Skip navigation

Pages tagged "communities"

Creating Food Resilient Neighbourhoods

We were inspired by the spontaneous surge in people wanting to grow their own food as the COVID crisis emerged in March 2020.  At the same time we were contacted by local residents with a similar vision to our own, wanting to empower the community to grow healthy locally-grown food in public spaces, that is not reliant on big corporations.

At short notice our office swung into action committing office resources and local grant budget to support a range of local community-led initiatives. We were able to support the creation of edible verge gardens, seedling hubs, urban farms and community orchards. 

Check out the block links below for the award-winning Mycelium film and our Creating Food Resilient Neighbourhoods Zine, that beautifully tell the story of these projects and their shared vision. 

The third link, Food Resilient Neighbourhood Projects, has lots of information, photos, videos and a map about the various projects.

Get involved in one of our local food resilient projects


Kangaroo Point Peninsula Dog Off-Leash Area

May 2021 update:

Council’s Asset Services team have gotten back to me with the proposed layout of the Kangaroo Point dog off-leash area ('DOLA') in James Warner Park.

Hopefully the diagram is relatively self-explanatory. The dotted yellow line shows the approximate alignment of the fencing for the dog off-leash area, which will have a size of approximately 1070m2, at the northern end of James Warner Park. I understand the standard fencing height for dog off-leash areas is 1.5m.

The space to the west of the DOLA fencing (demarcated with a dotted green line) will be planted up with more trees and understorey vegetation, to expand the densely vegetated area and the amount of sheltered habitat space available to native wildlife. I think this is a pretty good outcome, because it clearly demarcates which part of the park is intended for dogs, while also expanding the amount of densely-vegetated habitat area for curlews, snakes etc.

In the proposed layouts, there are two access gates for DOLA users, one towards the southern end and one opposite Wicklow Street. I’ve also asked the council officers to plant up a garden bed along the front fence of the DOLA to partially screen the fencing. There’s quite a significant setback to the footpath and the roadway.

Council officers tell me they won’t need to remove any existing trees to accommodate the fencing, but as part of the project will remove one smaller tree from the park which they say is already dead. You'll see that the fencing alignment is slightly angled to avoid some of the larger trees. The arborists are pretty happy about getting more space to plant more trees on the western side of the dog off-leash area. Planting up more of the park with garden beds and native vegetation also means council won't have to spend as much money on mowing.

Council officers are recommending that the area under some of the existing trees with denser canopies in the south-east part of the DOLA should be covered with a porous rubber surface, which allows rainwater to penetrate through to the tree roots, but also protects the tree roots from erosion and damage from dogs. They’ve used a similar approach for the New Farm DOLA, which helps stop the space under the trees turning into a dustbowl.

The council workers will hopefully be able to adapt the existing metal rails at the ends of the space by attaching new chain mesh fencing to it, rather than removing it and installing an all new fence.

If you have any general feedback on the proposed layout, feel free to email [email protected]. If you have specific questions about the design, such as about the porous rubber surfacing that they want to use to protect the tree roots, you can email [email protected]

This image shows the rubber surfacing council uses underneath trees in the New Farm dog off-leash area

 

Previously - March 2021

Here’s an update on the proposed dog off-leash area (DOLA) for the northern end of Kangaroo Point. We’re now on the verge of locking in the location, which was effectively a choice between the northern end of CT White Park, or the northern end of James Warner Park. The results of our consultation seem to suggest that James Warner Park is the community's preferred location.

Given that the project has been a little more controversial than most minor park upgrades, I thought it would be worthwhile to set out as much info as possible on this one webpage to help residents understand the decision-making process so far, and how we’ve ended up here.

Read more

Online Polling Integrity

I thought in the interests of transparency I should publish an update about this. As you might know, we’re using our online voting platform more often to guide my decision-making about a range of local issues, from footpath upgrade budget allocations, to the best location for local facilities like dog off-leash areas, to which locations we should support for proposed new footbridges.

Our online voting system has to strike a tricky balance.

Some online surveys and voting systems (including most of the ‘official’ surveys that Brisbane City Council runs) have very little effective protection against duplicate voting, meaning that survey results can easily be stacked and distorted by a few people.

Other systems go too far in the opposite direction, requiring multiple two-step authentication processes and making online voting so inconvenient that you end up with such low participation rates that the results aren’t worth relying on.

We need enough checks and balances to guard against people gaming the system and fraudulently casting multiple votes from duplicate accounts, but we also don’t want to create too many participation barriers. People should be able to jump online and vote without having to provide heaps of personal information and wading through endless forms.

In the past week or so, we noticed someone was trying to create dozens of fake accounts to cast multiple votes (apparently in the St Lucia footbridge poll). The names and email addresses were made up and the phone numbers provided were fake.

We’re now deleting all those accounts on mass (at this stage it seems like roughly 60 accounts all up), including the fraudulent votes those accounts cast, which will lead to a bit of a shift in the running tallies for the bridge polls.

Our process has been:

  • System operators use basic pattern recognition to identify a list of accounts that appear suspect
  • We send an email to each of those accounts advising that we suspect they are fake and giving the creator a chance to reply to confirm that they are actually a real individual
  • We call phone numbers to double-check whether the numbers are real and match the names provided

Once we’ve gone through this process, we suspend the accounts and hide their votes. If any of those accounts eventually get back to us and say “Actually I’m a real person, please don’t delete my vote!” we can restore the account once we’ve asked a few more questions to confirm their identity.

This helps us guard the integrity of our polls and helps us feel more comfortable about relying on the results.

If we see multiple attempts to create fraudulent duplicate accounts going forward, we might look at reintroducing two-step email authentication as an extra protection, but we’re mindful that people who feel they have high stakes in the result of a poll will always try to find new ways to skew the results, so we’re using a wide range of checks to protect integrity.

 

How much weight do we give to an online vote?

I should add that generally speaking, the more legitimate votes a poll attracts, the more weight we tend to give the result. This is proportionate to the decision in question. For example, if 200 local residents cast a vote on which park a dog off-leash area should be built in, we consider that a reasonably representative sample size for a decision of that magnitude, and will be heavily guided by the result, whereas if only 200 people participate in our online poll about the best location for a $150 million footbridge project, we will pay some attention to the result, but certainly won’t treat it as binding.

 

There are still a range of legitimate arguments against relying too heavily on online voting, including the fact that poorer people, older people, and those with less education might be significantly less likely to participate. But no form of consultation is perfect, so ultimately our approach is to rely on a wide range of engagement and feedback processes, including face-to-face forums, doorknocking, small group facilitated discussions and the more traditional phone calls and letters (in addition to online engagement) so we can get as balanced a picture as possible of public sentiment, given our very limited resources.


Gabba Ward Office Grant Guidelines

Like all city councillors in Brisbane, our Gabba Ward Office has control over a $35 000/year grants budget for local events and projects (this has been cut drastically by the LNP in recent years - it used to be $75 000/year). Officially, this program is called the Lord Mayor’s Community Fund and you can find the grant rules at this link. If you're thinking of applying for a grant from my office, please give us a call on 3403 2165 first.

