Save Our Spit - History
The Spit Media Archives compiled by Lyn Wright of Main Beach reveals that developers have been eying off The Spit for private, commercial and industrial constructions since 1961.
A Sydney-based corporation proposes "another Surfers Paradise" on The Spit involving land-filling "a major part of the Broadwater" for the construction of "Pacific City". The proposal included high-density beachfront apartments, motels, "holiday houses" and a shopping centre. (GCB 1966).
The first headlines "Save Our Spit" appeared in the local newspaper in February 1968 after a public meeting to oppose the construction of a mineral sands jetty and industrial complex with heavy trucks carrying dredged mineral sands through Main Beach and causing the "desecration of The Spit". (GCB 1968)
"Residents... through-out the coast are adamant that the Spit should be parkland for people for all time... Coast expansion is rapidly outstripping its practical capacity to service it and one day, developers will move on and leave residents of houses and units suffering the traffic chaos, noise, smells and water pollution...
Fighting to keep for future generations, our remaining open spaces, is our responsibility... Your support is needed to preserve the quality of life this wonderful area [Spit] deserves, before rapacity of the dollar seekers destroys it."
(Concerned Residents Committee - letter to all Council candidates, 1982)
The sudden death of the National Party MP for the Queensland seat of Southport, Doug Jennings, at age 57. Jennings fought for many years within the Bjelke-Peterson government and on behalf of the Gold Coast Community to protect and preserve The Spit and Broadwater as public open space, parkland and waterways
A 12 hectare park on the northern end of The Spit is dedicated to Doug Jennings by Queensland Premier, Mike Ahern.
Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, announces the Labor Government's intention to attract Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to construct new cruise ship terminals (CST) in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast.
Main Beach businesswomen, Terre de Martini and Lyn Wright, secure 92.3ha of beachfront crownland on The Spit as a reserve for park and environmental beach preservation. The area is now named, Federation Walk Coastal Reserve.
Ex-Qld National Party secretary lobbies the Qld. Labor Govt. to allow him to construct a CST on the Gold Coast Spit in return for being given several hectares of Doug Jennings Park for the construction of private residential highrise apartments, hotels and commercial developments.
Premier Beattie calls for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for PPPs to build a CST in the Gold Coast Seaway as part of a Gold Coast Marine Development Project (GCMDP). Various unscrupulous consortia submit EOIs.
The heritage listed (2001) John Humphreys Boat Shed on The Spit is damaged by a deliberately lit fire in 2004 and demolished in 2005.
Lois Levy OAM of Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council (Gecko) initiates public meetings to inform the community about the impacts of cruise ports and the potential loss of public parks, waterways and beaches on The Spit and Broadwater.
Between 2002 and 2005, a series of deliberately lit fires occur, beginning on the northern end of The Spit, gradually being lit further south as each new area of The Spit is burnt. These fires occur at a time when the Gold Coast Council's 'major projects director' announces his proposal to improve The Spit and Broadwater by selling off four 5ha parcels of oceanfront land on The Spit north of Sheraton Mirage to international hotel consortia.
Following the Gecko community meetings, the Save Our Spit Alliance (SOS) is formed. SOS members elect the founding office bearers and become an Incorporated Association in Qld. Shona Pinkerton of Devocean Dive is elected the inaugural SOS President.
Several Community Information Meetings held at Albert Waterways Hall, Broadbeach. Pop-up displays by SOS, Gecko, Wildlife Preservation Qld. Sea Shepherd, Surfrider Foundation, Dive and Surf Schools etc and documentary films revealing the 500+ species of marine life categorised by Qld Museum as inhabiting the Seaway and Broadwater. Seaway dive footage is also provided to local TV News departments by local diver Ian Banks and screened in the nightly news.
Local graphic artist, John Wayne, designs the classic "Save Our Spit - No Terminal" logo-image for bumper stickers, T-shirts, wrist bands, banners & posters.
Image of original logo & artwork
The first Save Our Spit Rally is held in Doug Jennings Park. Over 3000 people attend - residents, divers, boaties, fishers, surfers, visitors and families.
