MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS The 4395 meeting of the Brisbane City Council,
held at City Hall, Brisbane
on Tuesday 12 February 2013
Council and Committees Support
Chief Executive’s Office
Office of the Lord Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer
TABLE OF CONTENTS
QUESTION TIME: 1
CONSIDERATION OF COMMITTEE REPORTS: 13
ESTABLISHMENT AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE 13
ESTABLISHMENT AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE (Special report) 27
INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE 38
PUBLIC AND ACTIVE TRANSPORT COMMITTEE 47 NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE 48
ENVIRONMENT, PARKS AND SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE 59
FIELD SERVICES COMMITTEE 68
BRISBANE LIFESTYLE COMMITTEE 71
FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE 73
PRESENTATION OF PETITIONS: 79
GENERAL BUSINESS: 80
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS OF WHICH DUE NOTICE HAS BEEN GIVEN: 91
PRESENT: The Right Honourable the LORD MAYOR (Councillor Graham QUIRK) – LNP
The Chairman of Council, Councillor Margaret de WIT (Pullenvale Ward) – LNP
LNP Councillors (and Wards)
ALP Councillors (and Wards)
Krista ADAMS (Wishart)
Matthew BOURKE (Jamboree)
Amanda COOPER (Bracken Ridge)
Vicki HOWARD (Central)
Steven HUANG (Macgregor)
Fiona KING (Marchant)
Geraldine KNAPP (The Gap)
Kim MARX (Karawatha)
Peter MATIC (Toowong)
Ian McKENZIE (Holland Park)
David McLACHLAN (Hamilton)
Ryan MURPHY (Doboy)
Angela OWEN-TAYLOR (Parkinson) (Deputy Chairman of Council)
Adrian SCHRINNER (Chandler) (Deputy Mayor)
Julian SIMMONDS (Walter Taylor)
Norm WYNDHAM (McDowall)
Andrew WINES (Enoggera)
Milton DICK (Richlands) (The Leader of the Opposition)
Helen ABRAHAMS (The Gabba) (Deputy Leader of the Opposition)
Peter CUMMING (Wynnum Manly)
Kim FLESSER (Northgate)
Steve GRIFFITHS (Moorooka)
Victoria NEWTON (Deagon)
Shayne SUTTON (Morningside)
Independent Councillor (and Ward)
Councillor Nicole JOHNSTON (Tennyson)
OPENING OF MEETING: The Chairman, Councillor Margaret de WIT, opened the meeting with prayer, and then proceeded with the business set out in the Agenda.
The Minutes of the 4394 meeting of Council held on 5 February 2013, copies of which had been forwarded to each councillor, were presented, taken as read and confirmed on the motion of Councillor Ryan MURPHY, seconded by Councillor Kim MARX.
Chairman: Are there any questions of the LORD MAYOR or a chairman of any of the standing committees? Councillor MURPHY?
Councillor MURPHY: Madam Chairman, my question is to the LORD MAYOR. LORD MAYOR I understand residents and businesses need to have confidence that we are delivering on our commitments. Can you please detail some of the inspiring initiatives that your Administration is delivering for Brisbane residents and businesses?
Chairman: LORD MAYOR?
LORD MAYOR: Well thanks very much, Madam Chairman. I thank Councillor MURPHY for the question.
Now, Madam Chairman, there are of course a range of proposals that are being put forward by this Administration with a view to engendering confidence within the economy of Brisbane and indeed a range of initiatives which are helping to create some unique windows of opportunity for our city, our businesses and our residents and that’s about the very essence of creating jobs at the end of the day.
Madam Chairman, last night as one example, we held a business forum. On this occasion it was at the Gaythorne RSL at Mitchelton and that was the third of these business forums. We have now had forums held at Jindalee, another at Colmslie and each of these forums have been attracting strong roll-ups from local businesses. It is an indication that people are keen to get on board. They are keen to be a part of looking beyond the GFC (global financial crisis) and making a difference looking for those opportunities to improve our business outlook and indeed through that, job creation within our city.
We continue to offer infrastructure charges free period for new hotels. Madam Chairman, with the G20 coming next year this also adds to the need for further hotel developments in our city, but not just around the G20, it’s been more a longstanding situation that we have seen a lack of hotel development within Brisbane now over almost a decade. We have seen a situation where business, both business meetings and international conferences, coming to Brisbane continue to grow and so we will continue to make that offering available to any business that wants to develop a hotel as part of a one-off single entity or mixed use development in Brisbane.
