20 October 2022
The Hon Steven Miles
Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
Lodged online via: www.planning.dsdmip.qld.gov.au
Submission for MID-0722-0622 - South Brisbane Greek Orthodox Community of St George Community Precinct
Dear Deputy Premier,
I’m writing in relation to the proposed MID at the South Brisbane Greek Orthodox Community of St George Community Precinct.
I firstly wanted to start by acknowledging the important role the local Greek community has played here in West End for over a hundred years. Without them and other local migrant communities, West End wouldn’t be the vibrant, diverse and community-focused suburb it is today. I also appreciate the time and effort the Greek Orthodox Community of St George has put into proactively reaching out to my office and others about this proposal.
However, I wanted to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the concerns that local constituents have raised with me regarding this application. I draw your attention to the following major concerns with this proposal:
Due to the proximity of this development to the Brisbane State High School, the nearby streets already experience heavy traffic and congestion during school pick-up and drop-off times. Local residents have expressed concern about what adding almost 300 additional cars to the area during school pick-up and drop-off will do to these already heavily congested streets.
It’s also worth noting that private schools tend to generate more traffic than local state schools, as students are less likely to live in the nearby area, meaning they are less likely to walk or cycle to school. These 300 additional journeys during peak times will not only add to the congestion on nearby streets but on the key arterial roads coming in and out of South Brisbane.
This proposal will also remove 14 on-street parking spaces on Besant Street and Edmondstone Street, reducing the availability of nearby parking for small local businesses on Browning Street, Russell Street and Boundary Street.
Displacement of low-income residents
This development will involve knocking down two existing blocks of low-cost units at 26 and 28 Browning St. Due to the ongoing gentrification of West End and South Brisbane, older, low-cost units like these are becoming increasingly rare. If this development goes ahead, the current tenants, many of whom are New Australians and people with low-or-fixed incomes, will struggle to find affordable housing in the nearby area and will be forced to leave their local community. In the middle of a housing crisis, I hold grave concerns for the well-being of these residents and hope that the Greek Orthodox Community of St George and state government will work to assist these residents in finding appropriate, affordable accommodation elsewhere in the neighbourhood, should the MID proceed.
Deep planting and green space
Brisbane will be facing increased temperatures due to climate change. To keep the city habitable, we reduce the amount of concrete ground cover while providing ample green space and deep planted trees in all new developments. I’m concerned about the lack of green space and deep planting in this proposal.
The nearby Musgrave Park is a heavily-used green space. Musgrave Park is already struggling to accommodate the fast-growing population of the local area, without the additional demands of a new school that will seemingly need to rely heavily on Musgrave Park for green space.
Height limits and lack of adherence to the neighbourhood plan
The proposal for an eight-storey building exceeds the height limits stipulated in the South Brisbane riverside neighbourhood plan code. For sites “in the Boundary and Vulture precinct (South Brisbane riverside neighbourhood plan/NPP-003) and in the area bound by Edmondstone, Vulture, O’Connell and Russell streets”, the height limit outlined in the neighbourhood plan is six-storeys, including for “Development of a site in the High density residential zone”. The proposals exceed this.
MID processes are undemocratic
I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate my concerns regarding the Ministerial Infrastructure Designation framework. While I understand the purpose of the designation for community infrastructure, the process adopted under the Planning Act 2016 now allows for private entities to construct a development (listed under Schedule 5 of the Planning Regulation 2017).
I am concerned that these processes, once reserved for essential public infrastructure, can be used for other infrastructure, including private entities. I understand that the Greek Orthodox Community of St George is keen to contribute to education infrastructure and I am mindful of the capacity pressures facing local state primary schools. New private schools in an area can have a big effect on the local community. Currently, in West End, there is only a state primary school. If residents want to send their children to school in the local area they need to send them to the state school, regardless of their socioeconomic status. This plays an important role in community cohesion and goes someway to prevent the injustices of a two-tier education system. Before changing these community dynamics, there needs to be genuine community consultation and democratic participatory planning. The MID process is contrary to this. It circumvents the planning scheme and other local instruments, undermining opportunities for residents and other stakeholders to have a meaningful say in the future of their neighbourhoods.
Please do not hesitate to contact the South Brisbane electorate office on 07 3724 9100 if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail.
Member for South Brisbane