Murdoch print media describes the rally as:
"Rat bag hysteria hold...Nuremberg rally at the Spit this weekend"
SOS and Gecko host a People and Parks Day on The Spit parks, beach and in the Seaway. 2500+ people attend - 'Spit and Broadwater' children's art display; dive and surf lessons; North End Boardriders 'A' Grade surf competition; live music; Tai Chi classes etc. A mock trial is also held, "People vs Government & Developers".
Qld Coordinator General meets with Gold Coast Community groups and unsuccessfully tries to 'bribe' them into accepting the CST in return for the Qld Govt. offering some picnic tables, BBQs and dive steps in compensation for the destruction of world class inshore dive sites and surfing locations; and the loss of 3-5 hectares of Doug Jennings Park to private developments.
Deputy Premier, Anna Bligh, after supposedly being 'ambushed' (local news report) by SOS President, Steve Gration, at a media conference on The Spit, she passes the Government commissioned 'Navigational Safety Simulation Report' to SOS.
Marina and Port developer, Angus Macleod, assists SOS to analyse the 'Navigational Safety Simulation Report' for docking cruise ships in the Seaway. Huge flaws are revealed in the report that claims ships of all sizes could safely enter, dock and depart from the Gold Coast Seaway in almost all weather conditions. In fact, Macleod and SOS uncover that the meteorological input data for winds speeds, waves & swell heights and directions are all underscored and not applicable to Gold Coast ocean and weather conditions. SOS reveals that on most days in most conditions it is not safe for cruise vessels to use the Seaway as a cruise port.
SOS representatives meet Billabong International CEO to discuss the SOS campaign.
Qld Crime and Misconduct Commission begin 'Operation Grande' investigation into corruption of the 2004 Gold Coast Council elections. Mayoral candidate, Tom Tate, is interviewed and a lawyer he 'knows a little bit' is charged and convicted as a result of the investigation.
SOS President and supporters have an informal coffee shop meeting with Premier Beattie at Robina Centre in front of numerous print, radio and TV media reps. Beattie threatens the SOS President with 'defamation' when he refuses to answer SOS questions regarding the nature of his dealings with developers. The Premier's threat generates local and national media attention for the SOS campaign.
Save Our Spit Alliance wins a Gecko Silver Award for their campaign to Protect the Environment.
Save Our Spit website is developed by Main Beach resident, Phil Hoile, who is also a local surfer.
SOS holds a "Mutiny on the Broadwater Rally" on The Spit and Seaway. 3000+ people attend in Doug Jennings Park and 60 boats and kayaks, 100 surfers and 50 divers congregate in the Seaway.
SOS stages a media stunt that attracts National and International news coverage. 'Actors' dressed as Deputy Premier Anna Bligh and Premier Beattie are made to walk the plank off a boat anchored in the Seaway. If they float to the surface, the cruise terminal will go ahead and if they sink, the cruise terminal proposal is sunk. Bligh and Beattie do not re-surface.
The actors were wearing weight belts under their costumes and local divers were ready on the Seaway floor with air tanks for the actors; hence Bligh and Beattie do not re-surface.
Local GP, Dr Alex Douglas, speaks at the rally and is supportive of the Save Our Spit campaign and later runs for State Parliament as a National Party candidate in a by-election for the Gold Coast seat of Gaven, held at the time by Labor. Dr Douglas wins the by-election.
SOS passes on the flawed Navigational Report to the media including Karen Berkman at ABC TV Stateline program who run a program revealing the misinformation and flawed methodology in the Navigational report.
SOS speaks at a number of Labor, Liberal, Green and National Party branches and meets with Federal Labor Senators Ludwig and Moore and Federal LNP MP Ciobo.
SOS reps are invited to speak in many Gold Coast Primary and Secondary schools and to address Brisbane schools on field excursions at The Spit.
SOS presents a hardcopy Petition to State Parliament opposing the CST and private developments on The Spit. It is the largest petition in Queensland history with 38,000 signatures.
