Redland City’s “cunning plan”

As cunning as a fox...

As cunning as a fox…

Redland City Council’s draft Economic Development Strategy is like a “cunning plan” from  Blackadder and Baldrick. It is a plan to do nothing.

A well made strategy should:

  1. Identify competitive advantages and available opportunities
  2. Select strategic directions and choose how to use scarce resources
  3. Set specific and measurable objectives.

The Redland City Council’s draft strategy does none of these things.

A strategy to set up a committee

The Council’s draft strategy proposes just one specific initiative which is to set up an Economic Development Committee. Setting up a committee is the thing that you do when you can’t think of anything clever to do. The side benefits of this idea are that it is easy and cheap. Local bigwigs will line up for a chance to get a seat at the table.  They will probably do it for peanuts. Council obviously knows that the appearance of activity is easier to achieve than the real thing.

Redlands 2030 Community Plan

Redlands 2030 Community Plan

The draft Economic Development Strategy is much less focused than the Redlands 2030 Community Plan, published in 2010. The Community Plan set out goals such as:

  1. Supportive business infrastructure including high speed broadband and good transport
  2. New office space and commercial facilities
  3. Providing people with employment opportunities close to where they live
  4. Building on regional advantages (climate, environment and lifestyle) to attract people
  5. Providing quality education at all levels
  6. Development of eco-tourism
  7. Development of innovative and creative enterprises, including visual and performance arts

A serious economic development strategy would seek to deliver real progress in achieving such goals.

Measuring economic development

A well designed strategic plan has specific objectives with performance measures that provide useful feedback . It is more effective to measure what you can influence, rather than measuring things that are largely outside your control. If the objectives and measures are chosen carefully, people will be soon able to find out if the strategy is working.

The Council’s draft strategy is vague and wishful. It mentions four “growth measures” but does not explain why these measures are relevant to the draft economic development strategy. They are measures of output, rather than effort so it is unlikely that they will provide useful feedback.

% change in GRP - Redlands (click to enlarge)

% change in GRP – Redlands
(click to enlarge)

One of the proposed “growth measures” is to have a long term annual average growth in Gross Regional Product (GRP) of 3.0%. GRP is a general measure of economic activity that will be influenced by the global, Australian and Queensland economies. Actions (or inaction) by the Redland City Council will have very little influence on GRP. The attached chart (sourced from shows past volatility of the Redlands GRP including a big dip following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

The Council’s draft strategy suggests that we should have population growth of 1.2% per year. The document notes that population growth is good for the residential construction sector. It does not explain why 1.2% is the growth rate that Redlands has to have. There is a need for detailed analysis of population growth trends and the environmental impacts of ongoing residential development. Then we can have a sensible discussion about what might be a sustainable rate of population growth in the Redlands.

By way of comparison, the more specific  measures of economic development put forward in the Redlands2030 Community Plan were:

  1. The number and types of jobs available in the Redlands
  2. The number of businesses attracted here
  3. The number of tertiary education opportunities available locally

So the Baldrick Award for a “cunning plan” goes to…


“I have a cunning plan”

The people who prepared a draft Economic Development Strategy which is confusingly simple and/or simply confusing but definitely not a useful plan for improving the Redlands economy.

So that we can see who deserves to share this “Baldrick Award”, Council should answer these questions:

  1. Who was engaged to prepare this document, and why?
  2. What were their instructions and terms of reference?
  3. Who authorized the release of such a half baked document?

We need a real Economic Development Strategy

We encourage the community to read Council’s Draft Economic Development Strategy and make constructive suggestions for improvement. You can do this by commenting below.

We also encourage people to take advantage of the limited consultation opportunities at three community forums in late July 2014.

People must book tickets on-line if they wish to attend.

Session 1 – Capalaba Library, Thursday 24 July 2014, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm

Session 2 – Cleveland Library, Saturday 26 July 2014, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm

Session 3 – Victoria Point Library, Thursday 31 July from 6:00 to 7:00 pm

Further information about the draft Economic Development Strategy (and opportunities for providing feedback) can be found on Council’s webpage for City Plan 2015.

For comparison, have a look at the Economic Development Strategy recently published by the Bayside Council in Melbourne’s southern suburbs. It is an 80 page pdf document with file size of about 10MB.


Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email

6 thoughts on “Redland City’s “cunning plan”

  1. the draft Economic Development Strategy is a retrograde step in political “channeling”. It is suitably vague and ambiguous so that the politicians can do whatever they like and it still, sort of, appears to accord with the strategy. The Strategy provides no clear guidance to the business community about where they should invest or focus. The Strategy provides no guidance for the Planning Scheme – the main vehicle for Council to implement many economic policies. The previous Community Plan was a much more rigorous document tested against a broad range of inputs from the community.This document appears to be prepared after a long lunch with the public relations firm. The Community Plan had measurable and quantifiable targets. Why should we put up with the latest round of vague political spin presented to us as a purported policy document to guide economic development in Redlands ? This is the sort of document prepared by rural local councils’ in the 90’s – embarassing.

    • Peter sadly when you look at the quality of the Williams Will team, they are connected with Councillors from the 90’s or think like them
      Julie Talty daughter of Ex Cr John Burns found to have received money from a developer, did not declare it and then amended conditions to benefit the developer, banned from Council for 3 months
      Mark Edwards son in law of ex Cr Frank Bradley from the 90’s
      Alan Beard was a Councilor in the 90’s still living the dream
      Lance Hewlett brother In law to ex Cr Peter Dowling, his conduct has been splashed over the media
      Ms Hardman the silent non thinker
      Paul Gleeson sold his soul

      Williams is the clone of Seccombe, another thinker from the 90’s

  2. The so-called Economic Development Strategy is done in a bubble. It is poorly linked to other policies, and has no link to the Community Plan, no link to the Regional Development Australia Roadmap; no link to fringe centres (like Carindale, Loganholme, Mount Gravatt or Manly), and just a passing reference to NSI and SMBI.

    Confused and confusing terminology with goals, objectives, outcomes used in different ways.

    Seems to be not much more than a plan to plan (i.e. outcomes said to be a Committee and sector Action Plans!)…hope it didn’t cost too much!

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