With 45 000 residents living in the Gabba Ward, as well as hundreds of community groups and amazing local projects that deserve support, you can imagine that competition for local grant funding is very tight.

So in addition to the grant rules set by BCC (which include the usual criteria like ‘must be a not-for-profit project’ etc.) here are some additional elements that my office looks at when we’re weighing up which applications to support. These are not hard-and-fast rules, but general guidelines that help us decide where we allocate our very limited grants budget, given that we always receive far more eligible and worthy applications than we can afford to support.

 

1. Prioritise smaller, local, unfunded or poorly-funded groups over bigger, better-funded organisations

One advantage of our Gabba Ward grants program is that it’s quite flexible and quick at turning around money. It can even be accessed by unincorporated community groups that might not have the capacity to chase private sector funding or to apply for and acquit larger grants from other bodies. So as much as possible, we like to prioritise money going towards smaller groups that aren’t receiving any other government or corporate funding.

We very rarely provide grants to larger charities and NGOs because they are better placed to tap into other funding streams.

Opening celebration of the Tongan Language School in Highgate Hill

 

2. No schools or tertiary education institutions

There are so many primary schools, high schools and higher ed institutions in our electorate that even if we just gave each of them $1000 a year, that would chew up at least a third of our grants budget. We take the view that education should be fully publicly funded, and we don’t want to let the state and federal governments off the hook for their funding shortfalls by cannibalising our local community grants budget.

Generally speaking, unless there’s a very clear and significant benefit to the wider community for a school-based grant application, we simply adopt a consistent refusal to all grant requests from schools. It’s a bit ruthless taking this hard line, but at least it allows us to be consistent rather than picking favourites between different schools around the ward.

We do, however, allocate a small chunk of my office budget (which would otherwise be spent on printing and office supplies) to buying raffle prizes (up to the value of $100) to donate to various school P&C fundraisers. We have also in the past provided grants to help establish new extra-curricular schools, such as buying books and resources to help the Tongan community kickstart a new language school in Highgate Hill.

 

3. Prioritise participatory events that get more people actively involved

There are so many events and festivals around my ward that we simply can’t afford to financially support them all. There are dozens of gigs and concerts literally every week. So rather than giving money to some gigs and not others, we prioritise events that involve a higher degree of crowd participation, whether that’s dancing or group singing or collaborative art-making.

This aligns with our philosophy that arts and culture should be inclusive and participatory rather than passively consumed. There’s nothing wrong with a concert where a few people perform and a large audience just sits or stands there watching. But we’ve chosen to prioritise our particular local grants budget towards events that blur the distinction between performer and audience member, where everyone becomes part of the event or project. This includes big participatory festivals like Kurilpa Derby where everyone is co-creating the event, as well as smaller communal events that include open mics and jam sessions or community art projects (e.g. where someone is funded to facilitate a community group to paint a mural, as opposed to just directly paying one individual artist to paint a mural).

 

4. Prioritise skill-sharing and capacity-building

Similar to above, we also prefer to prioritise projects and events where organisers are mentoring others and sharing skills and knowledge with more people. So for example, we’d rather fund an anti-racist poetry workshop where experienced writers are teaching younger people of colour how to write and perform poetry, as opposed to just paying two or three experienced poets to perform their existing work. If people are learning or refining valuable skills as part of the project, we see that as a better use of grant funding than simply paying people to do something they already know how to do without passing that knowledge on to others.

If we’re choosing between two otherwise-similar projects or events, we’ll lean towards the one that can demonstrate that less-experienced volunteers are being mentored to step up into organising roles and getting the opportunity to learn from others in their community.

The same is true in terms of how money is used for events. Rather than covering the costs of renting the same equipment again and again for multiple events, we don't mind providing one-off grants to help organisations buy equipment (as long as it's going to get used regularly). For example, there have been a couple of occasions were a group has asked if we can pay for them to rent a PA system for a particular event. Our first preference is to simply loan them one of the PA systems we have here in the office, that non-profit community groups can borrow for free (contact us on 3403 2165 if you have questions about this), but if the event organiser is putting on multiple events throughout the year, and is open to sharing their gear with other groups, we might offer to give them a slightly larger grant to simply buy a PA system of their own.

This focus on capacity-building also means we tend to avoid giving grant funding to projects that are purely charitable with no real focus on system change. While we definitely recognise the value of providing direct and immediate material aid, we don't think it's the best use of this particular grant budget to simply buy stuff to give to people in crisis.

It would be easy to spend our entire grants budget every year on donations to emergency food programs. But this doesn't actually address the broader systemic failures and injustices that lead to people going without healthy food, nor does it increase the capacity of community organisations to meet people's needs on a sustainable ongoing basis.

Our goal is to empower community collectives to develop networks of mutual aid and support, with resilient funding models that are not overly dependent upon a local grants budget that could be cut further at short notice.

 

5. Citywide events should seek mayoral funding

Being an inner-city electorate, the Gabba Ward hosts a lot of ‘citywide’ events that don’t necessarily have a strong direct connection to our local community. While we do try to support some of these cultural events with a little bit of funding, we generally encourage them to apply directly to the Lord Mayor’s office for support. While each of BCC’s 26 wards has its own “Lord Mayor’s Community Fund” budget of $34 000, the Lord Mayor himself also has a separate budget of $34 000 (plus access to a bunch of other pots of money), and we think that’s where the money should be coming from for events that happen to be held in the Gabba Ward but aren’t otherwise connected to the Gabba Ward.

 

So hopefully all that gives you a bit more of an idea of how we like to allocate our very modest grants budget. If you’re thinking of applying for a grant and have further questions, you’re welcome to give us a call on 3403 2165 to get an initial sense of what kinds of projects we’re more interested in supporting, before taking the time to formally submit your application via this online form.

 

A volunteer crew at one of our verge garden planting days


Call for Expressions of Interest from Mural Artists

Expressions of interest for various mural locations in the Gabba Ward close on Monday, 12 October, 2020

Instead of spending it all on concrete and bitumen, we’re allocating a chunk of my local public space upgrades budget towards paying artists to paint murals on toilet blocks and other walls.

We’re looking at paying somewhere in the range of $5000 per mural depending on the size (this figure includes the cost of supplying your own paint and other materials). As part of the contract, artists will also be expected to take responsibility for applying water-proof and tag-proof coatings that are appropriate to the surface.

We’re calling for expressions of interest/concept proposals to paint murals on toilet blocks in the following parks:

-          Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point

-          Musgrave Park, South Brisbane

-          Davies Park, West End (new, larger toilet block)

-          Orleigh Park, West End (large toilet block near children’s playground)

-          Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park (bunker-style toilet block on Lower River Terrace)

Check out the recent works painted onto the Bunyapa Park toilet block in West End if you want some inspiration.

