Last week, I wrote to the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition.
As we move into the next state election, I anticipate that issues like voluntary assisted dying, a potential bid to host the Olympics, infrastructure to support ongoing growth in metropolitan areas, and jobs will dominate discussions. Rightly so, because these are important matters and the Queensland public should have the opportunity to voice their opinions.
But in my letters, I highlighted a number of issues impacting communities that I strongly believe need to also be in the public forum. There will be more in this election year.
These issues have emerged during the significant travel across Queensland which I have undertaken during my term as Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia.
- Transformation of the state economy. We need to see the position of both parties regarding the transformation of our economy in a post fossil fuel era. Our economy – and government revenue – is in need of a quality transitional plan, not simply aspirational targets of renewable energy. If we are to be a place of human flourishing, where people can live a meaningful life, a healthy economy is one important aspect for that flourishing. Governments in Australia seem to be struggling with the significance of the changes they have to manage.
- Security of reasonably priced energy supply. The journey to renewable energy in the southern states has threatened supply of electricity and increased costs, my question to the major parties is how they will ensure secure, appropriately priced energy – particularly in the state’s north.
- Pressures in rural and regional Queensland. Rural and regional community life is under great pressure; declining economies, climate change; families and individuals are struggling to find life, and life in all its fulness; what are the parties’ plans about strengthening rural and regional communal life?
- Vegetation and land management laws. I’m hearing from a number of places about the compliance pressures surrounding vegetation and land management practices, with new obligations being planned. Many landholders, who see themselves as stewards and custodians of the land they tend and live off, are experiencing the government as heavy handed and suspicious of them.
I challenged our leaders to outline their plans to address these issues in order for we, the citizens of Queensland to be able to make informed discernment.
This Friday (September 20), is the Global Climate Strike Action event. For those who are able to attend, we will be hosting a Climate Justice Prayer Event, at the Albert Street Uniting Church before the gathering of concerned citizens in the city. The Brisbane event will be attended by myself, the General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Queensland and leaders from other denominations. It is an opportunity to pray, reflect and encourage our elected representatives to take seriously the multi-faceted challenge of climate change.