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Priority Development Areas

On Thursday 12 October 2023, I spoke against Labor's Priority Development Areas.

Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are undemocratic planning tools used to ram through controversial developments - just like the Gabba rebuild.

You can read my speech below, or find the full transcript and video link in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).


One hundred and six hectares of Woolloongabba and East Brisbane have been declared a priority development area by the Deputy Premier. Priority development areas are an undemocratic planning tool used to ram through controversial developments—in this case, the $2.7 billion Gabba stadium rebuild. Given the growing opposition to the Gabba rebuild, which will come at the cost of East Brisbane State School and Raymond Park, it is no wonder that Labor is willing to slap a PDA over the area, to shut out the local community and grease the wheels for the property developers and the Olympics juggernaut. PDAs override local planning rules, and community consultation is next to zero. This huge section of our neighbourhood is now at the whim of the Deputy Premier and his property developer mates. The Deputy Premier might want to boost his own property portfolio with luxury apartments, but what this community needs is parks, schools and public housing.

The government have backflipped on their promise of 50 per cent parkland in the Gabba PDA, instead committing to 50 per cent open space. Open space can include paved walkways, concrete plazas and public buildings. The interim plan commits to at least two hectares of concrete between the station and the stadium. That is about six King George Squares of hot, hostile concrete—a far cry from the parkland that we were promised and that we need. 

Other PDAs are facing huge community opposition, with ongoing protests against the Toondah Harbour PDA, which would see apartments built on globally significant wetlands, and the Ripley Valley PDA, which has seen years of occupation by First Nations communities to protect sacred sites, koala habitat and a potential massacre site.

The Deputy Premier is in fine form when it comes to ignoring local communities. This week the Deputy Premier approved the LNP city council’s Kurilpa temporary local planning instrument that allows the LNP city council to override local planning rules and approve buildings of unlimited height in a flood zone. I table this pictorial depiction of Labor and the LNP working hand in hand—the political wing of the property developers.

Last week I met with a group of refugees from the Tamil Diaspora Association of Queensland who are fighting for permanent protection for all refugees. They are on their way to Canberra to meet with Refugee Women Action for Visa Equality, a group of Sri Lankan and Iranian women who are walking from Melbourne to Canberra to raise the alarm about refugees who have been refused permanent protection visas by this Labor government. Some of these Tamil refugees do not have work rights and are not able to access free education or health care. They described their situation to me as akin to torture. Despite Labor’s insistence, they are unable to return to their home countries. The Greens call for permanent protection for all refugees in limbo and immediate evacuation of refugees stranded on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. To the women from Sri Lanka and Iran who are heading on foot to Canberra as we speak, we thank you for your strength and bravery. The Greens are proud to stand with you.

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