We’re also seeking proposals/EOIs for undercover walls on:

-          Thornton St pedestrian underpass, Kangaroo Point

-          Vulture St underpass, South Brisbane (between Stephens Rd and South Bank train station)

Only artists who can show proof of completing previous outdoor mural projects are eligible to apply. Artists will require a current ABN.

We are particularly interested in mural concept proposals which are thought-provoking and address topical issues, and/or specifically respond to the surrounding local context of the proposed location. Murals will of course have to be appropriate for display in a public space (e.g. vulgar language or extremely violent imagery is unlikely to be supported). Innovative proposals to paint surfaces on the insides of the toilet cubicles are also welcome.

To submit an EOI, please email [email protected] with ‘Mural Artist EOI’ in the subject line and provide the following:

-          name, phone number, address and email address

-          2 to 4 photos of previous murals you’ve worked on

-          Contact details for a previous client who is willing to provide a reference (if you’ve never done paid mural work before, you could also provide a reference from an arts festival, arts organisation or lecturer/teacher/mentor who can vouch for your work)

-          50 to 200 words describing the concept you have in mind for a toilet block or underpass – this can be specific to one particular location or a general proposal (you can write more and propose multiple concepts for multiple locations if you wish)

-          Nominate which site you are most interested in painting (we will assume that you are generally interested in paid work at any of the locations unless you specify otherwise)

-          (Optional) Further web links demonstrating your style and previous work

Expressions of interest close on Monday, 12 October at 5pm. The final decision-making process for selecting artists will depend on the number of EOIs received.

Once we have a clear idea of how much funding we can allocate, and what styles of artwork the council administration is willing to support, we will contact artists to put you in direct contact with council’s contracting team and go through the formal process of being listed as an approved supplier.

Women, non-binary folk, people of colour and First Nations people are particularly encouraged to submit an EOI. Any questions, feel free to email [email protected] or call 3403 2165.

 

This mural was painted in Bunyapa Park, West End by Neta-Rie Mabo under a previous round of this project funding. You can see more of Neta-Rie's work at http://instagram.com/mabolous


Rethinking the 40-Hour Work Week

Right now, many of us are forced to lead lives that are economically precarious and environmentally and socially unsustainable. We work long hours to pay the bills, while not having enough time to volunteer on meaningful community projects or enjoy the company of friends and family. Care labour is distributed unfairly and unevenly, and the reproductive work necessary to keep our communities strong is overlooked and undervalued.

Many of us feel overworked, while more and more of us are unemployed or under-employed. 

This is a strange contradiction for our society to grapple with. Thousands of people are craving paid work opportunities, while many of those who are fortunate enough to have paid jobs are constantly stressed and dream of having more free time. It suggests there is something more fundamentally flawed with our dominant culture and way of life.

As Australia enters recession, we need to consider a broader range of options for reimagining work and how we structure our lives.

Many workplaces here on Brisbane’s inner-south side, both small and large, are shifting away from a 40-hour week. A 4-day ‘standard’ work week is becoming increasingly common. Depending on the field of work, this might mean going home earlier and only working from 9am to 3pm, 5 days per week. Or it could simply mean working from Monday to Thursday with a 3-day weekend. Or both!

Check out some recent TV news coverage of one local business that’s already made the switch.

As a local councillor, I am allocated two full-time ward office staff to assist me in my work. We’ve split these two full-time roles into multiple part-time roles (some staff work 2 or 3 days per week while others work 4 days per week). This means my staff are better rested and less stressed, and have more time for care labour, recreation, study and even volunteering on various community projects.

Many full-time employees find they prefer a slightly shorter work week, and experience a wide range of flow-on benefits (as long as they retain long-term job security). When large organisations shift away from a 5-day work week, this can also free up more job opportunities for unemployed residents.

If we have well-supported and affordable housing, healthcare and education systems that meet everyone’s basic needs, it becomes possible to imagine a society where working 5 days/week in paid roles is no longer necessary. This in turn would free up so much time among residents that a lot of other community projects would be more viable.

Not so long ago, it was considered normal for most people to work very long hours 6 days/week, with Sunday being the only day off. Strong advocacy, particularly from trade unions, led to the introduction of a standardised 8-hour work day and 5-day work week (at least in most wealthier nations). As we adapt to a new world beyond the shutdown, we need to go further and talk seriously about whether it’s time to shift towards a standardised 4-day work week.

But to get to that point, all of us who currently have paid work need to be more diligent and disciplined about finishing on time each day, and not working overtime for free.

Lately I’ve spoken to quite a few people who were working from home during the shutdown, and found that outside their traditional office workplace, they felt less pressure to work past 5pm. Of course, others (myself included) found that without a clear ‘home time’ we lapsed into working later into the evenings.

I think as the shutdown eases, and many of us return to office environments, workers need to insist on finishing for the day at the time their contracts say they should, and resist the pressure to work overtime on a regular basis. We won’t be able to initiate a shift towards a 4-day work week if we can’t even maintain the current 5-day work week.

Many Brisbane workplaces valorise and aspire towards a culture of working too long and too hard, which might serve to maximise profits for mega-wealthy rent-seekers, but isn’t necessarily in society’s broader long-term interests. So let’s start some in-depth conversations in our community and with our coworkers about workplace culture, workplace hours, and what would need to happen to shift our city towards a 4-day work week.

Is it better for everyone to have the same three days of the week off? Or should the working week be staggered to spread around transport impacts and other demands on infrastructure?

What kinds of government services and private services would still need to remain open and available at least 5 days per week, and what services could feasibly drop down to 4 days per week?

If big employers like Brisbane City Council were to shift towards a 4-day work week (with a 3-day weekend from Friday to Sunday), would this prompt other private workplaces to also make the shift?

What are the main barriers preventing smaller businesses from making this kind of shift?

There are lots of questions to think through, so please talk about them with your friends and family!


If you’re interested in further reading on this topic, this discussion paper is a good place to start.


Gabba Ward Shutdown Album 2020: The Art of Hibernation

We’ve produced a compilation album of songs recorded during the shutdown by bands and solo artists with strong connections to the Gabba Ward on Brisbane's inner-south side (i.e. the suburbs of West End, South Brisbane, Dutton Park, Highgate Hill, Kangaroo Point and Woolloongabba).

As of Monday, 28 September, the album is available for download at this link.

The album is called The Art of Hibernation and features 12 tracks by: Kurilpa Reach, Bad Sext, Wheat Paste, Bricklayers, Kairos Twin, Machiniska, A Country Practice, Saateen, Sanfeliu, Cigany Weaver, Amy Jane and Lileth.

50% of sales revenue will go back to the participating acts (split evenly) and the other 50% will be set aside to pay bands to play at community concerts and non-profit events after the shutdown is over. Each soloist/band retains copyright and full ownership of their songs, and will be free to release the recorded tracks again in other formats/albums.

 

This project was funded using $10 000 of our local grants budget, which was redirected from festivals and community events that couldn't go ahead due to the pandemic. We're extremely grateful to the crew at Chaos Magick Studios for putting so much time and energy into this project, and to all the artists who've been part of it.

