TOS, South Stradbroke Island - Grand Theft Wavebreak Rally

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A major public Rally organised by the Save our Spit Alliance was held on 7 December 2014 as a demonstration of opposition to the proposed cruise ship terminal and Integrated Resort Development. More than 3,000 attendees at the Rally called on Queensland premier Campbell Newman to reject the development proposal on the basis that the environmental and social impacts of the project do not justify the benefits. 

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Surfrider Foundation Gold Coast Tweed representative, Greg Howell, spoke at the public rally voicing the concerns of Surfrider Foundation members around Australia that the proposed development would result in the loss of world class surfbreak 'The Other Side' on South Stradbroke Island along with the surrounding coastal environments. 

The then opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk during her campaign trail visited Wavebreak Island and met with community leaders and a sea of locals, telling the crowd, "Today I give you this commitment. I have listened to the people. I have listened to what you have been saying to me, and there will be no development here, pure and simple."

Ms Palaszczuk went on to add, "Vote Labor, and we will reclaim the broadwater for the people." Which received loud cheers from the vocal crowd.

After a landslide swing against the sitting Queensland LNP government in early 2015 Labor formed the new QLD government. 

Save our Spit Alliance President, Dr Gration, said, "We are confident that Labor has the means and has every reason to fulfil their commitment to the people of Queensland, and that we will soon see the ASF China Consortium packing their bags and leaving.

Transcript of speech prepared by the Surfrider Gold Coast Tweed branch and presented by representative Greg Howell at the Grand Theft Wavebreak rally on Sunday 7 December

Surfrider exists to protect waves and beaches, we are a voice for something that is central to our privileged Australian lifestyle. This year the Town of Malacoota in Victoria lost a wave called Broken Boards. Surfrider had campaigned to protect the wave for more than a decade. We had delayed the construction of a rock training wall and boat ramp for as long as possible but in the end madness ruled, and what used to be a long right hand point break now has a rock training wall intersecting it.

It’s pretty disheartening that in this day and age, in a country who celebrates its connection to beaches and the ocean that such a thing can happen. This proposed development on Wavebreak Island is an example of the same madness that saw Malacoota lose its point break. The same lunacy that saw us lose Kirra for more than a decade. When men with no connection to the ocean and no spirit of aloha gain too much power great damage can occur.

I could explain all that is wrong with this proposal but instead I’d like to read a letter. This is a letter from South Stradbroke island, it's a place without a voice but it's a place in need of a voice. It's a place that has seen countless waves break over millenniums, it’s seen people come and go, settlements destroyed by waves. Never more than today has it been celebrated by so many. It’s visited by tens of thousands of surfers a year who all paddle back across the seaway changed for the better by experiencing its magical waves.

So if you’d allow me to read from this letter, I’ll let South Straddy speak. So here we go, a letter from South Straddy to Tom Tate.

Dear Tom,

I’m not sure where it happened but we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot. I’d like to set the record straight and to clear up a few things.

I’m not man made, and even if I was that would not empower you Tom to interfere with that which makes me, me!

I have been here for millennium, I have seen countless people come and go before I ever heard anyone speaking this language.

I am not just like all the other Gold Coast beaches, such that surfers if excluded from me can just ‘ehhhhh take a pick’. You have to know why I am special Tom, I work in partnership with the shoals of the Nerang River to form a single bar, not a double bar like the rest of your beaches. It’s my single bar and the offshore shoals that allow me to throw peaky barrels to the delight of surfers who travel the world for the experience.

To you progress is development to me progress is experience, to you concrete and towers and blackjack are aspirations, to me freedom, peace and togetherness are aspirations.

Tom the people at the rally today love me, they give their time and their hearts for me. They share me with their family and they make me part of their community. Can you say the same Tom? I wonder when the last time was that people came together of their own free will, in the absence of vested interest for you???

Tom if you build this project, I’ll be changed forever, your dredges will cut a channel so long and deep through the Nerang River Shoals that will stop the peaks and reflect rather than focus waves onto the inner bar. My famous peaks will be unrecognisable.

Your giant ships will block the seaway. I am my community of surfers, by disconnecting them you damage me and I’m changed forever.

It doesn’t have to be like this, the door is still open Tom. I South Straddy will welcome you, come paddle the seaway. Come share one of my peaks and shake off this lunacy once and for all.

Tom there is much more to life than dollars and cents, but even if that's all that matters I do make your City plenty you just can’t see what is staring you in the face.

Yours in a shared future.

South Straddy

I hope I conveyed the sentiment of South Straddy well.

Surfrider is opposed to this development. It’s clear that on Wavebreak or the Spit the project is an environmental, social and economic disaster. Any state or local politician that is uncertain to how the local surfing community feels listen carefully – We don't want Cruise Ships in the Seaway, we don't want public land given, sold or leased to subsidise a cruise ship terminal. We don't want a casino on coastal public land.

This is just the same old thinking from the same old stale men.

We want a new form of economy, one that is fair, values community and conserves our children’s environmental inheritance

Save our Broadwater!!

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