I write to you in advance of the upcoming State Budget regarding priorities for investment in the South Brisbane electorate, with a particular focus on jobs, housing, schools and infrastructure for the South Brisbane electorate.
I’m lucky to represent a diverse, vocal and motivated community. These priorities have been determined based on ongoing, in-depth engagement with the South Brisbane community, including forums, pop-up offices, market stalls, community meetings and correspondence from community members.
On behalf of South Brisbane, I request that the government fund the following priorities in the 2021/22 budget:
Local infrastructure and parkland
Expand funding commitment for the Kangaroo Point Riverwalk: The state government has already committed $22.5 million towards completing the Kangaroo Point Riverwalk. However, I understand that this falls well short of the true cost of delivering the riverwalk, and in correspondence from the Lord Mayor, I was informed that Brisbane City Council (BCC) does not intend to contribute funds to this essential project. We urge the state government to increase their funding commitment to this project, and to work collaboratively with the BCC to ensure this project goes ahead.
Allocate funding for East Brisbane State School expansion: East Brisbane State School has been reaching capacity for many years and are waiting for funding and a timeframe for when construction on a new school building will begin. In addition, East Brisbane State School will be severely impacted by plans to rebuild the Gabba Stadium for the proposed Olympic Games. As such, I urge the government to allocate funding towards measures to ensure the ongoing functioning of the school, including acquiring land to the east of Wellington Road for a potential second campus, and funds for in-depth consultation with the school and school community.
Allocate funding for new infrastructure for Narbethong State Special School: Narbethong State Special School in Woolloongabba provides specialist teaching for students with vision impairment. Many of their buildings, built in the 1970s, are no longer appropriate for the safety and dignity of students and staff. As the school has been identified as a priority under the Building Future Schools program, I urge the government to allocate funds in the 2021-22 Budget and expedite plans for new, safe infrastructure for the school.
Acquire land at 281 and 299 Montague Road to expand Davies Park: Davies Park is a much-loved and well-used park in West End, an area which has a growing population and limited green space. I call on the government to work with BCC to acquire land at 281 and 299 Montague Road, in order to expand Davies Park for the benefit of all Brisbane residents. The site was at one stage floated as a potential location for Brisbane South State Secondary College, but would now serve as an ideal location for expanded greenspace.
Funding allocation for Gabba Cross River Rail Station precinct: The Gabba will soon be home to a new, much-needed Cross River Rail station and surrounding precinct. While the development scheme for the Priority Development Area has been delayed, the government has made a number of commitments to the site, which should be reflected in the upcoming budget. In particular, a commitment to a minimum of 50% greenspace and affordable housing. In addition, funding should be allocated for additional community infrastructure that would be ideal to locate on this publicly-owned land, including, but not limited to: public housing; a public swimming pool; community and arts facilities; and sports facilities.
Acquiring and restoring the historic Lamb House, in collaboration with the BCC: The historic Lamb House is an important part of the Kangaroo Point community. In 2020, the State Government indicated that they were willing to work with BCC to hold the property in trust, for the ongoing enjoyment of Queenslanders. We urge the state government to come to the table with funds to ensure this can happen. With the prospect of the 2032 Olympics, and the major stadium just around the corner at the Gabba, Lamb House should be restored for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Acquiring and restoring the historic Broadway Hotel: In the heart of Woolloongabba, the Broadway Hotel has been the victim of weak heritage laws from both the state government and council. Similarly, the Broadway Hotel is just a few blocks away from the new Cross River Rail station site, and the potential site of the 2032 Olympic Games. A restored Broadway Hotel could house a community centre, a cafe, arts facilities, and an information centre, which could be a valuable asset during the Olympic Games. Conversely, it will be unacceptable to have a derelict and unsafe site so close to the Gabba Stadium.
Active and public transport
Funding to expand the 192 bus service: The 192 bus service runs between the CBD and the University of Queensland in St Lucia, servicing a section of West End and Highgate Hill that otherwise has limited public transport options. An expansion of the 192 service would be an affordable and easy way to ease chronic traffic congestion in the area, and in particular take pressure off Dornoch Terrace. I urge the government to work with the BCC, and allocate funding to run the 192 service every 15 minutes, until 10pm, 7 days a week.
