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No to 90 Storeys - Yes to Sustainable Planning

The LNP Brisbane City Council have plans for towers as high as 90 storeys in the ‘Kurilpa Precinct’ - the yellow area in the map below. It looks as though they are using the Olympics as a way to cram through unsustainable development that benefits property developers, and their mates in Labor and the LNP.

How would this zoning change happen?

According to our local city councillor, there are a few ways this change could be made, which each involve different levels of public consultation:

  • The council could introduce a Temporary Local Planning Instrument to change height limits and other development rules, which can stay in effect for up to 2 years.

  • The council could amend the City Plan, either by introducing a new Neighbourhood Plan or changing the existing Neighbourhood Plan.

  • The State Government can declare a Priority Development Area (PDA) to rewrite all the planning rules for the precinct and completely override the council’s City Plan.

We’ve seen PDAs used recently for the Queens Wharf Casino and the Cross River Rail sites (and surrounding streets). It's a highly undemocratic tool used to cram through often controversial projects. You can read my thoughts on the expanded Woolloongabba PDA here


What's wrong with 90 storeys? Don't we need more housing supply?

90 storey towers are energy intensive, unsustainable, divide communities and drive up land values, making housing even more unaffordbale.

The Kurilpa Peninsula is also a flood zone - developing huge residential towers in a flood zone puts people, their goods and lives at risk.

Our roads, parks, public transport, and schools are already buckling under decades of underinvestment - without a huge amount of investment back into the neighbourhood, we are not going to be able to handle this kind of growth.

And while we're often told that new developments will bring down the cost of housing, for West End, this has not been the case. Nearly half of renting households are under housing stress in South Brisbane. Similarly, in West End, almost 60 per cent of households are renting, and almost 30 per cent are in housing stress. And that’s from the 2021 census - things have only worsened since then. Despite the vast wave of developments in the neighbourhood, we will continue to see working families, students, young workers, and migrants pushed out of the area. BCC and the state government’s claims that new luxury towers will ease affordability is nothing but spin for their developer mates.


How would this impact the community?

This community is jaded from the last decade of luxury developments that have swept through our neighbourhood. These developments have often come with the promise of new infrastructure and better housing affordability - but this has not happened. These have been blatant lies from property developers and governments.

We now have congested sidestreets and the nightmare that is Montague Road. Our schools are bursting at the seams. Our public and active transport systems are struggling to cope. And despite the claims of the Mayor and wealthy property developers, rents continue to skyrocket in the area.

Medium-density developments (like we see in a lot of European cities) can contribute to walkable neighbourhoods with more ground-level activation and vibrant streetscapes, in a way that high-density 90-storey mega-towers cannot.

What does the community really need?

I think what this community really needs is a sustainable approach to planning that puts the community first.
We need:
  • Medium-density, mixed-use developments that build communities - not break them
  • More public housing
  • A two-year rent freeze, followed by rent caps, to make renting affordable
  • Inclusionary zoning that requires all new developments to have 25% public housing
  • Expanded parkland 
  • Banning any new residential developments on flood plains
  • More buses and ferry terminals, bike lanes and walkable streets
  • Mandated requriements for meaningful community consultation for new developments
  • Requring all mixed-use and multi-dwelling developments to be 'impact accessable'
  • An Empty Homes levy to bring the thousands of empty homes in the neighbourhood back into the rental market