Redland City Mayor Karen Williams will meet with yet another Federal Government MP in Canberra later this month as Council continues to try and secure the Federal Government land in Birkdale for the community.
Cr Williams told today’s Council meeting that the recent Federal Government reshuffle would mean starting from scratch with new Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance Zed Seselja who she has asked to meet with in Canberra later this month.
“This is the fifth member of parliament I will have dealt with regarding this land since we started negotiating with the government in 2015,” Cr Williams said.
“While it is frustrating to have to start the conversation again I am committed to ensuring this land is not used for housing as outlined in May’s Federal Budget.”
Cr Williams gave the commitment during today’s General Meeting where Councillors considered establishing a Community Reference Group (CRG) to decide the future use of the land.
“Council’s current intention is that the land should be retained for community use, such as educational facilities and recreation, with detailed investigations and engagement likely to proceed when Council is able to secure the land.”
Cr Williams said the priority was to ensure the land was retained for the community in a way that protects its environmental and cultural significance.
“As part of their divestment process the Federal Government is undertaking a series of studies on the land, including cultural heritage and environmental significance and we will be able to use this information during our due diligence and community consultation.
“If negotiations progress and Council determines that a CRG should be formed, it is expected that an expression of interest process would also be run to allow community members to nominate to be part of the group.”
In May the land was identified for divestment in the Federal Budget, prompting Cr Williams to lobby the Federal Government to rescind its decision and sell the property to Council off-market.
At the time Cr Williams launched a petition on Change.org which was signed by 6,000 people wanting to save the land from being used for housing.
“In May we made our feelings known when more than 6,000 people signed the petition and told the Federal Government we don’t want this land used for housing,” Cr Williams said.
“Now we have to start the conversation again and so I am urging everyone to again make their feelings known by signing the petition, so we can secure the land and then undertake the necessary consultation and studies to ultimately ensure the land is not lost to the community.”
Cr Williams said during her upcoming visit to Canberra she would also meet with Air Services Australia regarding their parcel of land adjoining the ACMA property.
The properties, currently owned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and Air Services Australia, are located at 362-388 and 392 Old Cleveland Road East, Birkdale.