

“That means limiting new greenfield housing construction, which means a serious conversation as a community about how we manage growth, and a big part of that is building up, rather than out.

“Specifically, where can we sustainably create greater density in order to provide for human population growth in order to protect the homes of native animals.”

New bins for residents

Mayor Flannery also announced residents will receive green bins for garden organics, ahead of a full-scale Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) service being rolled out, and he said Council wanted to work towards net zero carbon emissions for its operations.

“It’s time for Moreton Bay to become a 21st Century Council,” Mayor Flannery said.

“I know these are all incredibly ambitious goals, but we represent an ambitious region, so we must stretch to meet our residents’ expectations.

“I’ve repeatedly said we must learn from the mistakes of other cities, and in 2023 we will start putting that into a positive plan of action that will make Moreton Bay look and feel different to the rest of South East Queensland.

Mayor Flannery said he would be honest with the community about the challenges ahead, ensuring Council is transparent in the tough decision it has to make.

“For example, unlike other Council’s and organisations, I don’t want to just purchase carbon credits. I want us to do the hard work ourselves to make a real difference,” he explained.

“Right now, over half of our emissions come from waste, so introducing FOGO will go a long way to addressing the issue. I also want to divert 85 per cent of waste from landfills and increase our recycling rate by 70 per cent by 2040.”

State of the Region, green ambitions

Snapshot in time

Mayor Flannery said the inaugural ‘State of the Region’ address was a time to reflect on the difficulties the region has overcome but also look forward to 2023 with a sense of purpose.

“Factors like COVID, devastating floods, construction cost pressures and inflation have all put a strain on all of us over the past couple of years, but we’ve also achieved so much in that time too,” he said.

“The State of the Region outlines our roadmap for balancing economic, environmental and social priorities with a host of new ideas and initiatives to continue ‘Going Green As We Grow’.

“I’m proud that despite difficult economic conditions, our region is starting 2023 energised and with an ambitious new agenda ready to go.

“We’ve continued to smash our enrolment expectations for the region’s first university campus with an increase of around 11 per cent, which has allowed University of the Sunshine Coast to start works on their stage two expansion ahead of schedule.

“We helped secure the Dolphins’ the 17th NRL licence by being the lead investor to bring Moreton Daily stadium up to national quality, which is an investment we expect to return up to $74 million to the community per year starting from 2023.

“We managed to get the entire region’s state and federal politicians into the same room to secure $32.75 million to start works next year on a new Young’s Crossing Bridge and to solve one of the region’s longest standing infrastructure problems.

“This all ties into our plan to reclassify as a city council and our plan to direct investment away from one single central business district (CBD) by building up our existing community centres.”

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