Chairman: Councillors, are there any questions of the LORD MAYOR or a Chairman of any of the Standing Committees? Councillor HOWARD.
Councillor HOWARD: Thank you, Madam Chairman; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. I understand Brisbane's iconic Riverwalk is in its final stages of completion, with vessel access through its opening span being commissioned today. Can you please update the Chamber on the Riverwalk Replacement project?
LORD MAYOR: Thanks very much, Madam Chairman, and I thank Councillor HOWARD for the question. It was good to join with Councillor HOWARD today to inspect the progress of the Riverwalk and we did commission the opening span today as well. This is a span which is required under the legal arrangements with respect to this Riverwalk, as it was with the old floating Riverwalk, where there is an opening span to allow vessels to exit from that area between the riverbank itself and that of the Riverwalk facility.
Progress is coming along well now in relation to this facility, and it will open by way of a public opening on 21 September. Importantly, along the way, I want to thank again the Federal Government and the State Government for the contributions that have been made over a period of time in relation to this facility. It is a $72 million project, and it is one that will be around for a long time to come. We have made sure we've invested the right amount in terms of design and engineering around the security of this facility into the future, with a 1-in-2,000 year flood resilience factor built into this facility.
Again it is going to be a facility which will have a clearly differentiated cycling and pedestrian facility. So that will mean 3.5 metres in width for the cycling component and 2.5 metres in width for the pedestrian component. There will be a number of nodes which allow people to stop and to take in the ambience of the river—some seating around those facilities. It will add to the experience that people will be able to have in terms of our river city. It will also just make for a more interesting walk along that particular part of Riverwalk.
In thanking the Federal and State Governments, I also just say that it's one where we have been particular in terms of the pylons, making sure that they are very substantial and embedded into the river bed itself. We don't want to see this facility end up with the same fate as the floating Riverwalk, that is for sure. It is a facility which will survive the test of time; it will survive floods in the future. It is built to a 1-in-2,000 year event, as I mentioned previously, but importantly, it is a 100-year asset construction. So we want to make sure that people get the value of this facility for a very long time to come.
It is 850 metres in length, with 27 standard size 30-metre girders in length, and the others of course, around the corners, are specifically designed. We have had 36 pylons that have been driven into the bedrock of the Brisbane River to make sure that the strength is there, and it will sit 3.4 metres above the mean sea level.
It has a number of other features. Clearly it has 24-hour surveillance, so it has a number of features that the previous Riverwalk did not have—24-hour surveillance cameras by way of CCTV; it has a significant amount of lighting along that stretch. It also has facilities where people can enjoy, as I said earlier, the ambience of the river itself. So, this is one which will be well used and we look forward to that opportunity for people to get back and enjoy Riverwalk in the not too distant future. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Chairman: Councillor DICK.
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. In addition to your participation in Cedar Woods' call for investors on the Australian Stock Exchange, the answers to Questions on Notice have revealed that there have been eight meetings between Cedar Woods, yourself, your staff and Councillor COOPER over the past 12 months.
Do you still maintain that the political arm of your Administration is not steering through the approval of this controversial development application?
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, I thank Councillor DICK for the question. There's a number of aspects of course to that question. I just want to say from the outset that the entity concerned is a new investor. They are a Western Australian investor that are entering the Brisbane market.
Can I just say to you, Councillor DICK, that firstly it's reasonable that we ought to meet with an investor from another State, isn't it?
Councillor SUTTON interjecting: Eight times?
Chairman: Councillor SUTTON!
LORD MAYOR: I haven't met eight times, Councillor, and once again this is the interesting way in which the question is framed. I have not met eight times with that investor. I have met once. So Councillor DICK, he has cobbled together meetings with officers, different meetings that might have been held with Councillor COOPER, different meetings from what I have had, and he adds it all up—
LORD MAYOR: —to create the impression that I have met with this person eight times. That is a nonsense.
Chairman: Councillor SUTTON, if you continue, I will warn you.
LORD MAYOR: And Councillor SUTTON, your interjection was kind of directing it in that way. So, Madam Chairman, let's be clear about the trickiness of the Labor Party in this. Let us also remember, if they wanted to talk about this land, let us remember that the Labor Party, when they established as a State Government—probably at the time when you were State Director of the Labor Party, Councillor DICK—the Regional Plan, and within that Regional Plan framework, this land was set aside as developable land for residential purposes into the future.
