20 July 2023
Submission regarding Brisbane City Council’s TLPI 01/23 Kurilpa Sustainable Growth Precinct proposal
The Brisbane City Council has recently submitted the TLPI 01/23 Kurilpa Sustainable Growth Precinct to you. As the local state member, I am writing to ask that the Deputy Premier use his ministerial powers as set out in the Planning Act 2016 to block this TLPI, and find genuine long-term ways to increase affordable housing supply in South Brisbane.
Our state is in the midst of a housing crisis. While we desperately need to increase the supply of affordable housing in Queensland, we also know that supply alone will not bring down the cost of housing. South Brisbane especially knows that fact - while our neighbourhoods have experienced an enormous influx of apartments in the past decade, South Brisbane has also experienced some of the steepest rent increases in the state. Our neighbourhoods have also seen some of the worst profiteering by developers, with supply deliberately drip-fed to the community to increase profits.
And while we've seen rapid development in our neighbourhoods, we have not seen a match in increased public infrastructure developments.
For a decade now, our South Brisbane neighbourhoods have experienced rapid development and an influx of new apartment blocks, yet we’ve also seen some of the steepest rent increases in Queensland and have high levels of housing stress. Instead of seeing genuinely affordable housing and public housing being built in South Brisbane, we see multinational developers and wealthy property investors swoop in with high-end apartments, luxury penthouses, and huge rents that working people cannot afford. Council’s Kurilpa Precinct TLPI will only worsen that trend.
Brisbane City Council predicts this TLPI will encourage around 60,000 households to call South Brisbane their home. Still, there have been no details from Council about whether these households will send their kids to the already-overcrowded West End State School or Brisbane State High School. Council has made no plans for where these households will go to the park or how these households will safely get to their places of work.
The TLPI also explicitly allows developers to weasel around even the Council’s weak attempts at affordability benchmarks by instead including an art gallery, adding a compost bin, or building a co-working space on-site in exchange for greater building heights - additions that any property developer would choose instead of even these weak affordability benchmarks, and would then charge renters and owner-occupiers a premium for. Without a clear mandated requirement for affordable housing, property developers are unlikely to take these options at the scale we need to address the housing crisis.
Furthermore, much of the Kurilpa Precinct is flood zone. After the experience of the 2022 floods, any new residential developments in a floodplain puts people, their lives, livelihoods and possessions at risk. Council has not addressed this crucial issue.
The state government needs to send Council back to the drawing board, tell them to find genuine, long-term ways to increase the supply of affordable and social housing in South Brisbane, prioritise investment in lacking public infrastructure in South Brisbane and West End, and engage in robust consultation with the community.
Therefore, I urge the state government to deny Council's TLPI submission, and find genuine ways to increase long-term affordable and social housing in South Brisbane.
Below, I have included some ways that the state government and Council can work together to ensure any future neighbourhood plans for South Brisbane - and indeed, our entire city - will make our inner-city neighbourhoods genuinely liveable and affordable neighbourhoods for working Queenslanders and everyday families. You can find further details in letters I wrote to your colleagues, the Treasurer on 29 May 2023 and the Minister for Housing on 16 June 2023, detailing how your government can make South Brisbane a truly affordable place for everyday Queenslanders, and a further detailed list of potential sites for new public housing in South Brisbane.
Ban Airbnbs and short-term stays in any new Kurilpa Precinct development.
Council states that this TLPI aims to increase the long-term housing supply in Brisbane's inner city. However, neither Council nor the state government has any plans to deal with the issue of new apartments being used for short-term accommodation, such as Airbnb, instead of long-term housing. Therefore, I call on the state government and Council to include a total ban on Airbnb and similar short-term accommodation stays in any new apartments in the Kurilpa Precinct and a 60-day-a-year hard cap on any existing properties leased as short-term holiday accommodation. Doing so would ensure that new apartments go to housing families and workers rather than as playthings for tourists and investors.
Mandate 25% public housing in all new multi-residential developments in the Kurilpa Precinct.
South Brisbane does not need new high-end apartments. We need genuinely affordable housing and public housing. Instead of seeing working families and low-income households continue to be kicked out of South Brisbane, we are calling on the state government to mandate that one in four new apartments in the Kurilpa Precinct must be set aside as public housing of equal character to the rest of the building. As you know, I currently have a bill before Parliament that will do this across the state.