Madam Chairman, the new City Plan clearly is something that is before us at the moment and we are out there about to engage starting today with residents of this city, with businesses in this city, to make sure that people understand that there is a draft new City Plan on the agenda. We are doing everything we can to make that known out there among the people of this city, so that when the date comes when the state government give us the go-ahead in terms of opening this up for formal submissions, we will be allowing that three month period.
That engagement, Madam Chairman, will be important. It will be about the future of Brisbane. It will be about opportunities. It will also be about making sure that that growth is planned growth within the City of Brisbane.
I want to also give a very big thank you to those people that are engaged in our Brisbane Greeters program. This is a program which is a multilingual program in the sense that people who have volunteered for these roles offer a whole host of different languages in terms of the touring that they give, making Brisbane as a city a welcoming city, a city that cares, a city that very much has an open door in terms of people visiting whether they be from interstate or from overseas. So, Madam Chairman, I thank all of those volunteers who are undertaking that program.
There will be many times in the future as there was with the big geology international conference where those Brisbane Greeters will have the opportunity to present Brisbane for what we are.
The hotline—Brisbane hotline—another initiative of this administration. We’ve had a very good contact centre which has been around now for many years. Our business hotline 133 BNE is another means by which we open ourselves up to the people of Brisbane and particularly in this case our business people, our small business people as a one point of contact where they can have many of the issues that they need dealt with around licensing or whatever it might be. It is where they can have a point of contact to deal with those issues that make life easier for them in terms of doing business within our city.
Madam Chairman, these are just a few of the initiatives. We have of course many others, whether we’re talking about the chief digital officer and the digital strategy which will be coming up in the not too distant future, whether we’re talking about the programs that we have, of the international student programs. All of these things, Madam Chairman, add to the value of opportunity within our city both long and short term.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor DICK?
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chairman; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. LORD MAYOR it’s been reported that your Ethical Standards Unit is investigating Council officers who have used bikie links to intimidate Council employees working in Council depots, the smoking of drugs on site and the neglect of Council operational requirements.
When did you become aware of these activities, how many people are being investigated and has something seriously gone wrong with Council’s recruitment processes?
Chairman: LORD MAYOR?
LORD MAYOR: Well thanks very much Councillor DICK for the question. Madam Chairman, it is the case that we have investigations underway in relation to certain individuals who are in the employ of this Council. Was Council aware of their affiliation at the time of employment? I don’t believe that that was the case.
Madam Chairman, you can appreciate that I will be somewhat limited in what I can say given that these matters are under investigation. Suffice to say that I don’t believe that this is an endemic problem within Council. We are talking here about a potential of two to three individuals—they are the number of employees that we understand to be under investigation and there has been certain allegations made within the workforce of Brisbane City Council which the Ethical Standards Unit continue to pursue.
Madam Chairman, beyond that there is probably not a lot more that I can say in a public sense at the moment, other than to say that those investigations will continue. It is a matter of concern to me clearly if it is found that the allegations are proven, but again that is subject to this investigation.
In terms of when I became aware, Madam Chairman, I became aware when I saw the article in the paper and I can say that there have been investigations which have been going on internally since November of last year. So I am committed to obviously those investigations continuing and that we make sure that they are concluded after a full process has been applied.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor OWEN-TAYLOR?
Councillor OWEN-TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Chairman. My question this afternoon is to the chairman of Finance Economic Development and Administration Committee. Councillor SIMMONDS can you please provide details of initiatives that you are undertaking to actively instil business confidence across our city and ensure that our economy continues to grow?
Chairman: Councillor SIMMONDS?
Councillor SIMMONDS: Thank you very much, Madam Chairman, and that you to Councillor OWEN-TAYLOR for the question because the economic development agenda is central to this Administration. We are dedicated to assisting Brisbane businesses to create wealth and opportunities in our city to help our city grow and of course at the end of the day to create jobs.
Before I go on to talk of some of the initiatives that are underway to assist businesses in our city, it would be remiss of me not to remark on the impact to Brisbane businesses of the recent storm event on Australia Day.
While we were very lucky that that event didn’t affect businesses to the extent that we had thought it might, there was nevertheless a large contingent of Council officers and processes which kicked into place to ensure that if it did in fact affect Brisbane residents, Brisbane businesses, that there was support in place. So that included Brisbane Marketing and of course the Economic Development Agency of Council, as well as working in liaison with the CARS (Compliance and Regulatory Services) Branch.