The land has some other history. It has history in the sense that there was a time a number of years ago when we had committed to purchase 500 hectares of land between 2008 and 2012. We had undertaken the commencement of the resumption of about 50 hectares of land across that site. That was a part of that 500 hectares. In the end, it wasn't required. That resumption process, which would have cost ratepayers a substantial amount of money, didn't proceed.
By way of the proposal that is now on the table to ratepayers, 90 hectares handed over to the ratepayers of this city at no cost—90 hectares at no cost. So I don't know which track Councillor DICK would have preferred to have gone down. That is the reality.
We have a Regional Plan put in place by the Labor Party when in Government in Queensland—
Councillor DICK: My question was not for a history lesson from the LORD MAYOR; it was specifically: does the LORD MAYOR still maintain that the political arm of your Administration is not steering through the approval process? I have provided him with a lot of background; I'd like him to answer that question.
Chairman: Thank you, Councillor DICK. Yes, LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, absolutely. This application will receive the normal process that any other application will. It is in, though, the context of the question that I do provide a bit of a history lesson for Councillor DICK, because he is trying to create this impression that somehow this new investor to Brisbane is being treated in some way differently. I am suggesting to him that that is not the case at all. There will be the proper process. There will be the proper opportunity for public input into this application, and the officers will then go about the business of normal assessment. It's a big site; let's make no mistake about it. This is a very significant site in our city.
We saw, of course, the previous Labor Party commence the Rochedale process. This is also a very big site. The former Divisional Manager, the late Barry Alexander first made an approach in relation to this land some time back, because it was a piece of land that, under the Regional Plan when the State Labor Government had identified it as developable land, it was appropriate then that a master planning process commence. This has been going on, Councillor DICK, now for a number of years, before even probably you entered this place.
So, Madam Chairman, step by step it is now at a point where it is an application. We saw with Rochedale—Rochedale took years before it started to see the commencement of residential land that we are now seeing. This land is similar. It was rural land. The Labor State Government then said, it can go from rural to become land which forms part of the urban footprint, and that is where we now are, Madam Chairman.
Councillor McKENZIE: Thank you, Madam Chairman; my question is to the Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee, Councillor SCHRINNER. I understand that late last week marked the completion of another major milestone for the Legacy Way project. Could you please update the Chamber on this milestone?
DEPUTY MAYOR: Thank you, Madam Chairman, and thank you, Councillor McKENZIE, for the question. Yes, indeed, we did see something very important happen late last week and that was the completion of the upgraded Moggill Road interchange with the Western Freeway. This was part of the associated work that is being done as part of the Legacy Way project. It is one of the added benefits to the project, along with improvements to the Botanic Gardens out at Mt Coot-tha, along with the widening of the Western Freeway, that will deliver a whole range of benefits to the motorists of the western suburbs, and also indeed anyone who is attending the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.
We saw extended merge lanes, a new and improved intersection at the Moggill Road interchange put in place. This was a $20 million project which has been delivered to the benefit of all road users in the area. The great thing about this upgrade is it benefits everyone, regardless of whether you are going to use Legacy Way or regardless of whether you are just travelling through the area along Moggill Road. So you don’t need to pay a toll to get the benefits of this particular upgrade, and it is the same with the widening of the Western Freeway, which is now under way.
So there are some great benefits for all road users being delivered, and this particular upgrade is just one of those many benefits being delivered as part of the $1.5 billion Legacy Way project. This is a Council that is getting on with the job of delivering infrastructure improvements. We have heard about Riverwalk from the LORD MAYOR just now. This is another one of our major projects under way that will help, and is already making a difference to traffic flow.
Anyone that comes through the area from the western suburbs will know that this has been a problem intersection and a problem interchange for many years. It is now flowing better; there has been a good result, and that will get even better in the future when we have additional lanes on the Western Freeway from this interchange all the way through to the Legacy Way tunnel and the Toowong roundabout.
So we are seeing, as I said, some new infrastructure delivered last week for the people of the western suburbs, and it is part of an ongoing program that will see, in the lead-up to the opening of Legacy Way next year, further works continuing to help keep our traffic flowing, particularly in those western suburbs areas. Thank you.
