Graham Quirk raises concerns over Queensland Government’s population and housing estimates

By November 15, 2016 November 18th, 2016 News

Graham Quirk raises concerns over Queensland Government’s population and housing estimates

By Casey Briggs

Brisbane’s Lord Mayor has accused the State Government of moving the goalposts and increasing the development rate in south-east Queensland.

The draft south-east Queensland Regional Plan released last month sets population and housing estimates until 2041.

Brisbane City Council is estimated to build about 223,000 new dwellings in the next 25 years, the vast majority from redeveloping existing properties into high density housing.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said that would require the rate of development to increase by almost 50 per cent.

A motion was passed at today’s council meeting expressing concern over the target, in a move the State Government called an “absurd political stunt”.

Cr Quirk told the meeting that people concerned about overdevelopment should find the plan worrying.

“The figures before us suggest that whatever you’re seeing, whatever number of cranes you’re counting in the sky out there, add 50 per cent — that’s the reality,” said Cr Quirk.

He said he objected to population targets being altered by the Government.

“We are a little burnt by the process of regional plans in this place,” he said.

“I won’t have this administration hanging out to dry by state ministers who decide they’ll sign up to a plan and then they’ll walk when it gets hot in the kitchen.”

Labor councillors abstained on the motion, and Opposition Leader Peter Cumming said the motion showed the LNP’s lack of interest and ideas.

“Population growth in Brisbane is a given — the alternative is to build a Donald Trump-style wall between us and New South Wales,” Cr Cumming said.

Local Government Minister Jackie Trad wrote to Cr Quirk this morning, accusing him of playing politics with planning.

“At no point throughout this process were concerns raised,” she wrote.

“I am led to believe that this motion has been made as a political stunt without any sound policy justification.”

Ms Trad said building approval rates in Brisbane over the past five years have exceeded the rate needed to meet the benchmark.

Cr Quirk rejected the contention, and said building approvals were irrelevant as only around half of all approvals actually get built.