Protecting The Sunshine Coast’s World-Class Natural Environment
Our region’s appeal is its lifestyle and our outstanding natural assets. It is why I chose to live here and why many others have done likewise. I recently struggled to name my favourite place on the Sunshine Coast because we have so much to choose from. What a fantastic challenge to have – and one that we should never take for granted.
As your Mayor, I have taken seriously our Council’s responsibilities for nurturing our environment and ensuring that our natural assets and rich biodiversity remain a defining feature of our region.
Protecting our beaches, foreshores and bushland and moving to a clean-energy environment have been a major priority for me as your Mayor and this will continue to be the case if I am re-elected on March 19.
We have achieved some great things in the last four years for our environment. One which I am particularly proud of is the expansion of our conservation lands using the Environment Levy. Under my leadership, our Council has expanded its environment estate by a further 16% – more than 460 hectares – and more land is currently being acquired.
This provides a fantastic legacy – for us now and our children in the longer term.
We have also expanded our award winning environmental programs, like Land for Wildlife and committed heavily to rehabilitating our coastal dunes and managing shoreline erosion. This keeps our beaches and waterways accessible and available for local residents and tourists and protects natural ecosystems in the coastal landscape. This is an important part of the work that I have supported as your Mayor and which I look forward to continuing.
But the job is not over and I am determined to strengthen our region’s environmental credentials even further.
First and foremost, I want to get a firm commitment from the State Government to protect our inter-urban break – or green belt – between the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay. This extends from the Pumicestone Passage right through to the Glass House Mountains and really defines our region from the rest of south east Queensland.
I am also committed to ensuring that appropriate development occurs in the right areas – principally in our Enterprise Corridor from the Sunshine Coast Airport to Caloundra South. This is why we put the Enterprise Corridor in the Planning Scheme in the first place – to define the location for where more than 90% of our population growth will be living and working in the next 20 years.
There are many more initiatives I will pursue to protect and nurture our environment – like increasing our conservation estate by a further 10%; expanding our environmental programs; working with the community to improve the health of our waterways; and examining whether we should seek a UNESCO Biosphere designation for the Pumicestone Passage, the inter-urban break, the Glass House Mountains and the Blackall Range.
I will also deliver Council’s solar farm – which will mean by this time next year, our Council will be offsetting 100% of its electricity use with solar energy. We will be the only government in Queensland that can claim this position.
I am determined we get the balance right on our Sunshine Coast, with more job opportunities, vibrant communities and an environment that is second to none. What a fantastic place to live and raise a family.