Chairman: Further questions; Councillor DICK.
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. Prior to you formally announcing the Kurilpa Master Plan at a pay-to-have-your say lunch last Thursday, how many developers did you, Councillor COOPER and any of your political staff discuss the plans with for this area?
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, I didn't discuss the plans with anybody, I can absolutely guarantee you of that. I don't know what Councillor COOPER may have done in terms of those discussions, but I would just say this—
Chairman: Councillor DICK!
LORD MAYOR: Well, Councillor DICK, you might be able to tell me every minute of every day what your councillors do or don't—
Chairman: Just a minute, LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: —or don't do might be an easier question to ask.
Chairman: Order! Order! Councillor DICK, you have asked a question; now, remain quiet for the answer. Thank you, LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: It's just that he doesn’t like the answer. The reality is that I would expect that each of the chairmen that form Civic Cabinet within their portfolio responsibilities would have engagement with people around things. I don't know whether Councillor COOPER had meetings specifically or not; I can't answer that question. But I do know this: we are out to public consultation for a period now of six weeks. I would hope that people and councillors in particular would be assisting their residents to develop submissions where people want to lodge—
Chairman: Councillor ABRAHAMS!
LORD MAYOR: —submissions in relation to the plan. This is a draft plan. I have the plan here. Rather than—
Councillor FLESSER: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Point of order against you, LORD MAYOR. Yes, Councillor FLESSER.
Councillor FLESSER: Madam Chair, the question to the LORD MAYOR was clearly about developers that he or his Administration had met prior to the announcement, Madam Chair. I understand no residents have been involved, but I'd really ask you to direct the LORD MAYOR—
Chairman: Councillor FLESSER—
Councillor FLESSER; —back to the question.
Chairman: —the LORD MAYOR has answered that part of the question, quite clearly.
Councillor FLESSER: Well, Madam Chair, the rules apply then that when—
Chairman: Councillor FLESSER—
Councillor FLESSER: —the LORD MAYOR—sorry?
Chairman: —you are debating my ruling. The LORD MAYOR has quite clearly answered the question that Councillor DICK asked him.
Councillor FLESSER: Okay. Well, Madam Chair, my understanding is that the rules say that when someone answers a question, they are to sit down for another question to be asked.
Chairman: I think in the circumstances of the question and what the issue is, it is quite acceptable for the LORD MAYOR to be informing the Chamber about the process for public consultation in relation to this master plan.
Councillor SUTTON: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Yes, Councillor SUTTON.
Councillor SUTTON: I was listening to the LORD MAYOR's answer just then. Councillor DICK asked what developers did he or Councillor COOPER or their staff speak with, and the LORD MAYOR, in his answer, said he didn't know what his staff or Councillor COOPER did. If he doesn't know, I would ask you to direct him to take the question on notice so that the Chamber can be fully briefed in accordance with the Rules of Procedure in this place.
Chairman: Councillor SUTTON, I do not uphold your point of order. The LORD MAYOR made it very clear that he did not know exactly what meetings his chairmen had had, and Councillor FLESSER is questioning the fact that I am allowing the LORD MAYOR to continue answering the question. What the LORD MAYOR was doing, if you were listening, he was explaining why he doesn't know exactly who Councillor COOPER might have met with, and what his expectation of his chairman is. That is quite legitimate for him to be providing that information in the context of this question and the intent of the question. Thank you, LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: Well, thanks very much, Madam Chairman. So the issue is this: we are now in a period of submissions, where we are asking people to make comment on a draft plan. That is where it's at. I encourage—
Chairman: Just a minute, LORD MAYOR. Councillor ABRAHAMS, if you continue to interject, you'll be warned. Thank you.
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, I encourage people to comment on it. Councillor ABRAHAMS has already indicated she is opposed to this plan. She has been out on the picket line, Madam Chairman; she was out there with the State member, but then they decided to abandon the picket line and come in and have a chardonnay at lunch. That's where they were.
Councillor NEWTON: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Point of order, LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: That's right. I believe that's right.
Chairman: Yes, LORD MAYOR. Order! Order! Councillor NEWTON, point of order.