It was very much a one Council approach. The whole of Council was focused not just on assisting residents but also on assisting Brisbane businesses.
We went out there; we not only did a rapid assessment of the infrastructure that had been damaged such as parks and bridges, but a rapid assessment of the businesses that may have been impacted. We were able to get out there very, very quickly thanks to the diligence of officers and check to make sure that there was anything that Council could do to get businesses trading again.
We had fact sheets where required. We were able to deliver directly to the businesses and of course the business hotline scripting was updated to provide the most recent and relevant data and information to any businesses who called.
We also proactively contacted the local chambers of commerce and the Chamber of Commerce Queensland to assess if their members were affected in any way.
Brisbane Marketing after the event straightaway went about reassuring international students who were about to commence their studies this semester to ensure that our city was not impacted by international students pulling out and also to reassure convention bookings that are already in place, to ensure that this city gets back on track and the economic development that has been so hard fought wasn’t lost.
But that of course builds on the work that Brisbane Marketing and our Council are already working very hard on, Madam Chairman, and I am very pleased to report that Brisbane Marketing has had significant success already this year. They’ve attracted investment above their KPIs with one business alone investing $4 million and another business investing $10 million including 50 new jobs for our city.
In the tourism sector we’ve seen a 15,000 increase in visitor nights from the Asian market, Madam Chairman, a fantastic result for Brisbane businesses.
The summer and winter campaigns which have been delivered have provided $59 million in media value for those businesses involved.
In the Ambassadors program the LORD MAYOR has appointed and empowered 1263 international student volunteers with the friendship of our city and conducted three student friendship ceremonies.
In major events through our Major Events program Brisbane Marketing has attracted 88,273 visitor nights above their KPI of 30,000, a fantastic result and in the area of conventions, through the conventions that we’ve attracted to our city 109,980 delegate days well above their KPI target of 99,000 including such conventions as the 15th Australian Asphalt Pavement Association Conference—Councillor MCLACHLAN that might interest you—as well as the ESRI Australia User Conference 2013.
Oh and of course our Brissie greeters, one of the success stories of our city, Madam Chairman, have conducted 392 tours for 1588 visitors, visitors who have had a much improved experience from Brisbane thanks to the efforts of those volunteers and who I’m sure are sharing their positive experience over social media and with their friends.
The LORD MAYOR also touched upon some of the other initiatives we’re providing to Brisbane businesses, including of course the launch of 133 BNE, our very successful business hotline and the LORD MAYOR’s business forums of which we’ve held three so far including Mitchelton last night which was very well received.
In the first two business forums alone we had 153 attendees of which 86 per cent of those surveyed attendees rated the forum a four or a five, five being very satisfied.
So there’s room for improvement but very, very encouraging results, Madam Chairman, and it helps us to really tailor a product to those businesses. As the LORD MAYOR mentioned, we get Council officers from a wide range across the organisation who were there and can assist not only in identifying pain points for those businesses, but also taking on issues and sorting them out in a very, very timely manner.
We’ve also put some more user-friendly Census data on our corporate website. After the release last year of the latest Census data we’ve been able to go through that, tailor it for business and—
Chairman: Councillor SIMMONDS your time has expired.
Councillor SIMMONDS: Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor DICK?
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chairman; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. LORD MAYOR the latest quarterly report from the Council owned Queensland Urban Utilities Water Distributor has revealed that six of the recycled water schemes failed their 12 month rolling compliance for E. coli bacteria. LORD MAYOR when did you find out that the water being sprayed into the air and onto the ground at Corinda, Wolston Park and Gailes contained E. coli and what did you do to ensure members of the public were informed and protected from this harmful bacteria?
Chairman: LORD MAYOR?
LORD MAYOR: Well, Madam Chairman, can I just say that this Council is not QUU (Queensland Urban Utilities). This Council is a stakeholder in QUU as are four other local government authorities—
LORD MAYOR: —as are four other local government authorities. So, Madam Chairman, I would have thought that it was the QUU’s responsibility primarily to, as an entity, give that advice to people. We as a council no longer have direct responsibility for QUU.
Now, Madam Chairman, in terms of—
LORD MAYOR: —in terms of the advice that Councillor DICK is putting forward, I don’t ever recall him raising this matter if it was of local concern to him and his constituency—
Chairman: Councillor DICK?
LORD MAYOR: Well can I just say to you Councillor DICK that is a matter that I was not aware of either. You’re saying that there were certain things in a certain report. I was not aware of that content of that report I have to admit. So, Madam Chairman, if I had it was a matter I may have raised at the time, but it was not a matter that was either drawn to my attention or to which I became aware.