 

-----

Original callout and further details of project:

How to Apply

AS OF MONDAY, 8 JUNE, APPLICATIONS HAVE NOW CLOSED

1. A 100-word bio (please mention a few genres/styles that you align most closely with

2. Up to 150 words about the song you’re recording, why you’d like to be part of this project, and why your act is an important part of the local music ecosystem on Brisbane’s inner-south side (no need to write a full 150 words if you don’t want to)

3. Two or three sentences or dot points touching on your connection to the Gabba Ward (e.g. “Two of our members live in Woolloongabba and one lives in West End. We perform regularly at local venues like The Bearded Lady and the Milk Factory.”)

4. Any relevant links to social media pages, websites or music videos (don’t overdo it)

5. If you have it, a link to a rough demo of the song you’d like to record (not mandatory) or at least a copy of the lyrics

6. Any suggestions you have for an album title (optional)

7. Email and a phone number that you will answer during business hours

Applications must be received by 9am on Monday, 8 June. If you have any issues with the online form, send questions or email your application to [email protected] with 'Gabba Ward Shutdown Album' in the subject line.

 

What the selection panel is looking for...

Rather than picking ‘the ten best local bands,’ this project is about amalgamating a collection of tracks that reflect and represent the current state of local music in the Gabba Ward, and speak to the uncertain period we’re living through.

We will be curating an album that features and celebrates a wide range of genres and musical subcultures, with the hope of representing the breadth and depth (and talent) of the amazingly varied musical ecosystem on Brisbane’s inner-south side. This means, for example, that we are unlikely to include three or four bands that all fit within the same narrow genre/scene.

We're hoping to mostly feature songs that have been written recently or finished off during the shutdown, but we definitely aren't aiming for an entire album of songs that are necessarily directly about the pandemic.

We’ll be trying to strike a balance between very new/young acts and slightly more established local bands. The album will hopefully serve as a snapshot of our music scene at the time of the COVID-19 shutdown, and help to celebrate and promote all the amazing music and performing arts projects that are bubbling out of Brisbane’s inner-south side.

 

Diversity Targets for the Album as a Whole (similar to 4ZZZ Community Radio's Targets)

  • At least 50% of acts on the album should include at least one member who identifies as a woman or non-binary
  • At least 5% of the acts on the album should include at least one member who identifies as First Nations
  • At least 20% of the acts on the album should include at least one member who identifies as a person of colour/not white

 

Eligibility Criteria for Participating Groups

  • Majority (more than half) of members currently live or have mostly lived in the Gabba Ward suburbs of West End, Highgate Hill, South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point, Dutton Park, Woolloongabba; and/or
  • Group/soloist can demonstrate a strong local connection to the Gabba Ward

 

Recording details

Recording and mixing will be handled by the Tanuki Lounge at 207 Boundary St, West End. We’re aiming to record in late June/early July so bands will need to make themselves available during this period.

This project has a limited budget and time-frame, which means each group will only have a couple of hours in the studio for recording. Bands are expected to have a finalised, well-rehearsed track that’s ready to record, as we won’t have time for lots of experimentation and chopping and changing once inside the studio.

 

Other Important Conditions

The selection panel reserves the right to leave out a track from the final published album if the recording doesn’t match the standard of the other songs, but the act will still be paid $400 for their time in the studio and will still receive a copy of their recorded track to use as they wish.

Acts can withdraw from the project at any time, and will be given an opportunity to hear all the other songs on the album before it is published and released.

50% of any profits from sales will be split among artists. The other 50% will be set aside to pay local performers at future community events and concerts, and will be allocated at the discretion of the Gabba Ward Office and the Tanuki Lounge. All acts included on the album will receive an equal share of any future proceeds from album sales, regardless of track length or complexity of the work.

Tracks will be released online on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis, which means some residents will download them for free. Councillor Sri and the Tanuki Lounge will consult with all participating acts about the best online platforms for distributing the music, and before making any decisions to release the album in a physical format (e.g. CD).


Selection panel members (all volunteering their time)

  • Nell Forster
  • Shannon Logan
  • Trina Massey
  • Morgyn Quinn
  • Jonathan Sri

 


Other questions and answers

I can record myself and don’t want to get paid. Can you squeeze me onto the album?

We don’t want this project to become a random grab-bag of dozens of local acts. It’s intended as a curated compilation of high-quality musicians who will fit well together in a cohesive product.

If we receive some really strong applications who just miss out on making the cut for the final 10, we reserve the right to offer them an unfunded place on the album at the selection panel’s discretion. Please just submit a standard application and make the case for why you want to be part of the project like everyone else.

 

How and when will the album be released?

We’re hoping to release the album online by late July/August, but we won’t rush the process. If there’s enough interest, we’ll also look at producing a physical album on CD or another medium.

 

How are you guarding against favouritism?

The volunteer selection panel has been chosen by democratically elected City Councillor Jonathan Sri.

We’ve pulled together a pretty broad and diverse selection panel from within the local music scene. Inevitably, panel members will know and have worked with many of the bands who apply to be part of the project, but the whole group will have to agree on a final list of acts for the album. Just as with any festival or event lineup, we have to trust the people on the panel to make good decisions.

Panellists won’t be entitled to any share of revenue from the album.

 

Where’s the money coming from?

This project has a total budget of $10 000, which is coming from the Gabba Ward local grants budget. Roughly half of that will go towards production costs including recording, mixing, mastering and studio hire, and the rest will go towards paying participating groups. This is money that would otherwise be spent supporting community events and festivals (most of which have been cancelled due to the shutdown).

 

Why didn’t you just put the choice of bands to a vote?

Because it’s not a popularity contest. Nor is it a talent contest. The goal is to produce a cohesive but diverse album that encapsulates the varied subcultures of our local community and the mood of our times.

 

Isn’t the suburb eligibility criteria unfairly exclusionary of bands from other parts of Brisbane?

Nope. The money for this project is coming out of the local Gabba Ward grants budget. Any of the other 25 city councillors around Brissie have their own grants budget and could run a similar project for their electorate. So if bands from other suburbs feel left out, they are strongly encouraged to approach their own Brisbane City Councillor for similar grant funding.

 

Will there be other similar projects in the future?

Yes, hopefully. Depending on how popular this is, we might take the idea further and record more bands in future if we have enough funding.

More generally, non-profit community groups are always welcome to apply for grant funding through the Gabba Ward Community Fund so if you have an idea for a project with a broad community benefit that you’d like to run, don’t be afraid to reach out. 


Was Keneally’s migration diatribe fair dinkum racist?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a few people have taken issue with my suggestion that Labor Senator Kristina Keneally’s opinion piece about immigration was advancing racist arguments.

