I went to a rally today organised by Minnippi Against Development. They invited local candidates. I represented myself as candidate for Chatsworth and also represented Howard Nielsen as Greens candidate for Bulimba.

Independant for Bulimba, David Boehm, also came along. No sign of Labor’s Pat Purcell or Liberal’s Angela Julian-Armitage which wasn’t particularly surprising. Wouldn’t have harmed Pat too much to come along.

I gave a speech based on the following (but didn’t use it all).

Elissa’s speech:

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we rally today and I say sorry for past and continued injustice.

My name is Elissa Jenkins and although I am currently running as the Greens candidate for Chatsworth which covers the neighbouring electorate, I’m here today representing Greens candidate for Bulimba Howard Nielsen and the Bayside branch of the Qld Greens.

The first protest against the Minnippi development that I attended was on February 13, 2005.

A coalition of community and environmental groups including my Bayside Greens branch have opposed this development from word go. Why? Because of the threat it will bring to the squirrel glider colony, other vulnerable fauna and the valuable wetlands.

I cannot forget the fundamental necessity for communities to maintain and preserve green space for the pure recreational joy and visual pleasure that it provides and for the serious importance that it plays globally in respect to climate change.

And now � to add insult to injury � we’re in the midst of a water crisis and opposing a thirsty golf course in favour of satiating thirsty people.

I ask what percentage of the population plays golf? Of that, what percentage of golfers are already content with having five golf courses within 15 minutes of this proposed development? Of them, what percentage appreciate the importance of conserving our native flora and fauna?

This is not the place to have a golf course as the water golf courses drink is enormous compared to the amount of water Australia has available. The bushland that needs to be cleared to create a fairway is enormous. The silly thing about this particular golf course is that it�s being build on a floodplain with acid sulphate soil which really shouldn�t be disturbed.

Why is it that The Greens are the only party offering real solutions for this dry continent of ours? Why is there such a black spot in Labor and the Coalition’s thinking?

The Labor and Coalition parties have only old ideas. They are even suggesting mining the water aquifers on our beautiful Stradbroke and Bribie Islands. They promote the spending of a billion dollars or more building dams, pipelines and desalination plants as a quick political fix. But their policies are neither quick nor a fix.

The Greens have been urging real solutions on water policy for years � putting a real value on water resources � and there is no doubt that changes to regional climate patterns necessitate major changes to traditional methods of urban water supply. We must learn the lesson that forcing a large population into a region and outstripping that region’s resource base can spell disaster.

For 18 months I have been asking for this development not to be approved, for no future development application to be considered and for the site to be rehabilitated and conserved for its ecological values.

It should really be put on the Council�s Natural Assets Register. It really is a wonderful spot – all 125 ha of it!

This is public land designated on the Council�s Town Plan for �Sport and Recreation�. The fact that a golf course was earmarked in 1992 doesn�t mean it has to happen – especially since all the research that has been done since then.

This area features one of the largest intact freshwater wetland systems in Brisbane. Wetlands are meant to be considered high conservation grade areas. This development makes a mockery of that.

Fauna includes a dense colony of squirrel gliders, over a dozen species of bats, it is a habitat for migratory birds, home for the grey goshawk (endangered in Queensland) and the yellow-footed antechinus (a marsupial mouse).

Where’s the local leadership? If the Brisbane City Councillors can’t get it right with the environment � the state government must step in. Where is Pat Purcell today?

I just wish Cr Campbell and Pat Purcell would realise that just because we don�t see these native creatures doesn�t mean they�re not there or not important. That�s often the difficulty in Australia with trying to save our native animals – they mostly come out at night and can be easily forgotton.

Next door to us Caltibiano�s has put environmental issues in the too-hard basket � a different basket to the one in which he keeps the developer�s money.

As the Greens candidate for Chatsworth and on behalf of the Greens candidate in Bulimba I am demanding the State Government step in to ensure Minnippi is protected from local environmental mismanagement.

I am asking the Chatsworth and Bulimba communities to consider environmental leadership when casting their vote next Saturday.

Let�s not rest on our laurels and see Bulimba and Chatsworth turn into urban wastelands under Labor’s Purcell and Liberal’s Caltabiano � these areas have way too much going for them.

And if you’re worried about the Libs getting in, but still want to send a clear Green message to Labor, remember that Chatsworth and Bulimba electors can lodge a protest vote against Labor by voting 1 Greens.

A vote for The Greens is not a wasted vote. Your second choice will still count.

*Written and authorised by Elissa Jenkins, 26 Horan Street, West End, QLD 4101

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