If there are concerns however—and clearly from what you have raised today that is the case—then I think it is certainly beholding on me now to raise those matters with QUU to ensure that there is from that organisation some clear advice to the general public if it is—if it is—that public health warnings need to be provided.
There are some learnings I might say that came out of the events of just two weeks ago for which I will be having some discussions with QUU in relation to advice to the general public. There were situations where I stepped in, Madam Chairman, simply to provide a lead in terms of events of the last couple of weeks which ordinarily would not be my place necessarily to do. But someone needed to step-up and take some leadership and I did that on that occasion.
I think that we need to make sure that QUU as an entity is responsible and it isn’t just Brisbane. We are obviously a major stakeholder, but there are five stakeholders and each of those entities need to be respected. It’s not just a Brisbane show, but I believe that QUU probably do need to look towards a greater, if you like, board responsibility in relation to information along these lines. They are the entity; they need to ensure that public information does get out.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor KING?
Councillor KING: Thank you, Madam Chair. My question is to the chairman of Environment Parks and Sustainability Committee, Councillor BOURKE. I understand that parks and waterways define the enjoyment and liveability of cities and deliver value to our residents. Can you please update the Chamber on how this administration’s policies are inspiring confidence in our city?
Chairman: Councillor BOURKE?
Councillor BOURKE: Thanks very much, Madam Chairman, and I thank Councillor KING for the question.
Confidence is an important thing for the residents of Brisbane. Our residents need to feel confident that the Council is delivering for them and under LORD MAYOR, Graham Quirk, Council not only aims to deliver as much as we can for the residents of Brisbane but also that each park improvement, each waterway improvement, we try to aim to deliver a different experience for the residents of Brisbane, after all variety is the spice of life.
We know that Brisbane residents already have some 2000 different parks available to them to enjoy the natural areas and open spaces right across the city.
Madam Chairman, recent park upgrades and recent improvements to Council parks continue to deliver new opportunities for the residents to be confident that we are continuing to evolve obviously as the changing needs of the city and the residents change with the delivery of our parks and open spaces.
We’ve seen recently the construction of the Calamvale district park down in Councillor OWEN-TAYLOR’s ward with its unique skywalk playground feature, as well as many other well-used park facilities.
Also Rocks Riverside Park continues to go from strength to strength in my own ward, of course with its water play area as well as the community garden which is well-used.
This combined with the commitment by the LORD MAYOR at the recent Council elections to deliver a new all-ability CBD playground clearly shows that we continue to invest in the upgrades that we need to do.
Over in Councillor SCHRINNER’s ward, the White’s Hill Reserve upgrades that are continuing, delivering on our all abilities commitment, Madam Chairman. Another major playground there will be built with all-abilities features as a drawcard for members of the community and that’s on top of course of the 30 playground upgrades that we did in the last term towards all ability upgrades across the city.
As I touched on last week, Madam Chairman, the LORD MAYOR recently opened Ken Fletcher Park in Tennyson, another wonderful facility providing for the residents in the south-west there with some unique and really funky play equipment as I said last week and I hope Councillor KNAPP will go out and visit it sometime soon if she hasn’t already, but excitingly in Councillor MATIC’s ward of course we are awaiting the delivery of Frew Park. We continue to deliver that project and it’s another way that this Council is planning for the future growth of the city and at the same time delivering the open spaces and parks that we need to accommodate the continuing growth that we’re seeing across the city.
That’s our commitment on this side of the Chamber, Madam Chairman, and that’s why the confidence that the people of Brisbane displayed in us last April at the election is there, because we have had a track record of delivering and we have a solid plan for going forward.
We saw last year in the 2012 Healthy Waterways report card that a number or indeed a majority of our water systems across the city started to improve in health, a sign of the continuing investment that we’ve made as an administration to improving our waterways.
Of course all of this contributes to our plan to make Brisbane the cleanest and greenest city and to deliver more than ever before for the parks and the open spaces across our city and not only we’ve done it in our parks, but projects like Two Million Trees, Madam Chairman, the residents of Brisbane have confidence that their council has I guess has the impetus to go out there and tackle some of the big challenges that are facing us, not only as a city but as a country.
Couple our Two Million Trees project with our 600 hectares of bushland that we’ve purchased and our ongoing commitment to protecting obviously and preserving our bushland and you have quite a very strong track record and a strong story to tell.