I shouldn’t need to start with this disclaimer, but: No, just because I’m accusing someone of advocating racist ideas or arguments doesn’t mean I’m saying that person is racist and horrible and ought to be ‘cancelled.’ All I’m saying is that in this case, the arguments Kristina is advancing are based on racist premises, tend towards racist outcomes, and will have the effect of legitimising and emboldening racism in Australian public discourse.

The article is a good example of dog-whistling. When you drill into the detail, Keneally’s main points are more subtle than those of someone like Pauline Hanson. To suggest that the two politicians are advancing identical arguments would be disingenuous and intellectually lazy. But I do think she’s using language which is calculated to resemble Hanson’s rhetoric and win back One Nation voters.

Kristina Keneally is not necessarily saying all migration is bad. And unlike Hanson, she doesn’t explicitly draw distinctions between people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

She is correctly suggesting that our current immigration and employment policy settings sometimes encourage employers to pay temporary migrant workers less than they would pay Australian citizens to do the same job.

Depending on how you frame the issue, I also don’t think there’s anything wrong, in and of itself, with saying that offering migrants residency pathways and greater long-term stability is preferable to relying on such high numbers of temporary migrant workers.

 

So why is it dog-whistling?

In politics, how you frame and talk about a controversial issue matters just as much as the technical details of the policy position you’re actually advocating.

Politicians often use vocabulary that’s layered with hidden meanings depending on the context (e.g. using ‘expat’ to refer to settlers from Anglosphere countries and ‘immigrant’ to refer to settlers from other parts of the world). Or they over-simplify complex concepts so their statements are vague enough to mean completely different things to different people.

Dog-whistling is where you focus on a certain issue or use a particular phrase, knowing that some in your audience will infer a very different meaning.

What you don’t make room to say matters too. Failing to acknowledge our recent history of invasion, attempted genocide of First Nations peoples, and White Australia immigration policies also obliterates relevant context that shapes contemporary migration policy debates whether we admit it or not.

When Senator Keneally published an article with the heading “Do we want migrants to return in the same numbers? The answer is no” she knew a lot of people weren’t going to remember anything about the article beyond the headline. Such a phrase is clearly calculated to draw the attention and sympathy of xenophobes who are opposed to all migration.

Similarly, writing that we “need a migration program that puts Australian workers first” carries a lot of hidden meaning for racists, and for new migrants. Many people of colour and First Nations peoples have learned the hard way that the term ‘Australian workers’ is frequently used as coded language for ‘white Australian workers.’

When Keneally calls for cuts to specific migration programs while saying Aussie workers need ‘a fair go,’ she knows many people will interpret her comments as suggesting that migrants themselves are a major factor behind the mistreatment and exploitation of Australian workers.

This language deliberately taps into the racist and divisive strategies of certain labour movements in Australian history, where instead of arguing for better pay and conditions for all workers, some campaigns simply called for stronger restrictions to cap non-white workforces in order to benefit white Australians.

Her choices of phrase invoke the same clichéd xenophobic mythologies that erroneously blame immigration for car-centric transport planning or unsustainable suburban sprawl. (Remember: cities with similar populations to Australian ones have smaller geographic footprints, more public green space and less intense traffic congestion, so blaming population growth is just letting the real culprits off the hook)

It was possible for Kristina Keneally to write a very different kind of article while still making similar points. She could have written a piece titled “Let’s give temporary migrants permanent residency” or "Fair go for migrants" or “Start welcoming permanent migrants from Africa, Asia and South America - stop exploiting temporary ones” (ok so that third title is a probably a tad too long and cumbersome).

She could have talked about the real factors behind why so many Australian workers are struggling – privatisation and outsourcing, neoliberalism, the financialisation of housing as a speculative commodity, Bob Hawke’s ‘Prices and Incomes Accord’ (which smashed the power of organised labour) etc. She could have highlighted that migrants and citizens all have a common interest in strengthening rules to protect temporary workers’ rights and prevent exploitation.

Instead, she used a divisive framing to grab attention and appeal to the hard-right, thus creating political pressure for the LNP to adopt even stronger and harsher anti-immigrant rhetoric. When leaders dog-whistle like that, they normalise and embolden racism (and by the way, following this path still doesn’t help Labor win elections).

Keneally was smart enough to know what she was doing. Anyone who defends her strategy and choice of framing is actually making it a lot harder to have the evidence-based discussions we really need to have about systemic racism, unfair employment conditions, temporary worker exploitation and migration settlement strategies.

 

No matter how you say it, ripping off colonised regions is still racist

Putting aside the dog-whistling, even the underlying substance of Kristina Keneally’s argument is based upon a racist and imperialist philosophical worldview.

Australia has benefited from 250+ years of colonisation, British imperialism, American imperialism, and globalisation. We bully and rip off near neighbours like East Timor and Papua New Guinea to profit from stolen natural resources. We benefit from unjust global trade deals and military interventions (how many wars for oil have there been in the Middle East now?), and from the overcharging of international students who study here.

We’ve exploited Aboriginal land and labour here on this continent, as well as workers from overseas. Our economy has grown thanks in large part to outsourcing and exploitation of overseas workforces and consumers.

On top of all that, both the fossil fuels we burn and export, and the political pressure we apply internationally against stronger action to address climate change, are huge contributors to global warming and economic instability, which of course pushes more people to seek employment far from home.

So in that context, for Keneally to argue that we don’t want young, unskilled workers from other countries, but we do want the richer, better-educated ones, is also extremely unjust and selfish.

She wants the benefits of globalisation in terms of wealthy tourists, free-flowing capital, cheap manufactured products and lucrative resource markets.

She wants the doctors and engineers that other nations have spent time and money rearing and educating.

But she doesn’t want any of the lower-skilled migrant workers who are struggling to find work at home due to the same unjust global economic system that we are benefitting from. And she supports harsher, militarised border policing to keep them out.

 

De facto White Australia?

In practical terms, a range of factors including visa criteria, high application fees, sponsorship requirements, English language tests and embassy locations mean that on average, it’s (generally) much easier for white immigrants to enter Australia on pathways to permanent residency. Some experts have suggested that our humanitarian intakes also discriminate based on race, culture and religion.

In that context, it’s problematic to argue for reprioritisation away from migration pathways that currently allow more people of colour into the country, while neglecting to also advocate for restructuring the systemic barriers that exclude non-whites from permanent migration pathways.

Keneally’s motivations aren’t necessarily racist. I’m not suggesting she’s intentionally proposing to discriminate against people of non-European ancestry.

But when we ask whether a certain policy or system is racist, it’s important we don’t get caught up focusing narrowly on whether individual decision-makers and advocates actually have racist motives. We must consider whether the overall system they’re supporting tends to yield differing results depending on a person’s culture or ethnic background.

The policy changes Keneally is advocating for will have racially discriminatory outcomes unless they are accompanied by other changes that she has chosen not to advocate for.

That doesn’t mean she’s racist. But the practical results of what she is calling for certainly would be.

 

The difficult challenge of talking about migration policy in Australia is that it can’t be conveniently separated from discussions about colonisation, extractivism and imperialist globalisation.

