Mayor says “Canungra has changed forever”

Cr Stephen Moriarty speaks at the community meeting
Cr Stephen Moriarty speaks at the community meeting

IT BEGAN with a few families in Canungra wanting to have a chat to the newly elected Division Three Councillor, and it grew into 40 Canungra residents gathered for a meeting that drew all three levels of government.

Council was represented by Division Three Councillor Stephen Moriarty, Scenic Rim Mayor Tom Sharp with Councillors Kerri Cryer (Division Two) and Amanda Hay (Division One) also present.

State Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause attended, with Federal Member Scott Buchholz sending Patrick Murphy as his representative.

Cafe Metz

Development process

Cr Moriarty told the meeting that councillors were working together to get the best outcomes for all ratepayers in the Scenic Rim. 

“It is quite obvious that things like roads in our region we are really struggling to keep up with and maintain,” he said.

“That’s a challenge and an issue.  It is not an easy fix. Some of the issues we are facing are going to take years.”

“I’m not going to sit here and promise we are going to fix things overnight, but if we don’t try and we don’t start now it is not going to get better.”

He said due to the proximity of Canungra to the Gold Coast, Ipwich, Logan and Brisbane, development will occur and he explained that under the South East Queensland Plan the State Government expects the Scenic Rim’s population will increase.

“That is beyond Council’s control,” he said.

Cr Moriarty explained that a number of local developments had been opposed by Council and the decision was then overturned in the Planning and Environment Court, costing Council and therefore ratepayers considerable amounts of money.

“My understanding as a new councillor is that Council is trying to work smarter by  conditioning developments a little bit better so they are more suitable for where we are.” 


Cr Moriarty opened the floor for discussion, asking what people wanted for the town. 

“I can’t promise that everything is going to get done but when I go into Council I want to stand up confidently and say ‘this is what the people of Canungra want’.”

Residents expressed anger about the lack of water and road infrastructure.

He said Seqwater are looking at options other than tankering water into town during dry seasons.

Options include connection to the South East Queensland water grid, off-stream storage and taking water from Coomera River to supplement Canungra Creek.

“The one positive I take out of that is for the first time in a long time Seqwater are talking about something other than tankering water into Canungra as a solution.”

“They are talking eight, ten, twelve years.”

This timeframe was met by derision by some people.

Traffic concerns

The meeting was told there is currently no plan in place for a Canungra bypass.

Houses have been built on the land previously allocated for a bypass.

State Member for Scenic Rim, Jon Krause spoke about the impact that developments in Yarrabilba and further afield have had on traffic movements in Canungra.

Sue Kenna, who lives on the main street of Canungra and also works as a lollipop lady, said she often waits for 20 to 25 minutes to get out the driveway at her house.

She described the traffic situation as ‘disgusting’ and said it has ruined the amenity of the town for her family.

Mr Krause also told the meeting the Department of Transport and Main Roads are investigating installing another pedestrian crossing on the main road of Canungra.

Sue said people drive too fast and don’t stop at the existing pedestrian crossing.

Long term resident and business owner, Jenny Corcoran, said this had been done years ago, which lead to a number of children being hit by cars that did not stop.

“It just does not work up there,” she said.

“It will also kill all those businesses there with the lack of parking.”

Future plan

Don Caswell asked why developments continue to be approved without adequate infrastructure in place.

Mayor Sharp said it was not currently possible to halt development.

“We’ve been in meeting in the last two weeks with both State Government and opposition and that message is this is not just a Scenic Rim issue, it is an Australian regional wide issue on the east coast of Australia.  It is on the brink.”

“Advocacy is happening right now in our Council with submission to the State and Federal Government.”

“The Growth Management Strategy says we’ve got to slow down the growth and push forward the infrastructure.”

“So this Council will be resisting development applications unless there is matching infrastructure going forward.”

“We are going to make that very loud and clear every single day of the week.”


Asked how this will be achieved, Mayor Sharp said he would be knocking on the doors in George Street, Brisbane.

“You will see it, you will hear it – and join me, because the more I have behind me, knocking on the doors, the more they will listen”

“Who gets listened to the most? The person who is screaming every single day.”

“Who gets listened to the least?  The quiet Australians because they just humbly sit back and take it.”

“Let’s not take it any more.  Let’s go together and get the change that we need.”

“Canungra has changed forever, I’ve never seen this tripling in the population of a town virtually overnight.  We can’t stop that now.  All we can do is try to slow it down and advocate and to get the Federal and State funding to put the infrastructure in place.”

About Keer Moriarty 296 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.