Jobs impact of Toondah overstated, dishonest

Jobs claims questioned

Submission says jobs impact of Toondah and sand mining’s end are overstated by politicians – Photo: Redland City Bulletin

Claims about the employment impact of Walker Group’s proposed Toondah project are “widely overstated” and “dishonest” according to one of the 1,411 submissions opposing the project.

Jobs claims questioned

This submission says even if 500 permanent jobs were to result from the project, the extra residents would require 3,000 to 5,000 new jobs “which would be nothing less than a miracle in this dormitory shire” where most people commute out of the area for work.

Redlands2030 calculates that another 2,500 to 4,500 commuters would need the equivalent of 3-5 extra trains (both morning and evening) on the Cleveland line to avoid the community costs of over crowded trains or more road congestion.

The submission writer also says:

Attempts by the state Labor government to pitch the construction of apartments on Ramsar wetlands near Cleveland as mitigation for closure of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island are dishonest. The employment impact of ending sand mining has been regularly overstated by the mining companies and politicians of every persuasion.

“650 people in those mines” ???

Karen Williams talking about the “650 people in those mines” on Radio 612 ABC

While not specifically referenced in this submission, an example of outrageous overstatement occurred during the 2016 council election campaign.

Speaking about the end of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island, Mayor Karen Williams said on ABC radio that “650 people in those mines will have to find other ways of feeding their family and continuing their lifestyle on the Island”. The relevant portion of the interview on 29 February 2016, starts at 6:18 minutes.

But a few months later Sibelco said just 41 island residents worked in its operations on North Stradbroke Island, according to a Bulletin Report.

Karen Williams received a $5,000 donation from Sibelco in December 2015 according to her disclosure return.

Other issues discussed in the submission

As well as overstated jobs claims, the submission raises other issues including:

  • The proposed development would negatively affect the popular G.J. Walter Park
  • Construction activity and traffic will cause chaos in small suburban streets
  • Cumulative environmental impacts are being ignored by the Walker Group

Here is the full text of the submission (Document 132).

Toondah Harbour submission

Support for this project is widely overstated. No one we have spoken to supports this project. No one. People are already appalled about the poor state of the infrastructure in the Redlands, especially the roads. No one is against a sustainable redevelopment of Toondah for all of the community. The proposed development at present sits alongside JG Walter Park which is enormously popular with the Redlands community. It will negatively impact this community facility greatly. In its referral, Walker Group implies that its proposed project is widely supported by listing a number of Government plans and policies. These documents are cited in the context of a project promoted on the basis of an upgrade of the Toondah ferry and barge facilities. The rationale for the project has shifted to a massive coastal residential development of a type and scale unlikely to be considered in other Australian states.

There are no community benefits in the project as presently planned. Our roads have been increasingly congested over the past six years from massively increased housing estates in the shire, the further congestion caused by at least one thousand temporary construction workers all heading down small suburban streets and a massive increase in building supply trucks, will cause much chaos. The number of both temporary and permanent jobs for the project is often overstated in an attempt to get public support for project that are not acceptable to the community.

Even if the project were to result in the creation of 500 permanent jobs, as has been stated, the effect of building 3,600 apartments on Cleveland foreshore will increase the area’s population by double requiring a further 3,000 – 5,000 new jobs which would be nothing less than a miracle in
this dormitory shire. Even now most people commute out of the shire for work.

Attempts by the state Labor government to pitch the construction of apartments on Ramsar wetlands near Cleveland as mitigation for closure of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island are dishonest. The employment impact of ending sand mining has been regularly overstated by the mining companies and politicians of every persuasion.

The community has come to realize that the scale of the development will have significant adverse impacts on their livability, with extra traffic being funneled onto existing streets, existing infrastructure being overloaded and promised new assets being inadequate for the additional population.

The Walker Group consistently ignores concerns about the cumulative impacts of all areas of environmental impacts surrounding this ridiculous (as it presently stands) proposed project. It is appalling from every aspects and addresses nothing with regard to community benefits. The shire will be all the poorer if this project is accepted.