A lot of well-meaning Australians get frustrated when any attempt to start a conversation about migration immediately attracts accusations of racism. This is particularly so for many Greens, whose white fragility prevents them from recognising how sustainability arguments for limiting immigration can be inherently racist.

The hard truth is that in settler-colonial countries like Australia, you simply can’t talk sensibly about migration without talking about racism. The two topics are inextricably linked, and leaving race out of the conversation – like you’re some kind of ‘objective’ scientist neutrally discussing populations and carrying capacities without acknowledging past and ongoing systemic racism – just tacitly reinforces racist norms.

Yes, we do need to build alliances between Australians and migrant workers. We do need to reinforce common interests and fight against the corporate bosses who benefit by dividing and exploiting us.

And if a Labor senator writes a shallow, divisive, harmful article that normalises and reinforces racism, we do have to call it out.

 

 

This article has also been published on Green Agenda, an independent online publishing project that promotes discussion and debate of critical and contemporary green politics and philosophy...


New Park for Highgate Hill/South Brisbane

Here’s another innovative yet common-sense solution to create more public green space in the inner-city…

Let’s cover over the stretch of train line near Gloucester St and Frith St in Highgate Hill to create a new public park!

There are many inner-city neighbourhoods where a train line runs through a suburb at slightly below ground level. We now have the technology, the resources and the engineering skills to cover over these stretches of train line with precast tunnels to create more public space.

  

The presence of very shallow tunnels would make it difficult to use these sites for buildings that require deep foundations, but they’re a great opportunity to create public green spaces.

The broad area of exposed train line next to Gloucester St was once a train station. It was closed decades ago, mainly because its close proximity to the newer South Bank train station made it a little redundant. But as a result, there's a much wider stretch of public land in this area than along most other train lines.

Some of the major benefits of covering over this stretch of track and converting it to public parkland include:

  • Reduced noise pollution for surrounding residents
  • Reduced air pollution for surrounding residents
  • Turns a major barrier to wildlife movement into a wildlife corridor
  • Provides a more direct pedestrian and bikeway link that reduces the need to climb up and down hills
  • Depending on where they’re travelling, gives some local pedestrians an alternative route to avoid the difficult crossing at the intersection of Gloucester St and Stephens Rd
  • And most importantly: creates over 11 500m2 of new public green space in an area where local parkland is in short supply

The precinct around Stephens Rd and Gloucester St doesn’t have any local parks that you can easily walk to without crossing a main road. Covering over the train line would create a 1.1-hectare public park, with sections that are flat enough to kick a ball or play some cricket. 1.1 hectares is roughly the same size as the main football field at Davies Park, West End. The park could feature a massive all-ages playground with different elements targeted at different age groups.

Creating a green spine through this neighbourhood on the edge of Highgate Hill and South Brisbane could be the first step in a series of linked parks and pathways following the alignment of the train line through to South Brisbane, to dramatically improve pedestrian connectivity.

This idea has been suggested by local resident and environmental engineer, Associate Professor Peter Pollard, who has also proposed that some of the material used to fill up the space above the new tunnels could come from the nearby Cross River Rail excavation. This would potentially reduce the cost and environmental impact of trucking out and disposing of all that excavated fill material.

Of course, you would also want a few metres' depth of decent-quality soil over the top, so that some of the land could be used for fruit trees and a community garden.

This is an amazing opportunity to turn a noisy barrier within the urban landscape into a green community hub. This space would be twice the size of the park at the top of Highgate Hill, and would have room for a whole range of activities and facilities.

I imagine it primarily serving as a well-vegetated quieter park for local residents to walk the dog, hold a picnic, or hang out with friends to escape the hustle and bustle down along the main roads.

It could also serve as a quiet green retreat for patients, family members and staff from the nearby hospital precinct who want to avoid the higher-intensity vibe down at South Bank and the riverside parklands.

Everyone I’ve shared this idea with so far has said something along the lines of: “That’s brilliant! And it seems so logical. Why hasn’t this happened already?”

The main reason is that even if you use precast tunnel segments that you drop in and connect up, it would still probably cost at least $3 million dollars, and the train line is actually State Government land. So it would require a bit of collaboration between State Government and Brisbane City Council. But although $3 million sounds like a lot of money, it’s actually very good value considering that it would create roughly $20 million worth of public parkland.

 

 

If we can successfully implement this approach of cut-and-cover train tunnels with parkland above, there are many other neighbourhoods where we could roll out this model. There are other stretches of low-lying train line running through many inner-city suburbs where green space is in short supply.

Obviously we also need council and the State Government to buy back more land to create new public green spaces, but covering over train lines also offers the extra benefits mentioned above. Reducing noise pollution and air pollution from these busy train lines would dramatically improve the quality of life for thousands of residents living within several hundred metres of the train tracks, and direct pedestrian pathways avoids residents having to walk the long way around to get across the tracks.

If you support this idea, please share it around, and tell your friends to vote for the Greens!


Our Vision for the Gabba Ward

I’ve spent the past four years listening to the community to better understand what kinds of improvements local residents and small businesses want to see happen around the suburbs of South Brisbane, Highgate Hill, West End, Woolloongabba, Dutton Park and Kangaroo Point.

My vision for the Gabba Ward is continually evolving in response to community feedback, so please let me know what you think of it by emailing [email protected].

It’s difficult to comprehensively list all the changes I’d like to see happen in our neighbourhood, particularly the community projects and social and cultural transformations that should happen alongside the delivery of physical infrastructure and government services. Alongside the so-called 'hard infrastructure,' I believe there should be far more council funding and support for community services, sporting groups, and the arts.

The priorities featured below tend to focus on the projects that I think Brisbane City Council and the State Government can realistically deliver in the next few years, but with an appreciation of the need to also plan ahead for long-term challenges.

Rather than vague statements, I've done my best to clearly outline my current position on a range of local issues so residents know exactly where I stand. It won’t be possible to deliver all of this in just a few years, but this is what we’re working towards... If there’s anything you’d like clarified, please get in touch.

 

 

Rethinking Development in the Inner-City

We support heavy restrictions on for-profit development within the low-lying flood-prone parts of the Gabba Ward.  We support well-designed mixed-used, medium-density development that’s accompanied by adequate infrastructure and services. We support more trees and green space being delivered within new developments. Currently, developers are only required to allocate 10% of site area for deep planting. The LNP publicly committed over a year ago to increase the requirement to 15% but haven’t yet implemented this. We believe all new high-density developments should set aside a minimum 20% of the site area for deep-planted trees.

 

Streets for People – Reimagining Transport in Brisbane

Our citywide philosophy for reimagining transport in Brisbane can be found at this link. Broadly speaking, we want more pedestrian crossings, wider, shadier footpaths, lower speed limits on residential streets (with more traffic calming where necessary) and separated bike lanes on main transport corridors. Check out the link, and view more details about specific transport commitments below.