The people of course as I said before understand this Administration’s works to improve and protect our parks. They understand the work we’ve done to improve and protect our waterways and our bushland areas and that’s, as I said, why they place their confidence in us, to continue to deliver last April.
But the people of Brisbane have no confidence in the Australian Labor Party or their Sunday fun days or their free sunscreen in parks which was the sum total of the green commitments that the Australian Labor Party made at the election last year.
Madam Chairman, this Administration will continue to get on with the job of delivering for residents in Brisbane when it comes to parks, waterways and open spaces so they can continue to have confidence in their council.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor DICK?
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. LORD MAYOR as part of the review into TransLink bus routes I wrote to the Minister for Transport, Scott Emerson and the State Member for Algester, Anthony Shorten, expressing my outrage and disgust and asking them to do all they could to save some of Brisbane’s bus routes. As LORD MAYOR have you thought to meet with or written to the minister asking him to spare Brisbane’s bus routes and how do you respond to reports that Brisbane transport workers have been gagged from speaking to officers in TransLink undertaking this review?
LORD MAYOR will you table any correspondent to your LNP State colleagues and have you stood up for Brisbane?
Chairman: LORD MAYOR?
LORD MAYOR: Well, Madam Chairman, the question has a couple of parts there. Let me deal with the issue of my representation to the Department of Transport.
Madam Chairman, yes I have—I have lodged my own submission in relation to this finally; it’s been in there since the middle of December thanks very much Councillor DICK. So I wrote within the prescribed time, lodged a formal submission in relation to the proposed TransLink changes.
Madam Chairman, within that I raised a number of issues relative to the proposed TransLink changes—
Chairman: Order Councillor JOHNSTON.
LORD MAYOR: So, Madam Chairman, I did that. I understand quite a number, if not all, of my colleagues on my Administration side also wrote submissions in relation to it.
Now in terms of your question Councillor DICK about some sort of gag, that is absolutely news to me in relation to that. So I don’t know on what basis you provide that allegation. I’d like to see evidence as to how you can substantiate that allegation. If you have it then let’s see it, Madam Chairman, but that would be news to me.
I again have put forward a number of concerns. I also raise the fact that we have seen in this city a substantial increase in patronage since 2004. Within the submission I also raised the fact that there has been a decline in the more recent period of time around public transport use and so these are issues of concern.
We do not, on this side, endorse the changes that are proposed and we never will. We will always put the people of this city first.
Today I was very happy to be able to launch a new CityGlider in that respect which will be another improvement to the public transport network, but my submission raised issues around a number of routes in this city, areas from Garden City to Chermside, issues around Highgate Hill Councillor ABRAHAMS, issues around Yeronga, issues around Richlands. I went into some detail around a number of routes which were of concern to me, but there are others I know that also registered their concern and we will continue to do that. We will continue to make sure that we put the people of this city first in terms of our views, without fear or favour, regardless of the government of the day. That is my position and that will always—and you can laugh councillor but the reality is that will always be our position.
Chairman: Further questions?
Councillor DICK: Point of order, Madam Chair?
Chairman: Point of order yes Councillor DICK?
Councillor DICK: My question was very specific about tabling any correspondence. Will the LORD MAYOR table that correspondence?
LORD MAYOR: Madam Chairman, I will be happy to table it if Councillor DICK tables the information he has to substantiate his claim about gagging of Brisbane transport officers.
Chairman: Thank you, LORD MAYOR. Councillor HOWARD?
Councillor HOWARD: Thank you, Madam Chairman. My question is to the —
Chairman: Councillor DICK.
Councillor HOWARD: My question is to the chairman of the Neighbourhood Planning and Development Assessment Committee, Councillor COOPER. Councillor can you please update the Chamber on initiatives in your portfolio that support and address the needs of Brisbane residents?
Chairman: Councillor COOPER?
Councillor COOPER: Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I thank Councillor HOWARD for the question. It’s always a good opportunity to update the Chamber about how Council is looking to make sure that we streamline the things that we do and improve the processes within our organisation. In particular Development Assessment has been working very hard on making some improvements to processes and to make sure that those processes are easier and faster to provide certainty and confidence to the people of our city. One way we are doing this is by encouraging people to actually lodge their application through Council’s electronic DA mailbox also known as eDA. So I think certainly in our committee those members in my committee would be well aware of Council’s approach to try and make sure that we are doing things as quickly and expeditiously as possible.