Councillor NEWTON: Thank you, Madam Chair; I just go back to the original question, which was specifically: what does the LORD MAYOR know about himself, his staff, the political staffers and his Chairperson in relation to meeting with developers in relation to Kurilpa? It wasn't speculating about what Helen ABRAHAMS or—
Chairman: Councillor NEWTON, you have called your point of order. Now you are the third one to ask the same point of order, and I would remind you that, under chapter 4, section 21, it is an act of disorder by councillors to repeat a point of order that has already been dealt with by the Chairman. I would ask you to remember that. That is in the Rules of Procedure, and it has always been there. LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: So, Madam Chairman, Councillor ABRAHAMS has indicated that she is opposed to this plan, and I find that very sad in the sense that there will be disagreement around aspects of the plan, but this plan also contains a doubling of the amount of parkland in this location.
LORD MAYOR: It involves the closing down of Riverside Drive. I thought that Councillor ABRAHAMS had actually supported that, but now we find that she's out there completely opposing this plan. So, she does need to get her storyline right. The plan proposes for discussion, but part of the draft here, to close Riverside Drive down and create a whole parkland precinct there.
It also looks at adding a substantial amount of new parkland in this 25-hectare site.
Councillor JOHNSTON: Point of order, Madam Chairman.
Chairman: Point of order against you, LORD MAYOR. Yes, Councillor JOHNSTON.
Councillor JOHNSTON: Madam Chairman, I refer to your ruling that you've just made which was that the LORD MAYOR was referring to his understanding of what his staff and Councillor COOPER had been doing with respect to the Kurilpa plan. The LORD MAYOR has strayed from your advice as to what you considered to be relevant and is now speaking more generally, and I would ask that you draw him back to the question.
Chairman: Councillor JOHNSTON, I do not uphold your point of order, and I don't accept your verballing in relation to what the LORD MAYOR had been saying and what the LORD MAYOR has said since the last repeated point of order. I would remind you, Councillor JOHNSTON, that you should also have a very good look at chapter 4 of the Rules of Procedure. LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: You see, Madam Chairman, what sort of gets to me all the time with the Labor Party here is they're all the time down in the gutter. Why aren't they asking me why is it my view that X is included in the plan? Why is my view about the extent of development in the plan? What is my view about parkland in the plan? What is my view about the mix of the cultural opportunities that would come from this plan? Nothing about that. It's all down in the dirty-gutter stuff with the Labor Party. That's where they are. They need to get out of there if they are going to be any chance of ever being in Administration in this city again.
Chairman: Further questions; Councillor WINES.
Councillor WINES: Thank you, Madam Chairman; my question is to the Chairman of the Brisbane Lifestyle Committee, Councillor ADAMS. This week is Hearing Awareness Week. According to the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics), around four million people, or 18.5 per cent of the population, reported having a disability in the year 2009. About five per cent have a significant hearing loss and approximately 30,000 people are totally deaf. I understand the Brisbane Lifestyle Division has implemented a number of significant initiatives for hearing impaired Brisbane residents and visitors to access and navigate their way around our beautiful city, the venues and the facilities here. Councillor ADAMS, can you please outline to the Chamber what these significant initiatives are, and explain how they assist people with hearing impairment?
Councillor ADAMS: Thank you, Madam Chairman, and I thank Councillor WINES for the question. With hearing impairment obviously affecting such a large proportion of the population, it comes in many various types of hearing impairment as well. It could be from a congenital impairment from birth, but it also could be from a condition or injury. What we actually find is that the most of our hearing loss comes from getting older or if you have a loud-noise injury to your ear drums.
But one-in-six Australians with hearing impairment means it is definitely something we need to consider when we are catering for the residents of Brisbane. We do just that by making sure that we are supporting Hearing Week by making sure that we are an accessible and inclusive city council for all of those, depending on your hearing loss and impairment.
We've got many projects that we work on. I'd like to outline some of those today. Our Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan specifically looks at hearing impairment, Auslan (Australian sign language) interpreters and hearing loops in as many facilities and venues as we can. Our partnership grants work with our community programs and organisations to do one-off projects within their groups to improve the situation for those with hearing impairment.
