Lamb Island’s nearest neighbour, Macleay Island, is thirty-five kilometres from Brisbane GPO as the crow flies – you can do it in as little as an hour and a few minutes all-up in non-peak times (driving time plus waterbus trip). That means it’s at least as easy to get to in terms of both distance and time as some Brisbane outer suburbs. And a whole lot closer than, say, Oodnadatta for example.
It’s a thriving, growing community with a population approaching 3,000, lots of shops and a number of small businesses, and many of its residents go off to work on the mainland every day. And yet the Federal Health Department has just declared the island a ‘Category 5 Remote Community’, which means that the doctors already happily working in Macleay’s ‘Bay Island Medical Centre’ will be eligible for incentive payments of up to $23,000 to encourage them to, um, well, work there.
I’m not complaining here, nor begrudging the doctors their incentive bucks. It just seems to me to be yet another example of how government bureaucracy is kinda categorically remote from reality.