Speeches

Moorooka Bowls Club

June 23, 2021

The Moorooka bowls club is a well-known facility in my electorate. In May 2019, after half a century of entertaining fans, providing a social hub for the community and training elite players, the Moorooka bowls club was, sadly, forced to close its doors. Boomers don't bowl as much. The story of a bowls club closing down is a common story across Australia. Some lawn bowls places are thriving in some suburbs, but some suburbs struggle to keep up with the interests of the changing demographics. You'd think that I would be standing here two years on with some good news to share; unfortunately, I am not.

Since the closure, the Moorooka bowls club has become the subject of many complaints from my community—complaints about the overgrown grounds and the absence of any maintenance. This is a club that once served as a host for the 1982 Commonwealth Games lawn bowls, an event of immense pride to many associated with the club. In fact, Queen Elizabeth visited, and there is a plaque on the wall commemorating that.

Just a few months ago it was reported that the Brisbane City Council had made an agreement with the new lessee for the club—a not-for-profit group, keen to open the facilities up to local groups and residents. But to get the club up and running and to turn it into a viable, active community hub for everyone to enjoy and make use of takes a lot of effort. I'm disappointed to report that there has been limited progress made because the LNP Brisbane City Council has refused to take responsibility for handing over a facility in good condition. The Liberal Lord Mayor is expecting a not-for-profit group to take on the cost of updating the facility at a cost of between $500,000 and $600,000.

But let me point out that, in a neighbouring LNP ward, the Runcorn Ward, they were happy to spend over $1 million to give the Sunnybank bowls club a renovation after it became vacant. This really is a tale of two wards, because it seems that, in a Labor ward, the council expect you to take on a facility with leaking pipes, rotting floorboards, an outdated kitchen and non-accessible toilets, in addition to a range of other issues requiring maintenance, both internally and externally, and to find, magically, $600,000 to pay for it! The Moorooka bowls club is a Brisbane City Council community facility that is owned by residents—by ratepayers. It should be maintained by the BCC. It's unreasonable to expect a not-for-profit community group to repair and renovate council facilities. It's also unreasonable to upgrade facilities in some wards but not in others. Certainly the Moorooka Ward and the Tennyson Ward seem to be being deliberately neglected by the Liberal Lord Mayor.

Just a few weeks ago, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner's conservative team voted against funding the renovation of this historic Moorooka bowls club, a great facility. It seems like they would play politics and see this important community facility remain unused and idle and, potentially, dangerous. Shame on the Liberal Lord Mayor! I did expect better from Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.

ON YOUR SIDE