The Bjelke-Petersen government considered gifting 800 hectares of prime Crown land on North Stradbroke Island to developers in order to build a bridge across Moreton Bay, a 1982 cabinet document reveals.
Cabinet documents from 1982 reveal for the first time the depth of planning behind ideas to let the private developers raise the $45 million to build the bridge to Stradbroke Island.
The documents, made public this morning, give an idea of the beginning of the national conservation strategy, the strength of the union movement and planning for Brisbane's Commonwealth Games.
To build a bridge to North Stradbroke Island, then-premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen told cabinet on May 10, 1982, he had met a consortium from Western Australia and Korea.
A toll would not be "economically viable" to cover the expense, the documents show.
"Early this year I received a deputation representing a consortium of private developers which expressed interest in submitting a proposal to the government for private financing of a bridge in return for development rights to certain Crown lands on North Stradbroke Island," Mr Bjelke-Petersen wrote to cabinet colleagues.
"I am now in receipt of a proposal from the consortium ... including Keneba Pty Ltd, a company incorporated in Western Australia, and Seo Il Construction Company Limited from Korea."
Mr Bjelke-Petersen wanted cabinet to declare its support for the idea, even though no firm plan had been drawn up.
The broad idea was for a bridge near Russell Island, across to North Stradbroke Island and running north to Dunwich, based on a route investigated by the Department of Main Roads in March 1978.
Under the plan, freehold title for the 800 hectares of crown land near Point Lookout would have been "vest in the proponents", allowing the consortium to sell it in "super-sized" chunks of up to 100 hectares to "reputable developers".
About 50 hectares of "prime beachfront land", where thousands of holiday makers today walk uninterrupted, would have been set aside for commercial and high-density development.
The developers would have exclusive rights to develop land on North Stradbroke Island as part of the deal, the cabinet documents show.
"[The] proponents would expect to receive from the government undertakings that no further government or private sector releases would occur during the period of development of the land leased to the bridge financiers."
The broad idea received cabinet backing in October 1982 and advertisements appeared in newspapers.
However, after a concerted bid by conservationists and planners concerned at the impact on wetlands, fish breeding grounds and the impact of population growth, the idea fell from favour in February 1986 when Mr Bjelke-Petersen ruled the idea was not "financially viable".
Since then, a succession of government ministers have said the idea was not being revisited.
In 2005 Labor's then-Main Roads minister Paul Lucas ruled the idea out.
This week, a spokesman for Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson also ruled out a bridge to Stradbroke Island as uneconomic.
However, the southern Moreton Bay islands will come into the Translink network, allowing them cheaper ferry and boat trips, from mid-2013, the spokesman said.
The granting of Crown land to private developers was used by the Newman government last week when it announced that private company Cbus Pty Ltd would develop Crown land in William Street for a major government office building with a 99-year lease.
Police and the 1982 Commonwealth Games
Police Minister Russ Hinze sought indemnity for police who inadvertently caused damage to Griffith University grounds, adjacent to the QEII Stadium at Nathan, while protecting it from "radicals" or terrorists who threatened the Commonwealth Games.
Mr Hinze told ministers in June 1982 that this precaution was necessary in case "persons such as 'terrorists' or 'radicals' took control of university buildings", and further damage was caused by police seeking to "restore the status quo".
The Commonwealth Games were held towards the end of the age of street marches in Brisbane, and it was expected that Queensland's land rights issues would be raised by Aboriginal people.
Police exercised a restraint, realising any action would be viewed by an international audience.
In September 1982, the Australian National University described a land rights street march in Brisbane:
"On Sunday, 26 September some 3000 blacks and whites marched through Brisbane in a legal procession.
"However they showed a measure of defiance by holding two unscheduled sit-downs in the streets. Two days later they were marching again. The police had granted a permit at the last minute – it was the first weekday daytime march granted a permit since 1977.
"Again there were two sitdowns in defiance of permit restrictions. The police almost certainly relented on the daytime permit because militants had won the debate in the Aborigines' camp at Musgrave Park. The Black Protest Committee had resigned, making way for a new leadership called the National Black Unity Group, who were more prepared for confrontation.
"The protesters concluded the week's actions with an illegal march, which saw 500 people converging on the Games site at the Queen Elizabeth II stadium. After police arrested one demonstrator, FAIRA executive officer Bob Weatherall declared: 'I'm only guilty under white law. I'm not guilty under Aboriginal law. I have the right to walk on my own land.'"
Industrial Relations and the 35-hour-a-week campaign
The campaign to reduce the working week from 40 to 35 hours a week was one of the biggest union battles of 1982.
However, Mr Bjelke-Petersen made it clear in a cabinet briefing on February 9, 1982, that he would not reduce hours below 38 hours a week.
"Complete opposition and thus no scope for negotiation in respect of further reductions in working hours of classes of employees who are already working 38 hours or less," cabinet briefing papers say.
The cabinet paper from February 9, 1982, says workers for Brisbane City Council, the Port of Brisbane, the Townsville and Gladstone Harbour boards and the electricity industry were all campaigning for higher wages.
The cabinet papers show that is when many of the "trade-offs" which are now part of public sector life in Queensland were advanced as part of negotiation.
They included "the introduction of a nine-day fortnight", an arrangement giving all employees a "half day off per week", and having existing hours "inclusive of meal breaks".