 

Free Off-Peak Public Transport for Everyone

To reduce congestion and improve accessibility and connectivity, we’re calling for free off-peak public transport. We can make buses and CityCats free during weekdays and weeknights in the off-peak period, as well as free all weekend. More details available at this link.

 

Free Cross-River Ferries and Kangaroo Point CityCat

In addition to calling for all bus, CityCat and ferry services to become free for everyone during off-peak periods, we support making all existing cross-river ferry services free, 24/7. We also support reviewing the CityCat timetable and network to introduce a CityCat service to the Holman Street ferry terminal at Kangaroo Point.

 

Two New CityGlider Routes

We are calling for two new CityGlider routes, one running east-west from West End to Bulimba, and the other running north-south from Annerley to Fortitude Valley (through Kangaroo Point and Woolloongabba). More details at this link.

 

Full Bus Network Review

We are calling for a full network review of Brisbane bus routes, with a strong focus on increasing the frequency and reliability of services running through the inner-south side, particularly the 192, 196, 198 and 234 bus routes.

 

New footbridges

We’re calling for new footbridges from West End to Toowong and Kangaroo Point to the CBD. Other parties have expressed cautious support for these projects, but have not committed to allocating funding for them. We believe these bridges should carry pedestrians, cyclists and escooters, but not buses.

We are also open to supporting the proposal for a footbridge between West End and UQ St Lucia, but believe further detailed research, transport modelling and a cost benefit analysis should be conducted (in addition to more robust community consultation) before any project funding is allocated. A detailed write-up about my position on the footbridges is available at this link.

As part of the Kangaroo Point footbridge project, we believe council needs to deliver a wheelchair accessible Story Bridge underpass. The current underpass between Thornton St and Deakin St has multiple sets of steps and so is not wheelchair accessible. Depending on detailed design and engineering investigations, it may be more cost-effective and less disruptive to create a second, new underpass connecting from slightly further north along Deakin St directly to Scott St.

 

 

New ‘Kurilpa West’ Citycat Terminal

Recent and anticipated population growth for the western side of the Kurilpa Peninsula (particularly along Montague Rd) means that new high-capacity public transport services will be needed to move people in and out of West End.

We support a new CityCat terminal being delivered along Riverside Drive. The South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan identifies Victoria St as a possible location for a new terminal, however it may be more appropriate to locate the terminal slightly further north near Beesley St to facilitate better access to and from Davies Park.

I do not believe that proposals for a new footbridge and CityCat terminal are mutually exclusive. The two projects meet different transport needs and are complementary. Both will be necessary in order to help inner-city residents transition away from car-dependency.

 

Convert Flood-Prone Industrial Sites to Public Parkland in 4101

We support acquiring the large blocks of land along the northern end of Montague Rd which are currently used for industrial purposes, and converting these into public parkland and sporting facilities. Sites including Hanson Concrete, Parmalat and I-O Glass are all highly vulnerable to flooding, and are not appropriate for high-density residential or commercial development.

To cater for the green space needs of West End’s rapidly growing population, and to mitigate the negative impacts of flooding, these sites should be restored as public parkland.

This large new riverside park could include dog off-leash areas, a full-size skate park and BMX track, a sports field, a large children’s playground, vegetated nature reserves and outdoor event spaces.

 

Completing the Kangaroo Point Riverwalk

Completing the missing links of the riverside footpath between Dockside and Mowbray Park is essential to reduce traffic congestion and improve connectivity for the Kangaroo Point Peninsula. There are only a few missing links between existing pathways that have already been completed, and we believe council should allocate the funding to build these sections immediately, rather than waiting years for private developers to do it. The riverwalk should be designed with extra-wide footpaths and clearly delineated separation between pedestrians, slower-moving cyclists, and faster-moving bikes and escooter riders. You can read more about the riverwalk via this link at the section titled ‘Completing the Riverwalk’.

 

Restore Boggo Road Gaol as a Visual and Performing Arts Hub

Boggo Road Gaol is ideally located along the busway and train lines, and in close proximity to UQ St Lucia, Dutton Park State School and the future Dutton Park State High. This historic site should not be privatised and sold off to developers, but should be restored as a publicly funded music and arts hub, with workshop spaces, studios, rehearsal rooms, exhibition spaces and theatres. Boggo Road could become the south-side sister of the New Farm Powerhouse, celebrating history while providing affordable spaces for artists, innovators and hackers. A heritage museum component and a strong emphasis on history tours and storytelling would allow this precinct to serve as a hub for local history groups and knowledge-keeping.

 

Separated Bike Lanes along Vulture Street

Vulture St is a key east-west connector across the Gabba Ward, but riding between West End and Woolloongabba is currently quite dangerous. Existing narrow footpaths can no longer safely accommodate rising numbers of cyclists and escooter riders, so it is imperative that council creates safe, separated bike lanes running along Vulture St from Montague Rd, West End to Christie St, South Brisbane. This would provide a direct connection to the Goodwill Bridge and to the new Woolloongabba Bikeway along Stanley Street.

Safer separated bike lanes are also needed along other main roads such as Montague Rd and Gladstone Rd, however we currently consider Vulture St to be the highest priority.

 

Convert roadway into parkland at southern end of Boundary St

Regardless of whether a new footbridge is delivered between St Lucia and West End, we have an amazing opportunity to create more useable public green space at the southern end of Boundary St by combining under-utilised roadway with the neighbouring block of State-owned land at the corner of Dudley Street. Boundary St could end at the intersection with Glenfield St, and the roadway could be ripped up to create a riverside public park with an area of over 3300m2.

 

Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Musgrave Park

Local Aboriginal community groups have been advocating for decades to establish a purpose-built cultural centre in Musgrave Park. This project should be designed, led and controlled by First Nations peoples, with funding from all levels of government. Council should play a supporting role in delivering this project, facilitating conversations and providing access to resources and support staff to empower Aboriginal community leaders to deliver this project.

 

Redevelop Kurilpa Hall and Library as a Multipurpose Community Facility

We support converting the carpark of Kurilpa Library and the adjoining Kurilpa Hall site into a multistorey multipurpose community hub that caters for the community’s changing needs. We believe a redevelopment of this site should respect the heritage and integrity of the historic Kurilpa Library building. A redeveloped community facility would include space for the Australian Pensioners and Superannuants League organisation that currently manages the existing Kurilpa Hall, as well as a wide range of other community groups and projects.

An expanded library would include dedicated meeting rooms, fully accessible toilets and a wider range of resources. Depending on further community consultation, it could be possible to design a dedicated theatre space or concert hall within the facility, but such elements would require careful design and extensive sound-proofing to avoid negative impacts on neighbours. We are calling for multiple rounds of detailed community consultation and an inclusive participatory design process before any changes are made to the existing facility.

 

Composting and Sustainable Waste Management

The Greens are calling for free green bins for every household, in order to divert organic waste from general landfill. We are also calling for the green bin service to be adapted so it can accept food waste too. Organic waste can be composted and reused for gardens. The gases from composting organic matter can be captured as a source of energy.

