Over the last decade South Brisbane has experienced a development boom without the infrastructure to keep up. Developers have been allowed to ignore height limits and boundary setbacks and to build higher and wider right across the neighbourhood, and the community is fed up. Developers have made huge profits while investment in local infrastructure has lagged. The community has had to fight for crucial infrastructure, active transport, safe pedestrian routes and green space. Investment in public housing is dismal and big sections of our public transport system remain inaccessible for people with disabilities.
Our community is fighting yet again. We are fighting for frequent and free public transport and an urgent upgrade to the 192 bus service. The 192 runs between the CBD and UQ. It is one of the only buses that services sections of Highgate Hill. Despite massive population growth, the service has not seen a significant upgrade to services in around 15 years. The state government funds public transport and both the Brisbane City Council and the government are responsible for timetabling. If the council wants to add stops or add more services to the route, it needs support and increased funding from the state government. That is why I am tabling this petition here today and my colleague Jonathan Sri, councillor for the Gabba ward, will be tabling it in council.
Tabled paper: Nonconforming petition regarding improvement to No. 192 bus service .
The government has said that we cannot afford free public transport, forgetting the huge amounts of money Queensland could be gathering from taxing big corporations. In a wealthy state like Queensland, free public transport is well within reach and would be a powerful tool for tackling inequality and climate change and getting more people onto public transport. As we have seen in other parts of the world, free public transport systems are incredibly popular.
The government has also said that buses such as the 192, which is one of the only buses that services Highgate Hill, are poorly used. It is forgetting that if you make services frequent and allow them
to run when people need them, including on nights and weekends, people will use those services in droves. The proof is in the hundreds of people who have been helping to fight for a decent 192 service. 954 community members signed the petition calling for the 192 to include weekend services, night services and turn-up-and-go services at least every 15 minutes. Last month, a busload of people travelled on the 192, heading from Montague Road to our local Eritrean restaurant, Mu’ooz. People from all walks of life joined us: pensioners, students, parents, professionals and people with disabilities.
We were joined by Brendan Donohue, an amazing young man. Brendan is blind. He has been pushing for an accessible and active public transport system. He talked about how valuable a decent 192 service would be to him and others in the community. The rubber has truly hit the road on the free ride the state government has given to property developers. It is time we matched the infrastructure with the need in South Brisbane and funded public transport to get our community where it needs to go.