Griffith University Coastal Management researcher, Neil Lazarow releases a draft of his 'Socio-economic study of recreational surfing on Gold Coast, Queensland' that reveals surfing in 2006 contributes $126 - 233 per annum to the Gold Coast economy. Surf beaches on The Spit and South Stradbroke Island contribute 25% of that economic benefit.
A 4-page feature article "Spit Fight" outlining the SOS campaign by respected Qld author and journalist, Matthew Condon, in Q-Weekend magazine.
SOS host a world expert on the International cruise industry, Canadian Professor Ross Klein, at an SOS Media Conference and Business Breakfast. The following day Klein is to speak at a 'Spit Fighters Rally'.
On the morning of the rally, headlines announce that the Queensland Government has abandoned the GCMDP aka cruise terminal and commercial developments on The Spit and Seaway - "Spit cruise plan sunk!"
DP Bligh states that she sank the controversial plan, "due to shortcomings revealed in the project's environmental impact study - economic feasibility and navigational issues... the project didn't stack up and will not be re-visited."
The "Spit Fighters Rally" becomes a celebration with 3000+ attending on The Spit. In addition to Klein, the National Party MP for Gaven, Dr Alex Douglas, speaks at the rally in support of the Save Our Spit campaign and the retention of The Spit in perpetuity.
Save Our Spit Alliance receives Gecko Gold Award for the Spit Campaign.
Australian Financial Review feature article "Queensland's New Green Money Machine" by Lisa Allen documents the SOS campaign and Save Our Foreshore campaign in Airlie Beach, Nth Qld.
SOS successfully defeats a Bligh Government proposal to privatise the Marine Stadium (Bum's Bay) for residential apartments and marinas on The Spit when the project is dropped by the Qld Government.
2007 - 2012
SOS fight and successfully oppose various attempts by local and foreign developers and entrepreneurial cowboys to construct a film horizon tank (a rehash of a 1997 proposal), private residential highrises, theme park rides, a giant lifesaver statue, private marinas and other bizarre proposals for The Spit and Broadwater.
On the eve of being elected, after three previous failed attempts, Gold Coast Mayoral candidate, Tom Tate, announces on social media his intention to construct a 'small cruise ship terminal' inside the Broadwater on the western side of The Spit at 'no cost to ratepayers.'
SOS repositions itself from being predominantly a 'protest group' to being a 'Research, Education and Information Dissemination" organisation under the acronym SOSA.
SOSA establishes a 'Save Our Spit Alliance' Facebook page as a platform for publishing news articles, videos and photos to inform the public, grow support for the campaign and to counter the misinformation and development industry bias in local commercial print and TV media.
SOSA creates a 'Research Library' on the homepage of its website for public access to its past and new research articles related to Spit and Broadwater tourism, economic and environmental issues; and technical analyses critiquing Government and Council statements, reports and decisions.
SOSA establishes a YouTube channel for posting TV news and current affairs programs and original SOSA documentary films regarding The Spit and Broadwater.
Local graphic artist, Paul Everest, creates a retro-style image and logo for the Save Our Spit campaign with a surfer standing on a beach in front of bulldozers, reminiscent of the man standing in front of military tanks during the Tiananmen Square protests in China. This is pertinent given the increasing interest from Chinese National developers backed by the Chinese Government and supported by the new Gold Coast Mayor in acquiring the southern Broadwater and Spit for a CST and private commercial developments. The image creates much public debate in print and TV news media.
Singapore based and Australian owned Sembawang Engineering Co. puts in a bid to the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) to build a mega-resort city, marinas and a CST on public parks and waterways in a complete takeover of Wavebreak Island the Broadwater.
Big Paddle Out Poster
- Luke Sorensen
- Jan 19, 2012
South African born developer, Bob Ells, proposes a CST, marinas and private apartments on public beaches at Tugun - North Kirra. SOSA assists, Save Our Southern Beaches Alliance (SOSBA), a newly formed community group to fight the proposal.
Mayor Tate visits China with property developers and his 'long standing' lawyer/developer friend, Tony Hickey. Tate returns with an obscure Chinese Government connected 'business incubator', ASF China Group, as a prospective developer of his CST in the Broadwater.
