On Thursday 19 October 2023, I made a speech in Federal Parliament on Brisbane City Council's apparent cancellation of the much needed Toowong-West End green bridge. You can watch the full speech here or read the transcript below.
Brisbane City Hall is effectively occupied by big for-profit developers. They've taken over the joint and they're running it. This might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but let me tell you a story. A few years ago, the LNP council, after years of advocacy from the community and the Greens, committed to building a much-needed green bridge between Toowong and West End, crucial for linking the two sides of the river, getting cars off the road in areas of growing density and providing people with great, active ways to get around the city. Two months ago, they announced they're slashing the taxes they normally levy on big property developers, and those are the taxes that help pay for the vital infrastructure needed to accommodate a growing population. You can see where this is going. This week—lo and behold!—they found a huge hole in their budget. They have to indefinitely delay—read: cancel—a number of important projects like the Toowong-West End green bridge. Where did the hole come from? Could it possibly be the fact that they've effectively just subsidised developer profits to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars? And then there's the fact that the LNP council is happy to continue to go ahead with expensive road widenings that will only bring more cars onto the road and lead to more traffic down the track. And what's the price tag on the absolute shemozzle that is the Indro roundabout in my electorate? Over $200 million. Tax cuts for property developers will not deliver more affordable housing; it will make more profit for developers. If our governments were serious about fixing the housing crisis, they would end negative gearing of more than one investment property. They'd embark on a mass build of beautiful public housing and ambitious rent-to-buy schemes, and they'd freeze and cap rents.
Under the LNP council, there's no plan to deal with housing affordability and no plan for the growing densification of our city. What we're going to see is more traffic congestion, fewer services, less affordable housing and less public park land. But, in March next year, voters in Brisbane have a choice: let the property developers continue to run the show or vote Green to evict the big developers from city hall, put the community back in control, make the developers pay their fair share and fund the things that make for a good and sustainable life in the city.