Our Active and Healthy program—one of the most popular and growing every year. We've got a range of activities and parks and locations across the city that cater for people with hearing impairments. It may be within our libraries and our new committee rooms that are all getting hearing loops as they get refurbished, or there are some that we actually have the Auslan interpreters, and we make it very clear on the website that they are available as well in different activities across the city.
We partner with people, specifically Deaf Services Queensland, to make sure we offer learning opportunities for computer classes in our libraries, with Auslan and English story times with some of our toddler times, and children's story times as well. We actually have a site in the Council information with a link on there to go through specifically when we hold those. What variety of languages other than English that we do the Auslan interpretation in as well.
We have enhanced our Access and Inclusion engagement processes by making sure we train up our staff to have the skills and abilities that they need to work with those that are hearing impaired and in the deaf community. We promote the day-to-day use of the Auslan and other interpreter services with our customers. That includes using the national relay service via our contact centre, if you are on the phone, as well as the ability for our customers to actually book an Auslan interpreter if they are having meetings with Council staff for whatever reason.
We have installed hearing loops, as I said before, in libraries and community halls. The halls at Zillmere, Wynnum, Upper Kedron, Sunnybank and Sandgate all have hearing loops, as do the libraries in Toowong, Brisbane Square, Mitchelton, Grange, Carindale and our newly refurbished Coopers Plains as well.
We have an accessible-information video which highlights some of the experiences of residents with diverse abilities, and details our plans for the future around this as well. Our CityCats feature hearing loops which allows passengers to make sure they are fully informed of the next stop or any other information that they may need while they're on our CityCats.
On Monday 18 August the LORD MAYOR and I were very proud to join government, industry and communication advocates to celebrate the International Communication Project 2014 at City Hall, being run by the Speech Pathology Australia. So that night we learned that 1.1 million Australians have trouble with communicating, and that may not necessarily be just about hearing impairment. This project is going to move forward in the next 12 months to really raise the awareness of communication disability, and that often very invisible but incredibly significant issue that takes in all of those aspects that we are trying to proudly support through Hearing Week.
As I said, we sponsored that program and first-hand heard from a local resident who was living with communication disabilities, and it makes you just realise how very lucky we are when we have our full faculties when it comes to communication.
Lastly I have to say we have a lot of tools for enhancing our Access and Inclusion within the engagement processes, and we are making sure, as we go through all our workshops, our materials, our templates and our planning for community consultation activities, that we totally take into account all different types of impairments, but I have to say, for this week, the attention is on Hearing Week, so please have a think about it and make sure that you as councillors are doing the right thing when it comes to communicating with those who are less fortunate. We are very proud to support this week. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Councillor DICK.
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. Have you or Councillor COOPER, or any of your staff, entered into secret negotiations with any current landowners in the Kurilpa Master Plan area to discuss any proposals to swap or sell at a reduced cost Council-owned land as an incentive to relocate existing businesses?
If so, in the interests of open and accountable government, will you publicly release today all documents and information relating to these behind closed doors dealings?
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, can I just say that on the day that this was launched, I made it clear that we would not be forcing out any landowners from that area. I also made it clear that the primary dealing in relation to landowners—and there's a significant number of large parcels in the Kurilpa site—remembering that this is an old former-industrial precinct where nearly half of the land is industrial based out of that 25 hectare site.
The State Government are the primary source in relation to the negotiations around any movement of those industries. That was made clear also on the day. So, Madam Chairman, that's where it's at. In terms of any meetings, Councillor DICK, that's something that I'd have to take on notice. I can't answer that here today.
Chairman: Further questions; Councillor HOWARD.
Councillor DICK: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Point of order; yes, Councillor DICK.
MOTION FOR SUSPENSION OF STANDING RULES:
At that juncture, Councillor Milton DICK moved, seconded by Councillor Helen ABRAHAMS, that the Standing Rules be suspended to allow the moving of the following motion
That this Council urgently calls on the Lord Mayor to release all documents on any negotiations with developers or current land owners within the draft Kurilpa Master Plan precinct. Chairman: Councillor DICK, you have three minutes to establish urgency, not to debate the motion.