Name withheld (FOI decision)

22 May 2017

Other submissions about Walker Group’s EPBC referral

Submissions about Walker Group’s proposed Toondah Harbour project were obtained by Redlands2030 through a crowd funded Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The Federal Government says that in response to Walker Group’s latest EPBC referral there were 1,419 submissions – 1,411 opposing and eight supporting the project.

Other submissions about Walker Group’s proposed Toondah project are discussed in these Redlands2030 stories:

Brisbane Marketing submission on Toondah

Walker Group’s Toondah plan is unacceptable

Property Council advocates for Toondah project

AMCS says Marine Park is too valuable to risk

Infrastructure Association supports Toondah

National Parks Association Toondah submission

Straddie Chamber supports Toondah project

Don’t take Toondah treasures from us

Sealink profit up but Straddie route challenging

Redlands2030 – 25 September 2017

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2 thoughts on “Jobs impact of Toondah overstated, dishonest

  1. I agree these claims by the mayor do need checking for their validity. It seems to be a common ploy by politicians to overestimate the benefits of projects that thye support. For example, The PM and the Qld Premier have repeatedly said that the Carmichael mine to be developed in the Galilee Basin will provide 10 000 jobs. However, in the Qld Land Court, Adani apparently admitted that the number was 1500 jobs.

    We saw Campbell Newman while mayor of Brisbane really putting the spin on the economic viability of the Brisbane River tunnel. He and others supporting the tunnel claimed that 75 000 vehicles would use the tunnel per day. It seems that the range given in an official report was
    25 000 to 75 000 vehicles per day. After the tunnel was built and commissioned 25 000 vehicles use it per day. Why did the politicians opt for the maximum figure instead of the midpoint of
    50 000 vehicles per day? That still would have been grossly wrong.

    So the tunnel’s economic was questionable. Is there an agreement between any of the levels of government and the operators of the tunnel such that the taxpayer picks up the bill to make up any shortfall in expected profit? Surely this type of information should be available to taxpayers so that they can decide whether they want to support a project or not.

    This is just one of the many tricks that governments use to move public debt from the liabilities to the assets column and create the impression that government is reducing public debt. To what standard of honesty should we hold our political leaders and representatives to? I would think that it has to be a great deal higher than what it currently is. We need to use our votes more wisely than we have to date because these problems are not limited to one political party as evidenced by the movement of retired politicians to cushy jobs in the private companies in the resources sector, e.g. John Anderson (National Party to Eastern Star acquired by Santos -Cold Seam Gas), Ian Macfarlane (LNP) – appointed CEO of Qld Resources Council 2016 currently listed as a director), Craig Emerson (ALP – economic consultant clients include Santos and AGL), Greg Combet (ALP – economic consultant clients include Santos and AGL), Martin Ferguson (ALP- Chairman of the Advisory Board of Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association since 2015 (source: Murray & Frijters 2017 Game of Mates).

    Yes we have to hold our politicians to a higher standard of honesty because they are supposed to represent the people’s interests over that over corporations. The evidence, in my opinion, clearly shows that many have conflicts of interests and consistently favour corporations’ interests rather than ours, albeit they give it a twist to say that what is in the best interests of the corporations is in our best interests also.

    What surprises does the mayor and her supporters have for we ratepayers with the Toondah Harbour Project? What is the council committing the rate payers to? How much is it going to cost the rate payers of Redlands? What are the social and environmental impacts of the Toondh Harbour Project on Redland residents? We need to use our vote more wisely and hold our representatives accountable for their actions. Remind them that they are answerable to the voters and not corporations.

  2. You have to wonder at Steve Austin’s research capacity, letting the Mayor got away with statements that were not substantiated. He was or should have been aware of the way the job figures were being manipulated. At the time he didn’t even seem aware that the whole project had grown by 450% since his previous interview. He seemed to think that was unremarkable!

    Why has Steve Austin taken his eye off the ball on Toondah issues?