By lodging your application electronically, applicants save time and money of course and take advantage of the convenience. So it’s a 24/7 service, Madam Chair. You can lodge an application at two o’clock in the morning if you choose to do so. You don’t need to come into a Council office; you don’t have to approach the counter and lodge reams and reams of paper.
In addition to that, Madam Chair, save millions of dollars by reducing holding costs to applications, reducing the costs of printing, scanning and other administrative costs.
The DA process has also enabled Council to reduce the average decision time on applications by two weeks, reduce of course printing costs and administrative costs. So there are benefits both for applicants and for Council itself, Madam Chair, and we are seeing now 85 per cent of development applications lodged to Council electronically. So a huge step up in only very recent times, very much in line with the LORD MAYOR’s focus on encouraging economic development in our city.
One of our new initiatives is the SealSMART program. This was launched after a successful trial last year. This is an opportunity for us to improve plan sealing times through enabling self-certification of appropriate applications by accredited consultants. So the learnings that we’ve got through the RiskSMART initiatives have been applied under this particular new initiative.
Under the program, Council will seal SealSMART plans within five business days of payment of plan sealing fees if the application meets all of Council’s requirements. This is a huge improvement on past results and has been very much widely praised by industries.
As I mentioned earlier, the RiskSMART initiative—Council last year received over 3119 development applications. Through RiskSMART we are able to process low-risk applications effectively and efficiently and in 2013 we will continue to look at ways to improve our processes and to ensure that the market has confidence in investing in our city.
New City Plan, as the LORD MAYOR mentioned earlier, will look to improve transparency, certainty, to reduce applicant and Council costs by using new tools such as overlays which allow us to frontload the plan, giving that information for everyone to see. We’ll be ensuring that there is a clearer criterion for development applications, for example, where an applicable Australian standard exists, we’ll revert to that standard rather than making up our own. So there’s a whole range of things that we’ll be seeing through new City Plan.
We’ve established industry zones—low, medium and high industry zones—to help reduce business costs by less assessment reports required.
So, Madam Chair, unlike the Australian Labor Party, this Administration is continuing to work hard to ensure that our processes make sure that we plan a fantastic city to meet the challenges while also making sure that we give every opportunity for the city to grow effectively. Thank you.
Chairman: Further questions Councillor DICK?
MOTION FOR SUSPENSION OF RULES OF PROCEDURE:
At that juncture, Councillor Milton DICK moved, seconded by Councillor Kim FLESSER, that the Rules of Procedure be suspended to allow the moving of the following motion
That this Council condemns the LNP State Government’s proposed cuts to Brisbane Bus Routes and supports the Lord Mayor’s calls to save the services
Chairman: You have three minutes to establish urgency Councillor DICK.
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair. We’ve just heard from the LORD MAYOR that on behalf of Brisbane ratepayers he has written to the State Government, after my questioning where we haven’t heard anything for the last five months on this issue. We’ve finally flushed the LORD MAYOR out and the LNP councillors that they are also condemning the changes put forward by the LNP State Government.
Madam Chair, this is the first sitting week at State Parliament and this Council can take a proactive tough message on behalf of the commuters and ratepayers of this city to say to you as a united block that we do not support the unfair and cruel cuts to public transport services that the LNP State Government have proposed.
Madam Chair, it is urgent that we send a very clear message now that we know that the LORD MAYOR is out there campaigning against the LNP State Government, that he’s formally written a submission on behalf of ratepayers, not that he is prepared to release that information. He is hiding that information, however, for his own reasons. Today we need to act urgently to send a very clear message whilst this review is underway. It is not good enough to hide behind letters and correspondence. We all can unite as one to send a very clear message as a result of the LORD MAYOR releasing that information today that he has indeed and in fact a majority of LNP councillors have written. So I don’t think there will be any debate whatsoever surrounding this urgency motion, given that they’ve put pen to paper. I certainly would hope that they have the guts—
Chairman: To urgency please Councillor DICK why you need to bring it forward today right now.
Councillor DICK: Because we have just heard from the LORD MAYOR that he is condemning the LNP State Government. There can be nothing more clearer than this Council debating this issue right here, right now. It’s urgent, Madam Chair, because the commuters of our city demand that we take action and demand that we stand up for those services, those pensioners, those seniors—
Councillor SCHRINNER: Point of order, Madam Chairman?
Chairman: Point of order against you Councillor DICK. Yes Councillor SCHRINNER?
