LNP launches development shake-up
The LNP will revive plans, previously scuttled by the Labor Government, to build a hotel at the Howard Smith Wharves. Photo: Glenn Hunt
Twelve-storey buildings are likely to be allowed in the part of West End opposite Toowong, while plans to build a boutique hotel under the Story Bridge will be revived.
Premier Campbell Newman and Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk fronted the media this morning to signal their plans for changes after the Liberal National Party's victory at state and local government levels.
As flagged during the state election campaign, management of the South Bank parklands will return to Brisbane City Council, rather than be overseen by the powerful state body South Bank Corporation.
Mr Newman said the council would receive state government funding to ensure it was not left out of pocket when it regained control of South Bank.
The exact amount was yet to be decided, but Mr Newman said the state government's existing annual subsidy for the South Bank Corporation was $10 million.
Mr Newman also said development areas under control of the state government-established Urban Land Development Authority would be handed back to Brisbane City Council.
The urban development areas to be transferred are in Carseldine, Woolloongabba, North Shore Hamilton and Bowen Hills.
Mr Newman said the council would be given the ULDA's strong powers, which included approving developments without the community having the right to appeal.
However, he argued the council, unlike the ULDA, was a "democratically elected local government" accountable to voters.
Mr Newman and Cr Quirk also reached an in-principle agreement that the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan would be resubmitted to the state government to allow 12-storey buildings to be constructed between Montague Road and the Brisbane River.
The "Riverside South" precinct at the centre of the discussions is south of Davies Park.
The previous state government had insisted no more than seven storeys should be allowed in the area.
Mr Newman and Cr Quirk also plan to revive Brisbane City Council's Howard Smith Wharves proposal to build a boutique hotel and parklands under northern end of the Story Bridge.
The Labor government scuttled the hotel plans last year, citing flood risks.
Gabba councillor Helen Abrahams, also Labor's deputy opposition leader in Brisbane City Council, said Labor did not object to planning controls of South Bank Parklands and Kangaroo Point cliffs being given to Brisbane City Council.
However she maintained Labor’s long-held opposition to building a hotel under Howard Smith Wharves.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin said this afternoon Labor was concerned at the decision to pass back some planning controls from the ULDA to Brisbane City Council.
“What the Urban Land Development Authority has been able to do has been to work with local government at a local level and the community and come up with an integrated plan for a region,” Mr Mulherin said.
“It has been able to bring to market a project in a very quick manner which has reduced the price of land which has reduced the price of housing.”
Mr Mulherin said ULDA projects in Townsville, Mackay and Moranbah worked well with the local councils.
He said it was only Mr Newman, as a former Brisbane lord mayor who had objected to the ULDA.
Mr Newman and Cr Quirk have also agreed to split the bill to upgrade level crossings at Robinson Road, Geebung, and Telegraph Road, Bracken Ridge, an issue they said had reached a "stalemate" when the Labor government was in charge.
The combined cost would be $260 million, Mr Newman said.
The LNP vowed during the election campaign to re-empower local councils.
Mr Newman said the management of Roma Street Parklands, Roma Street Forum and Emma Millar Place would also return to Brisbane City Council.
He said the detail of the South Bank transfer was still to be decided, noting the council could take control of the South Bank car parks so it had a revenue stream to manage the parklands.
However, commercial tenancies were likely to stay with the state government.
Asked whether he might be giving the local council free rein, Mr Newman said: "The previous Labor government felt it should be in the game of running these little patches of park around Brisbane. Why?"
Cr Quirk was unsure when asked whether the council would try to retain the expertise of the South Bank Corporation and take on some of its officials.
"I think that's all up for grabs at the moment," he said, without putting a timeframe on the transfer.
"Everything comes to an end and I just say I think there needs to be a transitional period across."
Cr Quirk was lukewarm on former premier Anna Bligh's idea of expanding South Bank further, in a concept called "South Bank 2", saying it was a debate for another day.
"I think we need to just manage what we have at the moment," he said.
Cr Quirk argued Labor's rejection of the Howard Smith Wharves hotel proposal was more about politics than flood risk, saying there was less water in that area than there was in the location earmarked for the South Bank expansion.
Mr Newman, the former Brisbane lord mayor, and Cr Quirk, his former deputy, touted their ability to work together as a "new partnership".
Mr Newman said the government also wanted to work with other councils in a similar fashion, hailing councils as the level of government closest to the people.
Mr Mulherin also warned it would be difficult to ensure consistency in decision-making in different ULDA projects across the state now being checked by different councils.
- with Tony Moore