Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot has come out firing after Premier Anna Bligh stripped the council of its planning power.

The state now controls the Caloundra South development project but the local council’s not happy.

Letisha Willocks reports.

[flashvideo file= /]


Premier Anna Bligh announced yesterday in Parliament that control of the Caloundra site would be taken off the council and handed over to a state authority.

Anna Bligh, Qld Premier: “It is our intention to declare a new urban development area at Caloundra South on the Sunshine Coast.”

She blamed the council for repeated delays and refusals to meet project deadlines.

Comments which have outraged the Sunshine Coast Mayor.

Bob Abbot, Sunshine Coast Mayor: “Now we’re being told were recalcitrant, you’ve gotta be joking, we’re bad planners, you’ve gotta be joking.”

He says the government’s stripped the community of its democratic powers and doesn’t think the state will be able to deliver.

Bob Abbot, Sunshine Coast Mayor: “We’re the only ones capable of doing it, we’ve done it and we’ve done it on behalf of the community.”

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association of Queensland has accused the Premier of pandering to developers.

Greg Hallam, CEO of the LGAQ: “This is an unprecedented and very dangerous move, where the Bligh government has done a large favour for, a, the biggest developer in Australia the Stockland Group.”

The site will provide homes for fifty thousand people over the next ten years, but local councillors fear proper infrastructure won’t be built to cater for the massive jump in population.

Anna Grosskruetz, Division 1 councillor: “The biggest issue will be about the cost of infrastructure and future infrastructure costs that may come back to the ratepayers, existing rate payers to pay for.”

But she hopes this can be resolved.

Anna Grosskruetz, Division 1 councillor: “We may be able to sort of work together as partners, instead of what seems to be, at the moment, sort of enemies.”

Letisha Willocks, QUT News.