Councillor SCHRINNER: I’m just questioning the confidence of this motion. As far as I’m aware the state government hasn’t released any information on their bus network—
Chairman: This is just the urgency part of it Councillor SCHRINNER not the motion so—
Councillor DICK: Well, Madam Chair, I’m not surprised they’re already running away from their—
Chairman: Councillor DICK please establish the urgency of what you’re wanting to propose.
Councillor DICK: Well it’s urgent, Madam Chair, because this is the first opportunity that we can send a bipartisan message to the state government that this Council will not stand for any cuts to public transport.
Councillor SCHRINNER there is a hit list and that hit list is being circulated by TransLink about all the services and I’d be pretty worried if you haven’t looked at that list because there’s some—
Chairman: Councillor DICK your time has expired. I will put the motion requesting suspension of the rules of procedure—
Chairman: —Councillor JOHNSTON—requesting suspension of the rules of procedure in order to move an urgency motion.
The Chairman submitted the motion for the suspension of the Rules of Procedure to the Chamber and it was declared lost on the voices.
Thereupon, Councillors Milton DICK and Steve Griffiths immediately rose and called for a division, which resulted in the motion being declared lost. The voting was as follows:
AYES: 8 - The Leader of the OPPOSITION, Councillor Milton DICK, and Councillors Helen ABRAHAMS, Shayne SUTTON, Peter CUMMING, Kim FLESSER, Steve GRIFFITHS, Victoria NEWTON, and Nicole JOHNSTON.
NOES: 19 - The Right Honourable the LORD MAYOR, Councillor Graham QUIRK, DEPUTY MAYOR, Councillor Adrian SCHRINNER, and Councillors Krista ADAMS, Matthew BOURKE, Amanda COOPER, Margaret de WIT, Vicki HOWARD, Steven HUANG, Fiona KING, Geraldine KNAPP, Kim MARX, Peter MATIC, Ian McKENZIE, David McLACHLAN, Ryan MURPHY, Angela OWEN TAYLOR, Julian SIMMONDS, Andrew WINES, and Norm WYNDHAM.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor WINES?
Councillor WINES: Thank you, Madam Chairman. My question is to the chairman of the Brisbane Lifestyle Committee, Councillor ADAMS. Councillor ADAMS can you please detail how this Administration is inspiring confidence by delivering initiatives—
Councillor JOHNSTON: Point of order, Madam Chairman?
Chairman: Point of order against you Councillor WINES. Yes Councillor JOHNSTON?
Councillor JOHNSTON: Madam Chairman, I draw to your attention that the rules of procedure require you to go from side-to-side with respect to questions, an issue that you’ve pointed out to me previously. I believe that the question should have come from this side of the Chamber, as the previous question went to Councillor COOPER where she waffled on about DAs.
So, Madam Chairman, I’m drawing that to your attention and ask that you enforce the rules and give the call to this side of the Chamber.
Chairman: Well thank you Councillor JOHNSTON, but I think Councillor DICK forfeited that side of the Chamber in terms of that particular question. Councillor WINES?
Councillor JOHNSTON: Point of order—
Chairman: I do not hold your point of order.
Councillor JOHNSTON: Thank you, Point of order, Madam Chairman?
Chairman: Yes Councillor JOHNSTON?
Councillor JOHNSTON: Madam Chairman, as I understood it Councillor DICK moved a procedural motion and as such you’re refusing to enforce the rules of procedure in this place.
Councillor Nicole JOHNSTON moved, seconded by Councillor Helen ABRAHAMS, that the Chairman’s ruling be dissented from. Upon being submitted to the meeting the motion of dissent was declared lost on the voices.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor WINES?
Councillor WINES: Thank you, Madam Chairman. My question is to Councillor ADAMS, the chairman of the Brisbane Lifestyle Committee. Councillor ADAMS can you please detail how this Administration is inspiring confidence by delivering initiatives and policies that enhance residents’ lifestyles?
Chairman: Councillor ADAMS?
Councillor ADAMS: Thank you, Madam Chair, and I thank Councillor WINES for the question. It’s my pleasure to stand up here and talk about ways we are enhancing our residents’ lifestyle and giving them confidence to invest in Brisbane and in our local sporting clubs.
This Administration under the leadership of LORD MAYOR Graham Quirk is all about supporting our local clubs and our leased areas as we move forward.
You may have seen unfortunately in the Sunday-Mail an article this weekend about local sporting clubs that are facing many difficulties in their administration and in some cases fraud and driving some of the clubs to near bankruptcy.