GCCC announce ASF China's proposal to construct a mega-resort and residential city for foreigners, in addition to private marinas and a CST on Wavebreak Island in a takeover of the entire southern Broadwater and The Spit for the euphemistically named 'Broadwater Marine Project' (BMP).
The Newman/Seeney QLD LNP are elected to State Government replacing the Bligh Labor Government.
World surfing Pro, Mick Fanning publicly backs the Save Our Spit campaign.
SOSA are handed Gold Coast Council reports (ratepayer funded) that have been deliberately hidden from the media and public but accessed through a Right to Information (RTI) request by local marine biologist, Simon Kerville.
The hidden reports reveal that the economic, marine habitat, ecological, environmental and public open space values of the Broadwater are worth $2.3 billion to the Gold Coast. SOSA passes on the reports to the media and generate front page headlines "The secret study Council didn't want you to know about."
Save Our Spit rally in Doug Jennings Park attracts National TV news attention. 3000+ people attend. Many of the young adults in attendance were students SOSA reps spoke to in primary and secondary schools during SOSA's 2005-2007 campaign.
Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) is re-established by the State Government after the previous developer-driven GCWA had been disbanded in 1991.
LNP State Government enter a 'joint venture' with GCCC for a BMP, making 100 hectares of The Spit, Wavebreak & Broadwater available to ASF China in a secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) discovered by SOSA.
Hickey Lawyers are named on the ASF website as a BMP 'project partner' in the ASF China consortium.
SOSA receives a letter from Hickey Lawyers threatening 'defamation' litigation for a SOSA Facebook and web article "Grand Theft Land". SOSA is offered the pro-bono services of an experienced defamation lawyer and respond with a note to Hickey Lawyers, 'we'll see you in court.'. The defamation suit does not proceed.
LNP Government announces the availability of 4 new gaming (casino) licences in Qld including on the Gold Coast.
ASF China abandons their BMP process with the GCCC and enters an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process with State Government for their original CST/Resort city proposal on Wavebreak Island inclusive of a casino licence under the State's new Integrated Resort Development (IRD) process.
Luke Sorensen and SOSA win a prestigious MACCA - South East Queensland Media award for 'Best Social Media Campaign'.
LNP State Government announces that the ASF China Casino consortium is selected as the 'possible proponent' for the IRD project from a short list of 4 consortia.
SOSA research reveals ASF China and two of its major consortium partners (People's Republic of China engineering companies) have serious probity issues i.e.
- ASF are embroiled in a major fraud case in NSW Supreme Court
- ASF independent auditor issues warning that ASF may soon become financially unviable
- China State engineering co's are debarred from World Bank funded projects for 8 years for bribery of Local Government officials, tender price fixing and fraud on Philippine National Road projects.
- China State engineering co's are involved in constructing the illegal military islands in the South China Sea
SOSA furnishes the information to Premier Newman, DP Seeney and senior public servants at a Gold Coast Community Cabinet.
SOSA research exposes that the head of the State Government appointed probity investigators, Price Coopers Waterhouse (PwC), who strangely did not find and/or care about any of the above probity issues with ASF, was at the time on the Qld LNP Executive and a Liberal fundraiser for the Newman State and Abbott Federal election campaigns in 2012. The PwC 'conflicts of interest' are enormous.
Soon after ASF are cleared by the PwC probity investigation and ASF are named by State Government as the 'possible proponents' for the IRD project, PwC are named as 'project partners' in the ASF China Casino consortium.
ASF falsely claim in official correspondence to the ASX that they are 'preferred proponents' for the IRD project and their share price goes up.
SOSA research exposes that in 2013, SHAC Communications owned by development industry lobbyist Simone Holzapfel (who resigned from a Council job in the Mayoral office to represent ASF China) is bankrupt, owing creditors $430,000 including $355,000 to the ATO. At the same time Holzapfel has donated $114,000 in 12 allotments to the Liberal Fed MP, Stuart Robert's political campaign slush fund, Fadden Forum. SOSA pass information to a journalist at The Australian and it generates front page headlines.
SOSA creates a media bites video, "Stuart Robert Greatest Hits".
