Nathan, Salisbury and Moorooka Draft Neighbourhood Plan

November 08, 2022

I rise to speak in support of the many residents of Nathan, Salisbury and Moorooka who attended the recent public meeting at the Clubhouse Moorooka organised by a local Brisbane City councillor, Steve Griffiths. I declare upfront that I've been a resident of Moorooka for nearly two decades. Over 350 people attended the meeting, most committed to wanting to stop LNP Lord Mayor Schrinner's plans to allow the destruction of character homes, as set out in his draft Nathan, Salisbury, Moorooka Neighbourhood Plan.

The LNP lord mayor's proposal to build three- and five-storey apartments across large areas of Salisbury and Moorooka has caused significant concern in my local community. These leafy suburbs are right in the middle of Moreton and are within eight to 12 kilometres of the Brisbane CBD. The suburbs are filled with beautiful Queenslanders, large backyards and greenery. There are a number of issues to consider with the changes in the land management and land use around these three neighbourhoods, which developers have described as a goldmine. If the plan goes ahead then it will allow for up-zoning in areas where current character homes exist. When an area is rezoned, it loses its protection of those character homes built before World War II. This means that those homes can be removed and/or demolished to make way for new multistorey developments. Up-zoning will mean loss of backyards and greater density. Some of these houses have survived for over 100 years, but they may not survive Lord Mayor Schrinner's neighbourhood plan, because his plan could allow developers to demolish Queenslanders.

Don't get me wrong; the residents who attended the meeting are not against sensible density. However, they believe that you don't have to destroy character homes to make way for density, and they've also nominated other sites closer to the railway station where higher density homes could be built. What they do believe is that you can have density without destroying the character of a suburb. Residents don't feel as if they are being heard by the LNP dominated council. This draft neighbourhood plan, Schrinner's plan, received one of the highest number of submissions compared to any other plan, and the overall message from my residents is that they want to preserve character homes.

Residents also viewed the consultation process as flawed. Brisbane City Council do not hold public meetings where all residents receive an invitation. Rather, they consult a selective group of around 30 people who are selected by the LNP dominated council, with no apparent guidelines as to how these residents are selected. The local councillor, Steve Griffiths, a long-serving councillor, is not allowed to speak during these consultations. Mr Speaker, do you know who is allowed to speak? The members of the Better Suburbs Initiative Board. This is a group whose role, according to the Brisbane City Council website, is 'to investigate opportunities for renewal in suburbs that are outside the city's inner five kilometres'. That sounds like code for 'development'. The members of this board are selected and appointed by the Liberal lord mayor. Some members of this board are from the development community, and some are affiliated with the lord mayor's political party. They get paid around $200,000 a year, and these board members apparently meet directly with council planners to talk about what they want to see in Nathan, Salisbury and Moorooka. While the minutes of the meetings with the 30 residents are online, there are no minutes of the board's meetings online. Where is the accountability and transparency? A secret board who have a say about our suburbs—it's outrageous. The Brisbane City Council should not be an organisation for only developers. The Brisbane City Council should be an organisation for the residents of my suburbs. It's extremely unfair that residents have a limited say in what happens in their own neighbourhood.

At the meeting I attended, the following resolutions were overwhelmingly agreed by residents. They want the Brisbane City Council to maintain and protect all existing character homes under the Nathan, Salisbury and Moorooka draft neighbourhood plan. They want sensible and sustainable development that is genuinely shaped by residents' feedback. They want the Brisbane City Council to commit to additional and upgraded services infrastructure such as more green space, a library, more community spaces, and connected and safe bikeways and footpaths. That's what the residents want. They also want transparency in the decisions made that affect where and how they live. This is not too much to ask, and I support the residents who attended that meeting, led by Councillor Steve Griffiths. I know that sensible development will need to take place in an Olympic city, but surely the Liberal lord mayor and his council, rather than relying on the advice given to him by the former member for Moreton appointed to that secret committee meeting, could go to the people of Brisbane—talk to them, hear their points of view—and have a development that reflects the views of the community rather than having something imposed on them by the Liberal lord mayor, Adrian Schrinner.