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair. I move this motion today on behalf of the concerned residents right across the city regarding the Kurilpa Master Plan. It is urgent that we debate this immediately because I have asked the LORD MAYOR a series of questions regarding one of the most controversial developments in our city's history. In Question Time today I asked the LORD MAYOR directly: was he aware of any secret land deals, any land swaps that have been proposed? He has refused to answer it. Worse still, he has admitted he doesn't know if there are any land deals or any land swaps in place. That is not good government.
It is urgent because the ratepayers of this city deserve an explanation. It is simply not good enough to have a developers' lunch, to go out there and announce it, to exclude local residents, and not be honest with the facts.
I am deeply, deeply concerned that the LORD MAYOR also doesn't know if his Chairman of Neighbourhood Planning and Development Assessment or his own political staff have been involved with any negotiations with existing landholders or developers. That is simply not leadership. That is passing the buck.
We deserve an answer. The local councillor deserves an answer. More importantly, the community deserve a full and frank explanation from this LORD MAYOR who has just admitted today that there may be negotiations, secret land deals, secret land swaps regarding a windfall of potentially millions of dollars for developers in this city. It is simply not good enough. It is simply not good enough. If you've got nothing to hide, if there is no cover-up, you will debate this motion now and you will bring in as much information surrounding this as possible, not simply say, I don't know. The LORD MAYOR should know who the chairperson is meeting with.
Councillor MURPHY: Point of order, Madam Chairman.
Chairman: Point of order against you, Councillor DICK; yes, Councillor MURPHY.
Councillor MURPHY: Madam Chairman, this is not establishing urgency. I ask that you draw Councillor DICK back to establishing urgency.
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair. As a result of today's Question Time, there are numerous questions simply unanswered by this LNP (Liberal National Party) Council and what they have been up to. Residents deserve an explanation; the Council Chamber deserves an explanation; but more importantly, if they are true blue about open and accountable government, they will release documents, they will release information, and they will more importantly provide a full and frank explanation about exactly what's been going on at the Kurilpa Master Plan.
Not good enough to drop it out into the community; not good enough to exclude residents. More importantly, not good enough to hide the information from the people of Brisbane.
Chairman: I will put the motion for suspension of the Standing Rules in order for an urgency motion to be put.
The Chairman submitted the motion for the suspension of the Standing Rules to the Chamber and it was declared lost on the voices.
Thereupon, Councillors Milton DICK and Helen ABRAHAMS immediately rose and called for a division, which resulted in the motion being declared carried.
The voting was as follows:
AYES: 8 - The Leader of the OPPOSITION, Councillor Milton DICK, and Councillors Helen ABRAHAMS, Peter CUMMING, Kim FLESSER, Steve GRIFFITHS, Victoria NEWTON, Shayne SUTTON and Nicole JOHNSTON.
NOES: 19 - The Right Honourable the LORD MAYOR, Councillor Graham QUIRK, DEPUTY MAYOR, Councillor Adrian SCHRINNER, and Councillors Krista ADAMS, Matthew BOURKE, Amanda COOPER, Margaret de WIT, Vicki HOWARD, Steven HUANG, Fiona KING, Geraldine KNAPP, Kim MARX, Peter MATIC, Ian McKENZIE, David McLACHLAN, Ryan MURPHY, Angela OWEN-TAYLOR, Julian SIMMONDS, Andrew WINES and Norm WYNDHAM.
Chairman: Further questions; Councillor HOWARD.
Councillor HOWARD: Thank you, Madam Chairman; my question is to the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Planning and Development Assessment Committee, Councillor COOPER. The fourth of 12 Talk to a Planner sessions was recently held for City Plan 2014 right here in City Hall. Can you please provide an update to the Chamber on those sessions, as well as the feedback received from the community about how planning is being undertaken in our city?
Councillor COOPER: Thank you very much, Madam Chair, and I thank Councillor HOWARD for her question. I know you, Councillor HOWARD, through you, Madam Chair, have been a strong advocate for the role of planning in our city, as the local councillor, and certainly through the debate for new City Plan.
As we heard throughout that debate, new City Plan is about reducing red tape, putting the assessment criteria up front, helping residents have an opportunity to age-in-place amongst friends and family, and offer greater housing choice as well as improving affordability of housing in our city. Following on from that, on 30 June 2014, Brisbane City Plan formally commenced, following the largest single piece of planning review and reform undertaken by this Council in over a decade.