Save the Spit and Gecko hold a "Grand Theft Wavebreak" Rally at Broadwater Parklands. 2500+ attend to oppose ASF's misinformation and their obvious 'collaboration' with elements within the Gold Coast Council.
TRACKS surfing magazine (July 2014 edition) runs a 3-page feature article, "Spitting Chips" by Kurt Owers, covering the Save Our Spit Alliance's battle with Mayor Tate, ASF China and the State Government over the proposed cruise ship terminal.
SOSA President and Treasurer appear as the first witnesses to give evidence in the Commonwealth Government of Australia Senate Committee Inquiry into "Queensland Government Administration Related to Commonwealth Government Affairs".
SOSA presents evidence regarding the 'duplicity' of a senior public servant in the Dpt. of State Development and his relationship to the Gaming Industry, ASF China casino consortium and their dubious financial situation and his relationship to supposed probity investigators, PwC and the People's Republic of China.
SOSA and Gecko host a "Tell the Truth - meet the candidates" public gathering prior to the 2015 State election. The Qld LNP sitting members and candidates refuse to attend.
Prior to the State election, Save the Spit and Gecko hold a "Claim the Broadwater" Rally on Wavebreak Island. 800+ make the journey to Wavebreak Island on kayaks & SUP and on over 100 boats and watercraft. SOSA and Gecko read a 'Proclamation of Guardianship' over Wavebreak Island that declares the island must remain in public hands. The State Leader of Opposition, Anastasia Palaszczuk attends and announces that if Labor is elected to government, they will abandon the ASF China proposal for Wavebreak, Spit and Broadwater.
The Qld LNP loses the State election to Labor who win government and keep their promise to abandon the ASF China IRD proposal on the Gold Coast.
The defeated LNP's newly appointed opposition leader declares, "Had the LNP been re-elected, we were only weeks away from approving the ASF China Casino consortium IRD proposal."
ASF China put in a new proposal to build highrise casinos, hotels and residential apartments on crownland on The Spit, south of Seaworld that is zoned for 3 storey height limits.
SOSA reps meet Labor Minister Lynham for State Development (DSD) at Parliament House to expose the probity issues with ASF, PwC and the duplicity of a senior public servant who previously worked with LNP DP Seeney on the ASF China proposal and who now works for Labor Minister Lynham.
On 21 November in mid-30 degree heat, a large bushfire in Federation Walk Coastal Reserve on The Spit causes the evacuation of Sea World theme park and resort. The fire forces Queensland Police Service to declare an emergency situation in the area at 11:00am. At the fire's peak, water-bombing helicopters were brought in to assist with up to 13 Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) ground crews.
And the fire was brought under control.
Later, QFES and QPS confirm that the fire was deliberately lit at two ignition points on the northern end of the Federation Walk Coastal Reserve. One week after The Spit fire that burnt 30ha of parkland, Mayor Tate announces his idea for the construction of an 'oceanside cruise ship terminal' (OCST) at Philip Park on The Spit.
SOSA Vice President, Luke Sorensen, wins the highest media honour, a prestigious MACCA - South East Queensland Media award for 'Media Excellence', after also winning MACCA awards for 'Best Magazine Feature Story' and 'Best Sports Photo' on the same evening.
Luke Sorensen wins the Golden Tailed Gecko Award for his Save Our Spit campaign work.
SOSA President, Dr Steve Gration, wins a Jewelled Gecko Award for his second decade of Services to the Gold Coast environment and community.
Dpt of State Development holds a community information day at Southport regarding the ASF China casino Spit proposal. It is revealed by members of SOSA, Gecko and the recently formed Save Our Broadwater group that one of the information stalls endorsed by the DSD, is being run by a fake community group 'Better Our Spit' by Young LNP members on behalf of ASF China and funded and assisted by ASF China through the development lobbyist, Simone Holzapfel of SHAC Communications.
