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Sunshine Coast environmentalists condemn sham population debate

According to the Sunshine Coast Environment Council, the so called "Great Growth Debate" hosted by the Property Council of Australia in Brisbane on Friday 5 March 2010 was rigged in advanced to come out in favour the the continuation of "Business as Usual" rampant population growth that so suited its own members' interests at the expense of the broader community and our environment.

The earlier 'debates' hosted by the Courier-Mail in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast proved to be no less one sided. I intend to cover them in another article. Below, I include the media release from the Sunsine Coast Environment Council. The media release predated the Property Council forum. Please visit links for some media coverage of the discussion.

Sunshine Coast Environment Council Media Release, 4 March 2010 -

Property Council Population "debate" has a Predictable Outcome

The Property Council is holding their "The Great Growth Debate" on Friday 5th March. It is being billed as a symposium on new ideas and solutions to managing Queensland's burgeoning growth rate. This is a veiled attempt to disguise its continued lobbying of the State government to release more land, reduce infrastructure charges and minimise the requirements for valid environmental assessments and protections.

For the developers, there is no "debate" -- just their predictable mantra of encouraging population growth at any cost. Ensuring the greatest yield of their significant land holdings to reap the greatest profit with no consideration of the ecological or social impacts of their decisions and actions remains their agenda.
Narelle McCarthy, Manager of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council believes this is further demonstration of the Property Council's "business as usual" approach of enthusiastically embracing and encouraging the burgeoning population rate to drive up the profits for a small minority. "However," Ms McCarthy said "the communities are the ones who bear the detrimental effects of unfettered population growth. Loss of biodiversity, loss of open space, increased traffic congestion, increasing stress and social dysfunction are just some of the compounding and irreversible impacts. Population growth does not equate to economic prosperity or housing affordability. The SEQ Regional Plan has mandated another 98,000 dwellings be built on the Sunshine Coast thus ensuring a windfall for the developers but condemning the local community to a much degraded lifestyle".

From this orchestrated debate, the Property Council will provide a plan to the Premier's own growth management summit to be held at the end of March. This plan will predictably continue to echo their unjustified call for greater land releases and increased concessions to the development industry. So will the Premier accept the advice of the profit motivated vested interests of a few or the majority of her constituents calling on the government to limit the region's population growth?
To support the views and increased understanding of the community in how it can influence all levels of government in addressing the problems of SEQ's unsustainable population growth, the SEQ Conservation Groups are holding a free community forum on Sunday 14th March at the 2:00pm at the Lake Kawana Community Centre, Bokarina. The entire community is urged to participate in determining the future of the Sunshine Coast and SEQ at this critical juncture.

Originally published on 4 Mar 10 on scec.org.au. See also: Great growth debate slammed (based on this media release) by Bill Hoffman in the Sunshine Coast Daily of 5 Mar 10, Aussie growing pains by Sue Lappman in the Gold Coast News of 6 Mar 10 (includes Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese's witty and imaginative quip: "I think Dick Smith should stay out of people's bedrooms."), Dick Smith Joins the Great Growth Debate on the Australian Property Council Web side, "The Great Growth Debate" program (pdf 2.8MB).

What you can do

Attend public forums against population Growth.

Brisbane: 8:30AM - 12:30PM, Saturday 13 March,
Queensland Museum Theatre, South Bank.
Cost $10. Phone Queensland Conservation Council on (07) 32297992.

Sunshine Coast: 2:00PM-4:30PM, Sunday 14 March,
Lake Kawana Community Centre, Bokarina.
Cost FREE. See brochure below.

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