Draft Kurilpa Master Plan Submission - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Draft Kurilpa Master Plan Submission

This submission is about the controversial draft Kurilpa Master Plan. It calls for greater consultation. It also endorses the concerns of residents and my fellow representatives Jackie Trad MP and Cr Helen Abrahams.

You can download my submission (as a pdf) here

It’s been reported that groups such as the Australian Institute of Architects and the West End Community Association have been critical of the controversial plan. The area is of great significance, and the plan includes a radical change to the face of the area. The aspiration should be to create a thorough, world-class plan that earns the support of locals and residents across Brisbane.

Inadequate consultation period
I understand the draft Kurilpa Master Plan was developed behind closed doors over ten months. The plan itself seems to have been announced at a $150 per head event.

Even though the plan was developed over many months, and even though it will affect amenity for residents across Brisbane who are affected by inner city development, people have been given only 30 business days to provide feedback.

More time needed

“This kind of large scale change to a neighborhood and public asset is worthy of genuine dialogue, honest negotiation and truly sustainable development.”

- West End resident

You’d be aware of a petition to the State Parliament to extend the consultation period. The petition says:.

“Queensland residents draw to the attention of the House the brief period of time residents have to respond to the Kurilpa Riverfront Renewal Draft Master Plan (the Plan).

This plan represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop for the people of Brisbane the last substantial inner-city land bank adjacent to the river.

The Plan has been developed in conjunction with a select number of developers over the past 10 months and to the exclusion of the local West End community and the wider Brisbane community.

The Plan is to oversee the development of the 25 hectare Kurilpa precinct over the next 15 years. However, the local West End and South Brisbane community along with the wider Brisbane community have been given a consultation period of only 30 business days.

Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to call on the Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning to extend the consultation period for the Kurilpa Riverfront Renewal Draft Master Plan to the end of June 2015 to allow equal consideration by the people of Brisbane and to publicly release all of the planning studies, information and documentation provided to developers.”

I understand around 1700 people have signed the petition. Despite the clear and strong basis for an extension of the consultation period, I am making this submission within the time provided. The fact that I’m doing so should not be taken as an indication that I agree that the present consultation period is fair or reasonable.

Image from the draft plan

Residents support good development, not over-development

I’ve heard concerns from people across my electorate, on Brisbane’s inner south side, about over-development.

People aren’t anti-development

“I am not ideologically opposed to development, but it shouldn't be done at the expense of community for the benefit of a few.”

- West End resident

People aren’t against development – they understand that we need more housing close to the city. But people do not support poorly planned, crowded over-development, that doesn’t pay enough attention to amenity, traffic management, access to services, and public space including green space.

I’ve had residents raise particular concerns with me about the images included in the draft Kurilpa Master Plan, and the impression given in relation to future density.


“A picture says a thousand words. I am surprised that Council would publish the confronting photo taken from the Kurilpa Riverfront Renewal Draft Master Plan. I initially thought there had been a mistake and I was looking at a photo taken in Dubai.”

- West End resident

The point has been made that the image suggests that the area covered by the draft plan will be “Brisbane’s first high rise suburb”. A cluster of twenty to forty storey buildings along the river will radically change the area. Such radical change should not be attempted without thorough community engagement, consultation and input.

Kurilpa is important to all of Brisbane

As with other areas along Brisbane river, Kurilpa is important to all of Brisbane, not just to residents in the immediate vicinity. You only have to look at how South Bank is used to understand the connection that Brisbane people have with our river.

Kurilpa provides access to important public buildings, of city-wide (and indeed state-wide) significance, like GOMA, and the state library, as well as providing a gateway to the city via the wonderful pedestrian bridge. It’s a site of modern-day and historical public and cultural gatherings, and of heritage.

This area deserves world-class planning. No disrespect is intended to those involved in the planning process to date, but why not open up the planning to engage international experts, and broaden consultation with residents across Brisbane?

Listen, engage and consult

"Please don't put the plan through as it stands now without listening to the concerns of the locals and making sure you have the infrastructure in place to support such a huge increase in population. In fact school, public transport, green space infrastructure should be a priority not an afterthought once all the land has been sold to developers.”

- West End resident

“Consultation with the community should be at the heart of this plan, but instead it seems to be an afterthought.”

- Jackie Trad MP

Engagement and consultation is particularly important. Residents across my electorate seem to be finding it difficult to be heard when it comes to local development. As you’d be aware, there are residents in Kangaroo Point who feel they’ve had no choice but to fight a very high development (around double that envisaged by the local plan) in the courts. I’ve also heard concerns about over-development in other suburbs on the South Side. In addition, and as you know, the LNP state government has made changes to increase the risk of an adverse costs order, in Planning and Environment Court proceedings.

Planning for a great place to live, visit and work

The plan should be aimed at making sure the area will always be a great place to live, work, or visit. There should be detailed consideration about the issues that will determine the area’s liveability.

Traffic and transport: How will the area be made safe and welcoming for cyclists? How will gridlock be avoided? How will “walkability” be improved – the ability to walk to schools, health services, public transport stops and other amenities and services? What will be done to make sure that this area has access to world-class public transport? Although I acknowledge the draft plan refers to transport, it is light on detail and the ideas for transport seem tentative and contingent.

Schools and other education: How will residents’ children have access to education? West End State School and Brisbane State High School are already large schools. How will they accommodate extra demand if there are 11,000 new residents in the Kurilpa area? There seems to be scant (if any) consideration of these issues.

Where will the kids go to school?

“If this Plan becomes are reality there will be a mass exit every morning to take the kids to school. It is a myth to think that families with children do not live in apartment buildings as a survey of West End State School has shown.”

- Cr Helen Abrahams

Flooding: I understand that a significant part of the area is a flood plain. Yet there is little detail about flood mitigation. Where is the detailed planning and assurance about how twenty to forty storey buildings will be able to be built on land prone to flooding?

Parkland and open space, including between buildings: As Cr Abrahams has said, “The Lord Mayor’s City Plan 2014 provides KPIs for parkland. The amount of parkland for recreational purposes for 11,000 is over 11 hectares or over 40% of the site. It sounds a large area of park but it illustrates how many people are being squeezed into this area of the city. This plan should take the opportunity to deliver a park of city wide importance such as Newstead Riverside Park, or Rocks Riverside Parks.”

More parkland will be needed if there’s to be 11,000 additional residents

“… nowhere is the concept of plain, old, open, grassed areas dotted with large trees and fountains and gazebos and trellises and mazes and sculptures, bordering a beautiful stretch of river, mentioned. Areas where people can play with their children, chat with their friends, do tai chi by the river, or just sit quietly and revive the soul. We all need quiet, unfettered green spaces. Other precincts have these spaces in abundance.”

- West End resident


This submission is not intended to be an exhaustive statement about the draft plan – particularly given the short period given for feedback. I have read the submissions, statements and/or public comments from each of Cr Abrahams and Jackie Trad MP. I endorse their concerns, and I add my voice to theirs.

I ask you to listen to residents and do more to engage and consult, so that you can ultimately draft a plan that has support from across our community.

I also ask that you ensure that, as the federal representative for the area, I am kept apprised of any further information, action, events or developments relating to the matters the subject of the draft plan.

Thank you for considering this submission. If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Terri Butler MP
Federal Member for Griffith


(You can download my submission (as a pdf) here.)



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