Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Hanging on to paradise

By Peter Spearritt - posted Tuesday, 23 May 2006

On a fine day from the observation tower of Q1, Surfers Paradise, still the world's tallest residential building, you can see from southern Brisbane to Byron Bay.

What a landscape. To the south, the high rises of Coolangatta and then Mt Warning, in all its world heritage glory. To the west, massive road systems cut through the landscape, linking acreage dwellers and canal home owners to the beach.

On the northern strip, high rises again, in greater concentration than anywhere else in Australia.


In the distance Moreton Bay offers a glimpse of green, though the scar of sand mining on Stradbroke is a reminder that in this state mining always comes first.

Welcome to South-east Queensland, where the coastal landscape has been more aggressively developed and less green space has been retained than anywhere else in coastal Australia. Soon the $600 million Tugun bypass will whisk Brisbanites into the arms of another state.

And when more and more people realise that 90 per cent of the green space they see to the south of Q1 is in New South Wales, who can blame the escapees? Until the 1980s Byron Bay was a small coastal town based on dairying and a meatworks.

A cyclone in 1954 wiped out its jetty and its industries succumbed to more efficient operators elsewhere.

In a remarkable transformation, it now gets almost two million visitors a year, more than half from Queensland.

Why fight the traffic on the so-called Gold Coast highway when you can escape just as quickly to a neighbouring state which has taken coastal conservation and green space provision seriously?


Why travel to the Sunshine Coast when you will be able to get to the Tweed Valley in the same time?

Brisbane, with its Gold and Sunshine coasts, is now set to colonise a third coastline.

And until they were sacked, the developer-dominated Tweed River Council was there to lend a hand to any developer who wanted to re-instate a sand dune, including dunes that were never there in the first place.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

First published in The Courier-Mail on May 11, 2006.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

6 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Professor Peter Spearritt is Executive Director of the Brisbane Institute.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Peter Spearritt

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Peter Spearritt
Article Tools
Comment 6 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Latest from The Brisbane Institute
 The pursuit of terrorists post September 11: be afraid, be very afraid
 The politics of country music
 Confronting our water challenge
 Hanging on to paradise
 Taxing Australian federalism

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy