Birkdale Progress Association looks to second century 

The Birkdale Progress Association (BPA) has been acting on behalf of the Redlands community for nearly 100 years.

In 1919, the Courier Newspaper included a reference to the BPA. The Association still has records going back to 1956 when advocacy for rail services and extension of the Cleveland line were key issues. The Association became incorporated in 1994.

Today, the BPA is still working to ensure that all levels of government consider the community interests of Birkdale and the Redlands area generally.

BPA members work together from the grassroots up

Grassroots community work in Birkdale

BPA has a record of getting things done

Over the years the Association has used its contacts at the “grassroots” to make contributions like:

  • Saving much of the Birkdale Bush in the face of development pressures
  • Submissions on the successive iterations of the Redlands Planning Scheme especially in support of conservation, koalas and the city’s livability
  • A petition seeking Australia Standard (AS) defined as requirements for all political parties and individuals seeking election into public office, this remains “an unfinished agenda” but the new State Government is moving in the right direction
  • Protesting the trend to extinction for koalas in the Redlands because of the clear failure of planning schemes to protect known koala habitat, with the recent example being the loss of 27 trees in Ormiston.
  • Creating awareness of the social and environmental issues arising from the bio-mass incinerator at Mount Cotton (The Bio-mass incinerator project will be discussed in a subsequent post on Redlands2030)
  • Following the activities of several local bushcare groups, including Birkdale Bushcare group, one of the first in the Redlands. Bushcare is a “hands on” response to environmental degradation and the bush care working bees double as great social events.

BPA advocates on behalf of the community interest

The Association meets monthly and continues as:

a group of SE Queensland residents with interest in local, state, national and international issues that affect our lives and environment”. It is an ambitious goal and over the years much has been achieved

To learn even more of the work and objectives of the Association visit the active facebook page “Birkdale Progress Association” . Reasoned comments and contributions are always welcome on any of the local, State and national issues that people in the community like to raise. Healthy debate and new contributors are always welcome.

The years of experience of the BPA shows that politicians at all levels are asked to deal with an ever-widening range of issues and they would not be human if they were across all such issues. Likewise in our time-poor society the community is challenged to deal with the complexity of modern legislation, science, development assessment processes and more generally government and governance issues.

The BPA believes there is a greater need today than ever for more “grassroots” community groups that are well organised, open to all points of views and with a standing that demands the attention of local politicians. Having access to the wide-range of skills that are “resident” in the local community is also essential.

BPA does not seek to be at odds with local representatives. The association seeks to assist local politicians to understand the issues and the implications of their actions on the local community.

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The community working together

A challenge for community groups is to reform and rebuild mechanisms for liaising with all levels of government and the respective politicians. In part this involves overcoming community apathy but also countering views of those with the means to dominate mainstream media.

The BPA is increasingly concerned that these trends threaten local values and local democracy. Past president of the Association, Don Baxter, who has worked for many years years to advance the interests of his community and the BPA, said recently:

I have never before seen a time when the community needs to be on guard against poor policy, poor planning or poor decisions. People need to join together because individually it is just too hard to keep the pollies honest.”

President of the BPA, Pam Spence, confirmed “the Association remains committed to ensuring that community interest is a high priority for local, State and Federal politicians and governments at all levels.”

She went on to say that “despite some ups and downs the Association expects to see out its first 100 years in 1919 and continue on into its second century”.

Community Action: check out the Birkdale Progress Association’s facebook page, “Like” the page if you are interested in its posts and join in the debates.

If you want to join,  contact the BPA via a Facebook Message.

 Report by Redlands2030 – 21 February 2015