Brisbane City Council has slammed the creation of an authority to deliver Cross River Rail as a move to expand the Queensland government’s role in city planning.
Council chief executive officer Colin Jensen said Brisbane was experiencing an “unprecedented level of Queensland government planning intervention”.
Mr Jensen pointed the finger at Priority Development Areas (PDAs), state planning regulatory provisions, ministerial call-ins and ministerial directions.
“The city is at risk of becoming a two-speed development environment,” Mr Jensen said.
“This approach is not sustainable.”
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has
called in the headline-plagued West Village project at West End, seizing planning control of the old Absoe site from council.
Mr Jensen made the comments in a two-page letter and 13-page submission to the
Cross River Rail Delivery Authority bill, which would create a statutory body to deliver the project. Cross River Rail is a $5.4 billion project which would include 10.2km of rail from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, providing a much-needed extra river crossing.
Mr Jensen said council strongly opposed the bill in its current form.
“Council is seriously concerned about the proposal to expand the authority of the Queensland government in the city’s planning,” Mr Jensen said.
He says the bill “represents an unprecedented removal of planning power from the state’s largest local government under the guise of a transport infrastructure delivery project”.
The authority’s powers would include acquiring land connected with the Cross River Rail project and operating outside politics with an independent board.
Council’s submission strongly opposes giving the authority the power to declare PDAs.
“To remove council from these functions and give such broad powers to a commercial entity who is not accountable to the community, and apply this framework to such a broad part of the city, represents a level of intervention by the Queensland government previously unwitnessed in the history of the city,” it reads.
“The bill does not require the commercial entity to consult or include council in any of its activities. The bill was prepared with the full exclusion of council… The commercial entity is not required to consider or consult with council in any of its dealings.”
Council wants the bill amended to mandate council input and consultation, including consultation with the community.
However, Mr Jensen said council supported
Cross River Rail and the benefits it would bring to the city.
Particularly with the opportunity to work together with the
Brisbane Metro Subway System,” he said. Government committed to delivering Cross River Rail: Trad
Council has its own public transport infrastructure project on the table, proposing the
Brisbane Metro during the lead-up to the 2016 election.
Ms Trad hit back at council’s claims, and said the intimation the state was entering a two-speed development environment was farcical.
“Earlier this year, we passed our new planning act that delivers a better, fairer planning system for Queenslanders and for councils,” she said.
Ms Trad said the government was committed to partnership with the federal government and council to deliver
Cross River Rail.
“Each level of government will have a seat at the table on the delivery authority,” Ms Trad said.
“The authority’s powers are not new.
“It will utilise existing legislative powers to enable the coordinated delivery of this city-shaping project.
“It will be one of the responsibilities of the authority to explore and finalise a funding model and lead procurement for this project and we will continue to keep the community informed as this progresses.”
Ms Trad said the authority would ensure that Cross River Rail was not derailed by politics.
Property Council of Australia’s submission said it was cautious of “value sharing” or “value capture” levies being used to finance the rail project.
“Poorly designed ‘value capture’ levies, based on perceived increases in property values, pose a significant economic risk,” it reads.
The property council argues it can be difficult to quantify increases in property value due to a new piece of infrastructure.
“An increase in land value also doesn’t necessarily mean that the owner has greater income to pay an additional new tax,” it says.
The property council strongly supported the
Cross River Rail project.
Originally Published by: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/