As part of that commencement, Council engaged with industry, with a week of information sessions, from 2 June to 6 June. Each day had five sessions with topics discussed ranging from the strategic framework, the Priority Infrastructure Plan, through to Infrastructure Design Planning Scheme policies, and biodiversity and waterways. From July, Council has also been offering a schedule of 12 Talk to a Planner sessions across the next six months in Brisbane.
We have seen four of those sessions already undertaken at Mt Gravatt and City Hall, with record attendees. I would also note the attendance of Councillor WINES, Councillor ADAMS and Councillor HOWARD at those particular events. On 17 July at Mt Gravatt, we are winning the record at this point of time at Mt Gravatt. We had 364 residents attend, and they received information about City Plan.
On 6 August we had two Talk to a Planner sessions at City Hall, and again had a really strong response with over 360 people coming along and finding more about how the plan applies to them. I also understand that Councillor ABRAHAMS attended the City Hall event where she was keen to find out more about dual occupancy. So a further endorsement there from a local councillor.
I also note we have also had Councillor ABRAHAMS already on the record endorsing the consultation of new City Plan, and I quote—this is a screen dump from her website, “These sessions are excellent if you have a specific question to be answered.” So the next Talk to a Planner session will be at The Gap on 4 September. October sessions will be out there at Wynnum, and we'll be going to Chermside in November—I am sure Councillor KING will be along to join me—and we will be then back to City Hall for Christmas in the beautiful City Hall. So certainly a big schedule ahead of us.
While we are out there talking to the community, it is also important to reflect on some of the pretty disappointing feedback we have had in relation to planning from the Australian Labor Party. I've got an email that was sent to an ALP councillor by a constituent, and I quote from that: “I received a letter from the Lord Mayor”—and it goes on to say, “This letter outlines that the Council intends to deliver on the Neighbourhood Plan.” Further, it says, “The public meeting that was held in your office on Saturday 9 November was an exemplar of the unbalanced position that the community has had in this discussion. The community voice was not on the agenda.”
I continue to quote, “Comments that you made at the meeting, such as 'the plan isn't a Bible to follow to the T' suggests a negotiation and impermanence to the plan. I find it deeply disturbing that our local councillor would take action to put community benefit in jeopardy in favour of private profit for the property owner.” Who would be the councillor that was being referenced by that constituent? Who could it possibly be?
Chairman: Order! Order!
Councillor COOPER: I would suggest that it was the Councillor for the Gabba Ward who was very clearly—
Councillor COOPER: —very clearly encouraging development to occur on a site that Council felt was appropriate to be held as a public park. So it makes it very, very clear; the spurious arguments from the Australian Labor Party. When the rubber hits the road, when they are actually put to the test, their own constituents criticise them for failure to do the right thing by their constituents and be upfront and insist that these outcomes are delivered.
I've also got Councillor DICK who seems to be conducting a range of public meetings about development applications, that he hasn't even bothered to make a comment on to the Council officers. In fact, he held a public meeting about an application—
Chairman: Councillor DICK!
Councillor DICK: She's wrong.
Chairman: Councillor DICK! If you continue to interject, you'll be warned.
Councillor COOPER: I would suggest if Councillor DICK had been upfront with his constituents, he would have read out the information request which specifically said Council had serious objections to one of these particular proposals and suggested that the application be withdrawn. But he was happy to have a public meeting—
Chairman: Councillor COOPER, your time has expired.
Councillor COOPER: —and stir up community angst.
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair; my question is to the LORD MAYOR.
Chairman: Councillor DICK, you haven't been called yet.
Councillor DICK: Oh!
Chairman: Further questions; Councillor DICK.
Councillor DICK; Thank you, Madam Chair; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. Former Labor planning chairperson secured a 2.6 hectare park for the 7,200 additional residents as part of the Newstead Riverpark development, and a two hectare riverside park for an additional 2,300 residents as part of the Bulimba's urban renewal, yet your Kurilpa Master Plan provides a mere 1.3 hectares for more than 12,500 new residents. Doesn't this show that you and the LNP are prepared to put developers' profits ahead of ensuring there is sufficient community parkland for the future?
