|dc.description.abstract||In 2010, the Queensland State Government under Premier Anna Bligh announced their intention to set a closure date for sand mining operations on Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island, necessitating a transition planning process. Albeit beset by controversy, changes in government, restructured departments and redundancies, policy reversals and re-reversals, in September 2016 the present State Government, under Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the North Stradbroke Island Economic Transition Strategy, outlining plans to develop the Island’s post-mining economy.
This Discussion Paper reports on research conducted for a PhD project that took place during 2010-2015, with most data collection conducted in 2012. The qualitative project explored Islanders’ experiences of the transition planning process and how they involved themselves in transition, how they understood the issue of mine closure, and how they imagined the Island’s future, with a particular focus on the relationships between the Island geography, community, identity and transition. This Paper summarises some key findings from this research, aimed at a general audience.
Transition planning yielded some excellent ideas for a post-mining future, but it was affected by a range of difficulties. There was a disconnect between how Islanders envisaged a post-mining Island and how the State Government did, with Islanders’ priorities and values not always readily included in the official transition planning process. Islanders often articulated a more holistic vision, incorporating social justice and equity concerns – particularly, albeit not exclusively, for the Quandamooka Peoples of the Island – and centring ecological sustainability. The State Government’s agenda focused on economic transition, whereas Islanders often advocated for a more broadly focused transition. Further, the issue of closure was highly contentious, and the conflict that emerged polarised the Island, damaging relationships, networks, and civil society organisations, and leading to a lot of pain and grief. In addition to the personal cost of this conflict, the transition process was also undermined, as effective transition planning relies on the ability to engage and mobilise local communities. Healing from this damage will be essential for the Island’s post-mining future.
There is hope, however. Islanders share a deep affection for Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island, and a strong desire to stay and find ways to live together there after mining concludes (despite different opinions about when exactly that should be). The Island’s diverse community means there are many and varied experiences, skills, knowledges, and resources to draw from, and there are many assets that could be leveraged to support a more just and sustainable post-mining future on the Island. The first key question remaining is can the Island heal from the damage of collective trauma, so that they can work effectively for transition? The second key question is will they be supported in their efforts by current and subsequent State and Local Governments, and given the stability, resources, capacity building, and autonomy they need to achieve their visions?||en_US