Well we have changed the aspect of how we support our clubs with this Administration. We recognise the need to address these issues and amongst our latest rollout of grants for our cut costs grants, we have initiated the Board Health Check Grant, so we have one very specific part of this grant’s program that actually looks at clubs enhancing the way that they run themselves. It encourages them to use the best practice which leads to increased professionalism, sustainability, economic responsibility which obviously will lead to better management and capability and then of course value for money for our club members.
We are starting to see the flow-on effect. We’ve had some great response to our grants which will be coming out soon and not to mention the happy side of the article we saw on Sunday where the clubs are actually seeing an increase in membership and confidence in the clubs by the sign on numbers we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.
We are also committed to making sure Brisbane is an inclusive and accessible city, giving all residents the equal opportunity to participate and use those local amenities. So access and inclusion grants are making it possible for these organisations to respond to the access and inclusion challenges give to them.
When we do have restricted moneys in this club, sometimes the ramp for the wheelchair or the rails or the disability toilets are not high on the priority of getting things going for the club, but we’ve got these grants now that specifically relate to improving access to community facilities. It supports these projects which respond to issues experienced by people with disability or their carers and it’s addressing those barriers that these people find within our community.
We are hoping that through these grants we can make sure the community feel confident that they are not feeling marginalised and unrepresented in their sporting communities.
We are continuing to work with our inclusive Brisbane board. Taken the recent weather event and the ability of our call centre, we are making sure that we are doing everything across the gambit of the social policies to make sure people are provided for. We are making sure that the call centre keeps the up-to-date information and that through that inclusive Brisbane Board, as I talked about, we are looking at all aspects of Brisbane society to make sure that we are addressing all of the issues and the needs of the residents of Brisbane.
Councillor SIMMONDS and the LORD MAYOR has mentioned 133 BNE, the hotline that comes through the Call Centre. It’s dedicated to getting that business information out. It answers quickly, efficiently and most importantly you have your own case manager to deal with that tier two questions that might make it just a little bit harder in previous years to deal with Council. So we really are achieving this vision of employment growth and a strong economy.
But what about the safety of our residents? Our compliance officers are out there every day ensuring that our local laws are not just words but they’re there for a reason. We ensure that all our residents have the same right to enjoy their properties, their parks, their suburbs, to be able to pick up their kids from a slightly less congested school pickup area, dealing with dog attacks, keeping those school zones safe, making sure on the whole that our citizens are safe and healthy.
Healthy, eat safe, rating for food premises that people now look for when they go to restaurants. They check to see what star food rating businesses have before they decide to eat there. We are not hesitating to suspend food licences when we find breaches. Brisbane is a city in which residents and visitors can feel confident and within this portfolio we are delivering and inspiring confidence in our residents’ lifestyle.
Chairman: Further questions? Councillor DICK?
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chairman; my question is to the LORD MAYOR. LORD MAYOR your election policy documents always claim that the LNP supports a local buy and local jobs strategy to keep Brisbane’s economy strong. LORD MAYOR why are you planning to outsource Council IT jobs overseas? How does sending Council jobs offshore improve our local economy, boost local business and help the unemployment rate in Queensland? LORD MAYOR will you stand up for Brisbane and save Council’s IT jobs?
Chairman: LORD MAYOR?
LORD MAYOR: Well, Madam Chairman, the reality is that this Council engages companies on a whole raft of items across the board. Those companies then have their own operations; they make their own decisions in terms of the way in which those businesses operate.
In terms of what the leader of the opposition is referring to today, Madam Chairman, I can only assume that he is referring to the NIO project. That is a matter before the Commission at the moment and as a result of that I can’t comment much more than that, but I’ll just say this—in a general context, that, you know, it has been a fact of life that even if we do give jobs to Brisbane-based companies, to Queensland-based companies, those companies then are entitled to run their organisations as they see fit. They run their businesses according what they need to do so long as it is in a legal context.
Now I know you don’t care because in your time Councillor FLESSER you actually went to New Zealand to bring the people here to cut the grass in our local parks and it is a fact of life that you engage—
Chairman: Order, order.
LORD MAYOR: —to come to the biggest council in Australia to cut the grass in the parks and on the footpaths of this city and that is well documented and I encourage you to go back and have a look at what you did in relation to those contracts—
Chairman: Councillor CUMMING.
LORD MAYOR: —because it is a matter of public history.
The Labor Party like to do all sorts of things and demand all sorts of requirements when they are not in administration, things that they willingly went about themselves and did over and over and over again.
As I’ve always said, they are brilliant in opposition, it’s just a pity they weren’t so consistently good when they were in administration.