Introduce an East-West CityGlider from Bulimba to West End: Our neighbourhood is severely lacking in cross-suburb public transport links, with existing bus routes funnelling people via busy interchanges, including the Cultural Centre. A high-frequency East-West Bus route from Bulimba to West End would help ease congestion along the Wynnum/Lytton Road corridor and along Vulture Street, as well as linking people to the future Gabba Cross River Rail station.
Introduce a North-South CityGlider from Annerley, through Kangaroo Point to Bowen Hills: Kangaroo Point is an ever-growing suburb that is severely lacking in high frequency bus services. This route would fill one of the biggest gaps in inner-city Brisbane’s transport network, and would also connect thousands of Kangaroo Point residents with the new Cross River Rail Station at the Gabba.
Bring forward funding for the Montague Road Study to 2022: Funding of $1 million was allocated in the 2020/21 budget for a corridor study of Montague Road, included as indicative in 2022-23 to 2023-24. Given the pressing safety issues along Montague Road, I urge the government to bring forward this funding to ensure that a study can begin as soon as possible.
Cycling infrastructure: We welcome the commitment in the 2020/21 budget for $10 million towards cycle infrastructure in South Brisbane. Along with Gabba Ward Cr Jonathan Sri, we’re calling on the government to commit specific funding in this budget to protected bike lanes along Vulture Street as a high safety priority for cyclists in the inner-south side.
Funding for local services and organisations
Deliver secure and ongoing funding for the Mater Refugee Complex Care Clinic: The Mater Refugee Complex Care Clinic and the Integrated Refugee Health Service provide vital care to people from refugee backgrounds, with a particular focus on those people without access to Medicare. I’m calling on the government to ensure this service has secure and adequate funding.
Funding share for Eating Disorders Queensland: Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ), based in South Brisbane, offers support and treatment for individuals living with and recovering from an eating disorder, as well as support for their carers and loved ones. I understand that the Federal Government has allocated $27 million worth of funding for treatment of eating disorders, which will be distributed via the states. I call on the government to ensure that EDQ gets a share of this funding, in particular to fund support for clients who need an immediate response, via their evidence-based FREED program. Further, in response to the initiatives announced by the federal government, EDQ has also expressed that if funding is available, they are very willing and able to provide ‘day programs.’
Increased funding for community centres, including West End Community House: In line with calls from the Queensland Community Alliance, I call on the government to increase funding to independent, local, place-based community Neighbourhood Centres, recognising the vital role they play in supporting vulnerable communities. West End Community House does amazing work in community development. They build social connections, supply emergency food relief, and provide access to healthcare and social-service referrals. In collaboration with 98.9FM Radio Station, they have revitalised the People’s Park on Boundary Street, creating a safe, inclusive space, particularly for First Nations people, with art, music and a kiosk. I call on the government to increase funding for all neighbourhood community centres.
Funding for Community Friends: Community Friends are a remarkable organisation that provide food relief to people across Brisbane. They host a regular food bank at Bunyapa Park in West End, as well as dropping food hampers to international students, and to residents in public housing, at times at the request of the Department of Housing. For these reasons, we urge the government to support Community Friends with ongoing funding, including funding to acquire a refrigerated van.
Revenue and state-wide funding
My colleague Michael Berkman MP and I have also written to you regarding requests for essential statewide investment including social housing, free public transport, fully funded public education, and a free breakfast and lunch program in every state school. I have also written to the Minister for Women regarding funding for women’s services, and domestic and family violence services.
The local and statewide priorities we have outlined could easily be funded by making big corporations pay more state-based taxes, rather than cutting public services, or forcing everyday people to make more sacrifices as we recover from the pandemic. These should include raising mining royalties, levying the biggest four banks in Queensland, and introducing a developer tax.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to outline the above priorities on behalf of my electorate, and hope you will give them due consideration. I wish you well in your final preparations for the budget. If you would like to discuss any of the priorities listed here, please do not hesitate to get in touch on (07) 3724 9100.
Member for South Brisbane