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, to suggest that is just a nonsense. There is going to be, within this draft plan, a very significant amount of river-front parkland, and it is outlined there in the plan itself for everyone to see. There is also a proposed one hectare piece of parkland within that as well. The graphics are there for people to see.
LORD MAYOR: They are littered throughout the document. There is an area of parkland there, for example. So this is an area that already does have a fairly significant amount of parkland. It is, of course, an area which has the South Bank Parklands not far away as well. So, Madam Chairman, let's face it: this is inner-city living we are talking about. It is a precinct that will have a very significant amount in it.
Chairman: Councillor ABRAHAMS!
LORD MAYOR. It is a draft. So, rather than sort of have a say here, why don't you put a submission in, Councillor DICK? That's the formal way in which we ask people to do it now. We know that might be too much work for Councillor DICK, Madam Chairman, but the reality is that let us not forget—
LORD MAYOR: When he is talking about these things, I note that the former Government were going to create South Bank 2 along there. Surely, Madam Chairman, Councillor DICK, are you suggesting that no government official was talking to any of those businesses located along that riverfront corridor? I assume the fact that they announced before the election that that was going to be South Bank 2—
Councillor DICK: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Point of order against you, LORD MAYOR; yes, Councillor DICK.
Councillor DICK: Madam Chair, the question about secret land deals was my last question. I am not mentioning that this question; I am particularly asking the LORD MAYOR—and he hasn't answered the question—about is he putting developers' profits ahead of ensuring there is enough parkland?
Chairman: The question is fairly offensive, Councillor DICK, and I think the LORD MAYOR is doing his best to answer it. LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, it is an offensive question, but it is not an unexpected question, because this is Councillor DICK's modus operandi every week, to come in here and simply paint innuendo, paint suggestions. The fact that he comes in here today to suggest that I should know—
LORD MAYOR: —every appointment of every staff member of every Cabinet colleague. Could he get up here today and tell me each of the appointments that members of his Council have had in the last week?
LORD MAYOR: No. I bet he can't.
LORD MAYOR: It would be a nonsense.
Chairman: Councillor JOHNSTON!
LORD MAYOR: It would be a nonsense. Look, again, he is on about these simply questions from an Opposition point of view. This is about developing—
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, this is about developing a city which will be a leading city, an emerging global city, and of course the Labor Party aren't interested in any of that. They're interested in union votes to select who will be sitting in this Chamber. They're the things they're interested in. They're interested in that. They're not interested, though, in advancing this city.
LORD MAYOR: Well, it's not. Now, you see when it's on the other foot—
Chairman: Councillor SUTTON!
LORD MAYOR: When it's on the other foot, they hate it. They hate it.
LORD MAYOR: We want to talk about the issues affecting the people of Brisbane. This plan is out for public consultation. If you don't like the fact of the amount of parkland that's in it, if you don't like the fact that there is going to be a full riverside section of parkland along one side, joining in with other riverside parkland like Orleigh Park—
Chairman: Just a minute, LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: Like Davies Park—
Chairman: LORD MAYOR, just a moment. Councillor SUTTON, I have already warned you that if you continue to interject, you would be warned.
Warning – Councillor SUTTON
The Chairman then formally warned Councillor SUTTON that that unless she desisted from interjecting she would be suspended from the service of the Council for a period of up to eight days. Furthermore, Councillor SUTTON was warned that, if she were suspended from the service of the Council, she would be excluded from the Council Chamber, ante-Chamber, public gallery and other meeting places for the period of suspension.
Chairman: LORD MAYOR.
LORD MAYOR: My plea to the Labor Party, and indeed to every member of the public, is to lodge a submission in relation to your ideas about the Kurilpa plan. It is only then that we can make a proper assessment of what final plan we will have. I have set no date in terms of when the final plan will be in place, quite simply, because we want to wait, see what the submissions are relative to this plan, on parkland, on every other aspect of the plan, and then have a good look at those submissions and make some judgment calls in relation to that plan for the future.
I just say this: Councillor ABRAHAMS, this is a good plan. It is a plan which is a great starting point for discussion, and it is a plan which will see again some real opportunities to blend with the cultural precinct that already exists. It is in a well located, well connected part of the city, and it is worthy of debate.