SOSA reps. meet with Premier Palaszczuk and Director General of Dpt of Ports at a Gold Coast Community Cabinet. SOSA presents them with written submissions requesting the State Government to begin a community-driven Spit and Broadwater Master Plan process and to extend the existing Moreton Bay Marine Park boundary further south to include the Seaway, Wavebreak and Curlew Islands. SOSA also furnishes the DG of Ports with technical information revealing the engineering and navigational safety flaws in the CST proposals currently before them.
SOSA sets up a Twitter account.
SOSA VP Darren Crawford assists in the Save the Wave Coalition's successful application for World Surfing Reserve status, driven by local surf identity Andrew McKinnon. The Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve is a 16 km stretch of coastline from Burleigh Point in the north to Snapper Rocks on the Queensland/New South Wales border and all the central breaks in between.
At a 'meet the candidates debate' prior to the 2016 Qld Local Government elections, Mayor Tom Tate (or his twin) "rejects" himself and contradicts his previously recorded statements that "an oceanside cruise ship terminal is not viable" when he now goes to the election spruiking the supposed merits of an OCST.
Tom Tate is re-elected as Mayor of the Gold Coast. Controversy surrounds secret and undeclared political party donations of $30,000 from Stuart Robert's Fadden Forum campaign slush fund to supposed 'independent' Council candidates and Tate running his campaign funds illegally (Qld Electoral Act) through private bank accounts.
In the Federal Senate chamber - Canberra, the Queensland Greens Senator, Larissa Waters, discusses the long-term Save Our Spit campaign by the Gold Coast community and exposes the backroom deals being done by ASF China (political donations) to try and win favour with the Qld LNP and Qld Labor parties.
The Qld Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) initiate the Belcarra Investigation into 'corruption risks in Queensland Local Government elections'.
Operation Belcarra Report 2017
SOSA meet with the acting Minister for Ports and pass on documents revealing the lies, misinformation and missing information in the GCCC's "Matters of National Environmental Significance" submission to the Federal Government under the EPBC Act in relation to the GC Mayor's OCST proposal for Philip Park on The Spit.
SOSA forwards a detailed file of evidence regarding the dubious processes and risks surrounding ASF China's casino proposal and the Mayor's cruise ship proposal to Peter McCutcheon of the ABC 7.30 program.
The Labor State Government announces the cancellation of the highrise casino proposal on The Spit. Following the announcement, Premier Palaszczuk shares front page headlines and photo with a very happy Save Our Spit President, Dr Steven Gration.
ABC journalist, Peter McCutcheon passes SOSA's research/evidence files to Mark Willacy at ABC TV 4 Corners who use them as the basis for filming, "All That Glitters". This full length national TV program exposes the Gold Coast's underbelly and potential corruption in relation to Chinese developers, cruise ship terminals, casinos and Gold Coast City Council. SOSA President, Dr Gration is interviewed for the program.
Hickey Lawyers, on behalf of Tom Tate, initiate defamation proceedings against ABC 4 Corners and journalist Mark Willacy and GC Councillor Peter Young.
Mayor Tate reaffirms his commitment to constructing an Oceanside Cruise Ship Terminal (OCST) on Philip Park on The Spit with a jetty jutting 1 kilometre directly out to sea into the Pacific Ocean to host "214 cruise ship visits a year". He claims it will be at "no cost to ratepayers" and then commissions PwC (major partners with the disgraced ASF China consortium) to conduct a ratepayer funded $850,000 'Business Feasibility Study'.
At the end of 2017, total costs of Council funded cruise terminal studies and Council staff time is estimated to be $12.5 million.
SOSA members take a guided research tour of the Port of Brisbane (PoB) and the new all weather mega-cruise ship terminal being constructed at Luggage Point in the Brisbane River.
The State Government announces the start of a Spit Master Plan process to be conducted by Minister Cameron Dick and the Dpt of State Development in a community-led process.
The Qld Labor Party is re-elected to State Government with a clear majority.
Gold Coast Council refuse to sign an MOU to participate in the Spit Master Plan process in partnership with the State Government, Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) and community stakeholders, unless Tate's OCST is placed on the agenda for discussion.
SOSA reps begin participation in an 18 month Spit Master Plan with 80 other community, environmental, tourism, marine industry, hospitality, town-planners, architects and developer industry stakeholders.