We also support establishing more community composting hubs particularly within the inner-city, and are calling for more council funding and support to train apartment block residents how to manage community composting hubs on their own apartment block sites, while also establishing more hubs in public parks alongside community gardens.

 

Vacancy Levy

We are calling for a vacancy levy on all homes, shops and vacant lots that are left empty for more than six months without a valid reason. A vacancy levy would reduce homelessness, place downward pressure on residential and commercial rents, and help bring life back to struggling shopping precincts. More details about this policy can be found at this link.

 

Default 40km/h Speed Limit

We support a default speed limit of 40km/h on all streets in the Gabba Ward, with the exception of some sections of Ipswich Rd, Main St, and Shaftson Avenue. I believe that even busy roads like Dornoch Terrace, Montague Rd, Gladstone Rd, River Terrace, Cordelia St, Merivale St, Vulture St and Stanley St should all eventually be reduced to a limit of 40km/h, but that this transition should happen gradually alongside other changes to road design and transport services.

 

New Pedestrian Crossings

The Greens have called for council to create 250 new pedestrian crossings around the city each year. We have recently secured funding for new traffic lights at the intersection of Victoria St and Montague Rd (near the West End Aldi) and work will be starting soon.

Traffic lights will also be installed along Gladstone Rd near TJ Doyle Memorial Drive to connect the new Dutton Park State High School to the Dutton Park green space.

Looking ahead, we believe that within the Gabba Ward, the highest priority locations for new crossings are:

  • Boundary St near Brighton Rd
  • Dornoch Terrace-Hampstead Rd intersection – possibly lights, depending on detailed investigation)
  • Gloucester St-Stephens Rd intersection
  • Leopard St, Kangaroo Point – zebra crossing near Lockerbie St
  • Montague Rd – traffic lights near Donkin St
  • Montague Rd – traffic lights at/near Ferry Rd
  • Multiple locations along Dornoch Terrace - unsignalised zebra crossings
  • River Terrace, Kangaroo Point – traffic lights near Bell St, and a new zebra crossing north of Paton St
  • Vulture St near Exeter St, West End
  • Vulture St near Thomas St and Bunyapa Park
  • Wellington Rd – traffic lights near Mowbray Terrace and Toohey St

 

Safety Upgrades for Existing Pedestrian Crossings

Many pedestrian crossings throughout our city need major safety improvements. We believe the highest priorities for safety upgrades to existing crossing points are:

  • Converting the intersection of Hardgrave Rd and Vulture St into a four-way scramble crossing (like the Boundary St-Vulture St intersection)
  • Redesigning the zebra crossing on Gladstone Rd near Park Rd West as traffic lights
  • Zebra crossing on Park Rd near Merton Rd
  • Intersection of Dornoch Terrace, Hardgrave Rd and Ganges St
  • Zebra crossing on Hawthorne St near Gibbon St
  • Orleigh St near the West End ferry terminal
  • Zebra crossing on Montague near Brereton St

If the community is opposed to installing traffic signals, often the best way to improve pedestrian safety at a zebra crossing is to lower speed limits and narrow the road width on the approaches to the crossing by building out the footpaths and/or installing separated bike lanes.

 

New Public Parks at Gabba Station and Boggo Road

Woolloongabba is under-served by public parkland, but inner-city land is extremely expensive. In the short-term, the most cost-effective and practical pathway to creating new public green space catering for rapid population growth in the 4102 postcode is to ensure that large public parks are included on the publicly owned sites which are being redeveloped for train stations as part of the Cross River Rail project.

Rather than selling off the land above the train station for private highrise development, the State Government should retain ownership and control over these sites and deliver large new green spaces and community facilities. You can read a more detailed vision for the redevelopment of the Gabba Cross River Rail station site at this link.

 

New Public Park for Highgate Hill/South Brisbane

We support covering over the exposed train line immediately to the north of Gloucester St to create a new public park with an area of 1.1 hectares. This would provide much-needed additional recreational green space for residents living between Annerley Road and Gladstone Rd while also providing additional wildlife habitat and reducing noise pollution and air pollution from the train line. More details at this link.

 

New Park for Kangaroo Point Peninsula

A new park should be created for the northern end of Kangaroo Point in the vicinity of Lambert St to cater for the rapid population growth in this vicinity. A new riverside park could include a dog off-leash area and other recreational facilities, and could connect to the completed riverwalk leading north to Dockside.

Finding land for this park would involve acquiring privately owned land that would otherwise be redeveloped as highrise, while also narrowing the bitumen roadway and reclaiming road reserve as green space.

 

Hampstead Common and Implementing the West End Green Space Strategy

The West End Green Space Strategy identifies a long list of opportunities to create additional green spaces throughout the Kurilpa Peninsula, predominantly by converting existing road reserve back into shaded boulevards and pocket parks. We support this strategy, including narrowing Hampstead Road and extending the existing community orchard along the footpaths leading down from the top of Highgate Hill.

 

Although some of these projects sound costly, they are essential if we are to preserve a high quality of life for current and future Gabba Ward residents. We can afford to deliver all of this if we make property developers pay their share, generate additional revenue from a vacancy levy, stop outsourcing core council services to private contractors who add in fat profit margins, and reduce spending on ineffective and sustainable road-widening projects.

 

Repurpose Space Under the Story Bridge for Community Purposes

There's a lot of under-utilised space beneath the Story Bridge at Kangaroo Point that can be converted for other uses. Some of this space which is currently used for council carparking could double-up as space for weekend farmers' markets and artisan markets. Some space could also be used for community concerts and movie nights, exercise equipment and perhaps even sporting facilities like cricket nets or basketball hoops. Obviously any redesign of this space should be subject to detailed community consultation, and should remain mindful of the need for off-street parking in the area. I believe council should put funding into a detailed community planning process to give residents and local small businesses control and decision-making power over the long-term future of this space.

 

 

Close Grey St to Through-Traffic and Create a New Public Park in South Brisbane

As part of the Brisbane Metro project, BCC and the State Government will be working together to redevelop the Cultural Centre Station and the adjoining Melbourne St-Grey St intersection. I'm calling for serious consideration of the possibility of closing off Grey St to through-traffic, so we can create 5000m2 of additional public green space between QPAC and the South Brisbane train station. This would have a range of positive flow-on impacts, including:
- improved traffic flow at the Peel St-Grey St and Grey St-Vulture St intersections
- giving higher-speed commuter cyclists a safer alternative to riding along the South Bank riverfront
- helping Grey St flourish as a low-speed active transport-focussed environment

You can find out a lot more detail about this proposal at this link.

 

As mentioned above, our vision for the Gabba Ward is based upon the feedback we receive from residents. If you disagree with some of it, let us know! If there are other projects or ideas that you think should be included in this vision, please write to us! This is an ever-evolving list that will change in response to the needs and priorities of local residents.

At the end of the day, it's not just up to me to articulate what I think should be the future of our community. All of us should get a say and all of us should meaningful control over how our city changes and evolves.