By requiring property developers to set aside one in four new apartments as public housing, we can provide good quality homes in South Brisbane, cut down the social-housing waitlist, and ensure we have a diverse and liveable inner-city neighbourhood.
Implement a vacancy levy to stop land hoarding.
Across the electorate, we have already heard of property developers pulling their development applications in hope of being able to put in an application for higher towers on the back of this TLPI. Therefore, we are calling on the state government to implement a 5% levy on the value of any undeveloped land left vacant for six months in a year if that land is suitable for building residential properties, as well as a 5% levy on any residential property that is left vacant for more than six months in a year.
This will help ensure property developers and investors don't land-bank empty land or hoard residential properties. A levy on undeveloped land will also incentivise investors to sell if they don't plan to develop that area, allowing the state government to build good-quality public housing on those sites instead.
Acquire commercial land to convert into good quality public housing.
The current affordability provisions under the proposed TLPI are woefully inadequate and do not guarantee long-term affordable housing in the Kurilpa Precinct. That's why the state government must directly invest in public housing in the area. There are numerous sites in South Brisbane that the state government should be acquiring to build public housing.
Commit to increasing public infrastructure for our rapidly growing communities.
As the situation stands, our community in South Brisbane has yet to see an investment in public infrastructure that adequately accommodates all the new households calling our neighbourhoods home. As such, the state government must work with Council to ensure our already-underinvested community receives the public infrastructure that a rapidly growing inner-city neighbourhood requires. This would require an upfront commitment by the state government and Council to fund
- Remediation of the Riverside Drive dog park, which is on state land. This dog park has been closed due to contamination concerns. Immediate funding is needed for remediation, to ensure that this fast-growing neighbourhood has sufficient dog parks.
- Restoration and redevelopment of the old Boundary St Police Station in West End, to be converted to a multi-use community space. This space should be opened as a flexible space that can be used freely by multiple community groups for direct support, community programs, training, and arts and culture.
- Improvements of the 192 bus service with frequent services and evening and weekend services, an east-west City Glider service, and a north-south glider service through Kangaroo Point.
- Pedestrian crossings at Vulture Street near WESS in West End and Hope Street in South Brisbane.
- A new ferry terminal for Victoria Street, West End. The West End community, despite being surrounded by river, has just one ferry terminal. Population growth, traffic congestion and traffic safety means that an additional ferry terminal is needed.
- Upgrades to the South Bank 3 ferry terminal. This terminal needs to be made disability compliant, and then re-opened for the community.
- Dedicated bus lanes and bicycle lanes along Montague Road and Vulture St.
- Opening up the Go-Between Bridge to commuters by scrapping the bridge's toll.
Building a new school in South Brisbane to meet the needs of our growing community
In 2010, Education Queensland said "The department is not considering additional state school provision in the West End area over the next 20-year period", despite a significant wave of new development in the surrounding neighborhood. By 2017 - just seven years later - the government was forced to expand West End State School and build Brisbane South State Secondary College, after sustained pressure from the community and local schools.
With all the development and growth happening in these areas, the state government must urgently build a new high school and a primary school for the South Brisbane community.
Both West End State School and Brisbane State High School are already under severe capacity and enrollment burdens and are already struggling to handle the rapid population growth in South Brisbane. Therefore, new state school infrastructure must accompany any changes to neighbourhood plans that allow more high-rise developments in South Brisbane. We also need an increase in funding for both WESS and BSHS to better help these schools handle their current capacity constraints.
Under Council's TLPI proposal, 60,000 households will be moving into a flood-prone area with skyrocketing rents, a devastating lack of public infrastructure, severely overcrowded schools, and a lack of public parkland for their kids to enjoy.
Therefore, I'm calling on the Minister for Planning, to deny Council's TLPI 01/23 Kurilpa Sustainable Growth Precinct proposal, and come up with a plan that will actually increase the long-term supply of genuinely affordable and public housing in our inner-city neighbourhoods, alongside increased funding for more public infrastructure and good state schools.
As always, my office and I would happily answer any questions you may have.
Member for South Brisbane