Gold Coast Council are secretive about their $850,000 ratepayer funded 'OCST Business Feasibility Study" but under media and community pressure they release only a heavily redacted version with almost the entire 'Risk Assessment' Chapter blacked out.
The Gold Coast Council push for the State Government to approve a second casino licence for the Gold Coast despite independent surveys revealing over 70% community opposition to a second casino. The Minister for Tourism takes numerous trips to casinos in the USA while her advisor, a senior public servant heavily involved in ASF China's previous bid to take over the entire southern Broadwater and Spit with cruise terminals, casinos and highrise private apartments, spends over $500,000 of tax-payers funds on trips to casinos in Asia and USA.
SOSA gains access to the full, un-censored version of the OCST study which reveals major financial, engineering, economic, environmental and navigational safety risks associated with Tate's "Love Boat" ocean side cruise terminal proposal.
The Gold Coast Bulletin (GCB) is furnished with a copy of the uncensored version of the "Business Feasibility Study for an Oceanside cruise ship terminal on Philip Park' and runs front page headlines and a 3-page feature article exposing the OCST risks.
SOSA gets a mention in State Parliament:
Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick, launches a tirade on the LNP Opposition during question time when Deb Frecklington criticised the Spit Master Plan process.
"We've heard one vision from the LNP on The Spit - that was sell Wavebreak Island and turn the Broadwater into a canal estate...the Spit master Planning process [is] setting a new benchmark when it [comes] to community consultation...and Save Our Spit Alliance President Dr Steve Gration remarked that 'it was the first time in 15 years that any level of government has engaged with our group in a meaningful way.' "
(Min. Cameron Dick. - Hansard Oct 2018)
SOSA VP Darren Crawford and Luke Sorensen accept award on behalf of SOSA from the business group, Northern Gold Coast Connect for - "Regional Excellence Award - Sustainable Living".
Qld Crime and Corruption Commission conduct the Operation Yabber - "an investigation into allegations of corrupt conduct relating to the Gold Coast City Council". The Mayoral Chief of Staff is escorted off Council premises and suspended from duty until the outcome of the investigation is known.
SOSA exposes potential 'conflicts of interest' by key public officials, GC Airport and property developers in relation to their heavy lobbying and support for Light Rail construction on the Gold Coast.
The Minister for Tourism appoints a Tourism Advisory Panel (TAP) - mostly consisting of Mayor Tate's business associates - to conduct a 'community consultation' as part of the GTH process.
While excluding registered community groups such as SOSA, this panel invites 2 fake community groups to participate in the process. This fact also forms part of SOSA's official complaint.
SOSA submits an official written complaint to the Director General of the Ministry for Tourism regarding the senior public servant who has previously been involved with the now disgraced ASF China, PwC and attempts by Council and the Gaming Industry to establish a second casino on the Gold Coast under the new euphemism, Global Tourism Hub (GTH).
An official investigation is undertaken within the Dpt. of Tourism. SOSA is assured in writing that the senior public servant no longer advises Tourism Minister, Kate Jones, and that the TAP report and consultation process were not an official government activity but a 'sounding exercise' for a potential GTH. In other words, the State Government distanced themselves from the TAP activities and 'consultation' process.
State Government advises the public and media that the Gold Coast second casino process has ceased.
The senior public servant at the centre of SOSA's complaints to both LNP and Labor State Governments over an 8 year period is reported by a Qld newspaper as no longer holding a position in or working for the State Government.
Mayor Tate and GCCC apply to the State Government for their unfeasible OCST proposal on Philip Park on The Spit to be assessed as a 'Coordinated Project'. Council continues to refuse to release their un-redacted version of the OCST Feasibility Study, so SOSA arranges to have it sent to the relevant Ministers anyway.
A grass fire at Philip Park on The Spit threatens the Sheraton Mirage resort and strands hundreds of people on the northern end of The Spit for 4 hours until several QFES crews brings it under control late in the afternoon.
