Second letter to the Minister for Defence re Bulimba Barracks site - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Second letter to the Minister for Defence re Bulimba Barracks site

The following is my second letter to the Minister for Defence regarding the Bulimba Barracks.

You can download the pdf here

23 December 2014




The Hon Kevin Andrews MP

Minister for Defence

Member for Menzies

PO Box 6100



By email:

And by post


Dear Minister

Re:  Barracks site at Bulimba

At the outset, I congratulate you for your appointment as Minister for Defence. Having done so, I refer to the above and to my letter your predecessor of 2 December 2014.

I understand that the barracks site at Bulimba is 23ha and has, since WWII, been the location of military personnel. Recently the Army’s Joint Logistics Unit (JLU) relocated from Bulimba Barracks to Amberley.  Bulimba is a desirable area with high property values.  The site is north-facing, by the river. As it seems the JLU occupied most (around 21 ha) of the site, the community is very interested in what is to be done with the site.

Accordingly, in my letter of 2 December 2014, I sought information about the site’s future. 

On or about 11 December 2014, my Chief of Staff, Angus Sutherland, spoke to the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, the Hon Darren Chester MP. Mr Chester advised:

  • the Navy and cadets would remain at the site;
  • there is a proposal, presently with the Prime Minister’s office, as to the sale of the land; and
  • I could expect a written response to my letter of 2 December before Christmas.

I have yet to receive a written response to my letter of 2 December.

Mr Chester has kindly agreed to meet with me once Parliament resumes. I have made an appointment for the first sitting day.  However, given the level of community concern,

I am seeking information on a more urgent basis.

As you may have been advised, Section (2) of the Bulimba District neighbourhood code relevantly provides:


“ Purpose


(1) The purpose of the Bulimba district neighbourhood plan code is to provide finer grained planning at a local level for the Bulimba district neighbourhood plan area.


(2) The purpose of the Bulimba district neighbourhood plan code will be achieved through overall outcomes including overall outcomes for each precinct of the neighbourhood plan area.


(3) The overall outcomes for the neighbourhood plan area are:

(a) The district’s primary role as a low to low–medium density residential area is retained.

(b) Development in the Bulimba district neighbourhood plan area provides for low-rise detached dwelling houses predominantly in the Low density residential zone.

(c) Streets and areas present a strong traditional built character by retaining pre-1911 houses and houses built in 1946 or before and conserving mature plantings.

(d) New houses, extensions to houses and multiple dwellings are built to a design which is in keeping with the local pre-1911 and built in 1946 or before traditional building character, where located within the Traditional building character overlay or Pre-1911 building overlay.

(e) The history and commercial character of the neighbourhood plan area is protected, in particular:

(i) places of cultural heritage significance are conserved to preserve the areas identity;

(ii) the areas traditional commercial buildings built in 1946 or before are protected with extensions to these buildings built to a design that is in keeping with the existing building’s architectural character;

(iii) views of heritage places from the public realm are maintained as a priority.

(f) The Oxford Street frontage will continue to be the focus for retail, food and drink outlet and entertainment related uses such that the development of these activities beyond the boundaries of a zone in the centre zones category or the Mixed use zone is not consistent with the outcomes sought.

(g) Redevelopment or refurbishment of existing development incorporates high-quality building and landscape design themes.

(h) The local servicing and employment opportunities offered by existing industrial activities along Taylor Street are maintained, with any new development on these sites not to involve a residential use and to be consistent with low impact industrial uses.

(k) An integrated network of shaded, landscaped streets and pedestrian and cycle routes enhance connections to Bulimba’s residential areas, the Oxford Street and Hawthorne commercial areas, the ferry terminals and parks.

(m) Development is of a height, scale and form which is consistent with the amenity and character, community expectations and infrastructure assumptions intended for the relevant precinct, sub-precinct or site and is only developed at a greater height, scale and form where there is both a community need and economic need for the development.

(7) Department of Defence site precinct (Bulimba district neighbourhood plan/NPP-004) overall outcomes are:

 (a) Should the Commonwealth Government cease operations at the Bulimba Barracks, the subsequent redevelopment of the site will achieve the following:

 (i) retention of the existing operational facilities of and access to the Royal Australian Navy South Queensland Headquarters;

(ii) identification and conservation of significant heritage and character buildings and features of intrinsic historic value that reflect the previous use of the site as a defence base;

(iii) an appropriate mix of uses, housing types and densities, including affordable housing;

(iv) sensitive integration of built form with surrounding residential areas;

(v) retention of significant vegetation;

(vi) improved access to essential facilities and community services;

(vii) provision of new infrastructure that meets the needs of the community with infrastructure contributions which are consistent with the Priority infrastructure plan;

(viii) generous public parkland and Riverwalk along the entire Brisbane River frontage of the site, including a safe and attractive pedestrian and bikeway network that integrates with the wider district;

(ix) a passenger set-down area and community meeting space adjacent to the Apollo Road ferry terminal with provision for off-street car parking;

(x) a permeable street network, including universally designed footpaths that reflects the grid pattern of surrounding established residential areas and maximises access to and use of public transport.”


Given the community interest and the thought that has previously been given to the future use of the land, I would greatly appreciate your urgent advice to:  

  • when the sale is likely to occur;
  • whether it is likely that there will be an open tender;
  • if so, what the tender process is likely to encompass ;
  • how the Government intends to ensure the foregoing provisions of the Neighbourhood Plan are honoured by any purchaser(s); and
  • how the Commonwealth Government intends to ensure local community input into the future use of the land.

Thank you for considering this letter.  I look forward to receiving a response at your earliest convenience. If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully


Terri Butler MP

Federal Member for Griffith

cc.           The Hon Darren Chester MP

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