My community of South Brisbane will be the epicentre for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. There are huge benefits in terms of infrastructure, public transport, jobs and culture, but I am worried that the government is completely overlooking the social impacts.
This week local residents have started fighting back against the Palaszczuk government’s Olympics juggernaut. East Brisbane and Kangaroo Point locals have launched a petition to save Raymond Park, a key piece of green space on the south side, from becoming an Olympics warm-up track. It is not just green space that the Olympics are threatening; locals risk losing their amenity, the right to enjoy their suburb and even their housing security. The petition sets out how fast the neighbourhood is growing and what this density means for people to access green space near their homes. After the COVID lockdown we know how crucial this is.
For so many locals, Raymond Park is effectively their backyard and it is vital to people’s mental health and wellbeing. Off the back of zero consultation, the government has proposed replacing Raymond Park with a warm-up track, cutting off locals’ access to the dog off-leash park, the community gardens, the soccer club, the basketball, cricket and skateboard facilities, and spaces to hold children’s basketball parties and barbecues. It is naive to think that this will only last two weeks for a major bit of infrastructure.
What is the government’s plan to ensure that locals have decent, accessible green space? It is not just the lack of green space; it is noise and dust from construction and traffic. Again, off the back of zero consultation, East Brisbane State School is facing the tearing down and rebuilding of the Gabba stadium right next door. What is the government’s plan to support the East Brisbane State School community? It seems that the government would prefer the school community drifts away to surrounding schools which, for a growing neighbourhood, is unacceptable. I am pushing for the school to get the upgrades they need to thrive over the next decade and beyond and for the school community to have a seat at the decision-making table.
Wow, where do I even start when it comes to housing affordability? The ABC recently reported that the median house price in Brisbane will tip a million dollars well before 2032. We saw this with Expo 88 when house prices rose over 238 per cent 11 years before the event.
(Honourable members interject.)
I seem to have touched a nerve. Housing affordability and rental vacancies in Brisbane are already putting people in my electorate in an unprecedented hard position, forcing people out of the neighbourhood. I am concerned about people who are already facing housing insecurity and people who are homeless. What is the government’s plan to ensure that no Queenslanders are homeless by the time the Olympics roll around and people are not being forced out of their neighbourhoods because of the games? What are the government’s plans to ensure we truly have an Olympics for everyone, not just the fat cats calling the shots?