The Spit Master Plan process is completed and a draft Master Plan is open to public comment and feedback. SOSA provides detailed submissions supporting most of the Master Plan especially the retention, management and improvement of existing public parks, Wavebreak Island, beaches and foreshores as public open space and not for commercial development and retention of the 3-storey height limit in existing commercial zones.
SOSA also points out that Main Beach businesses, residents and SOSA oppose the suggestion of an antiquated, expensive, visually and noise polluting, inflexible, fixed track and overhead cable Light Rail (heavy tram) spur line for The Spit through Tedder Avenue and the along Seaworld Drive. SOSA advocates for the existing PT bus service that currently stops at Seaworld to continue onto the north-end of Doug Jennings Park during daylight hours.
Final Spit Master Plan is completed and accompanying Legislation is passed in State Parliament.
However, while the OCST is still being assessed under the 'Coordinated Project' process, it remains one of two options for Philip Park that SOSA insisted to State Government would not be acceptable and does not fit with all the other tenets espoused in the final Spit Master Plan. SOSA supports the second option in the Master Plan i.e. no cruise ship terminal at Philip Park or anywhere else on The Spit or Broadwater.
The ABC Coast FM radio station refuses to interview the Internationally respected cruise industry expert, Professor Ross Klein, during his visit to the Gold Coast. Save Our Spit Alliance are also denied a 'right of reply' to the misinformation Mayor Tate spreads in his regular weekly chat on ABC Coast FM. Klein is offered an interview with Kent Bailey on community station 4CRB FM.
The Covid-19 (corona virus) pandemic hits the rest of the World and Australia.
Carnival Cruise Corp's cruise ship "Ruby Princess" is the first major source of Covid infections and community transmissions in Australia, directly causing over 600 infections and 28 deaths spread across all States and Territories in Australia.
NSW Police Commissioner initiates a 'criminal negligence' investigation into potential misinformation provided by Carnival Executives to Australian authorities that led to infected Ruby Princess passengers being allowed to disembark in Sydney.
Shine Lawyers begin a class action against Carnival Corp on behalf of 800 passengers and their families.
Cruise ships around the world are proven to be a major vector for the transmission of Covid-19.
The Federal Government orders international cruise vessels to cease operations in Australian waters and to immediately leave Australian ports and waters indefinitely. A Federal review of the 'No Sail Order' for cruise ships in Australia will take place in March 2021.
The Gold Coast Council's OCST 'Coordinated Project' process is 'put on hold' by the State Government.
Following the Yabber Investigation, the Qld Crime and Corruption Commission refer Mayor Tate to the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) whose responsibilities include assessments and recommendations on 'Official Misconduct'. The Council CEO does not renew the Mayoral Chief of Staff's contract but no charges are laid against him.
SOSA writes several detailed submissions to the GCCC regarding the Council's request for a public response to their City Plan Amendments.
SOSA submits a detailed written response to the State Government's demand that the GCCC amend their City Plan in accordance with the requirements of the Spit Master Plan and accompanying Legislation. SOSA manages to have their demand for greater setbacks of commercial buildings on The Spit included in the GCCC City Plan Amendments for The Spit.
SOSA is invited to join the newly formed international Global Cruise Activist Network (GCAN) with fortnightly online meetings. Current GCAN participants are based in the UK (including Southampton), Europe (incl. Venice), Caribbean, Pacific, USA (incl. Alaska), Canada and Australia. GCAN drafts a "Principles of Responsible Cruise Tourism" that has been forwarded to major international cruise companies. In December 2020, GCAN launched its RETHINK campaign, particularly in regard to the cruise industry's role in spreading Covid-19 virus around the world.
SOSA's Facebook page grows from 230 'likes' and followers in its first year in 2012 to over 14,000 by the close of 2020.
The Spit Master Plan wins the 2020 Planning Institute of Australia's "Planning Excellence Award for Public Engagement and Community Planning".
SOSA conducts detailed research and publishes a series of 3 major articles critically analysing recent tourism statistics and offering rational strategies and achievable outcomes for the future of tourism on the Gold Coast in the era of climate change and a world virus pandemic.
Tourism Gold Coast Part 1
Tourism Gold Coast Part 2
Tourism Gold Coast Part 3