Jimmy Sullivan Address to the Queensland Parliament
Date of Publication:
Tuesday, 20 April 2021
Parliament TV (Queensland)
Council, Politics, ALP, Jimmy Sullivan
Matters of Public Interest - The Enoggera Creek Sport and Recreation Precinct: The council’s proposed plan will have a long lasting effect on residents and sporting clubs in the area and it’s fundamental that all stakeholders in our community have their voices heard, and more importantly that council listens to us.
Video Transcript: I rise to talk about a very serious challenge facing my community as we speak. The Brisbane City Council, just in the last few weeks, have lobbed on our community a proposal for what they are calling the Enoggera Creek sporting and park precinct—a proposal that will cause absolute upheaval for local sporting clubs, associations and residents. I want to thank the many locals who attended my mobile office on Sunday to discuss the proposal in public as well as the individual impact on people right across the precinct. In real terms, we are talking about the southern part of my electorate, particularly Newmarket and Wilston, and then across into Windsor.
This is a proposal funded by the federal government and developed by the Brisbane City Council. While the state government was not been involved in the decision-making around this proposal, I cannot stay quiet when such extraordinary upheaval is being proposed for my community and my constituents. I am gravely concerned about several aspects of the proposal: the economics of it; its impact on local sporting groups, including the extensive local history of those great organisations; and, of course, the impact on local residents.
The plan will cost ratepayers who knows how much money for an end result where many sports would receive less access to sporting fields. How much money will be spent for a worse result? It would see the purpose-built baseball diamond and grandstands—the home of baseball in Queensland—demolished and not replaced. It would kick Queensland’s softball association out of their historic home as a women’s precinct and force them to share fewer fields and share facilities with men’s baseball. It throws many sports out of their historic clubhouses and fields and plops them on a map to share fields in cases where their seasons overlap. These clubs mean a lot to our community. Over generations players, coaches and volunteers have put their blood, sweat and tears into these great organisations.
For example, at the baseball purpose-built diamond and grandstands the grandstands are named after life members. In one circumstance, a gentleman was a long-term player, coach and then in retirement groundsman. His funeral was held on the ground. The place means so much to his family that his ashes are scattered on the pitches. His grandstand is to be demolished and the ground ripped up.
There will be so much pain for very little gain. This is a plan that would see green space turned into car parks. It would quite literally see a kids’ play area demolished for a handful of car parks. It would see green space and quiet cul de sacs turned into thoroughfares for the sole purpose of car parks and car parks not even colocated with the proposed location of sporting clubs.
I am not opposing this for the sake of it. If the plan proposed genuine and sensible plans, we would welcome real investment in council parks and community sport. I am not suggesting that there are not individual, discrete elements of the proposal that could work. For example, the use of the green space around the Newmarket soccer club where improvements to the additional field would still enable access to their existing canteen and facilities. Likewise, the plan appears to propose some improvements to the access to the club off Finsbury Street to what is currently used as a gravel driveway and unlined car park. Turning a gravel informal car park into a lined, safer car spaces could make sense. Ripping up a kids’ play area and turning green park space into car parks does not.
The council did not take this plan to the election. They promised a multistorey car park in the Downey Park precinct to help several sports. Instead, what we have is green space and cul de sacs being turned into bitumen.
I thank the constituents and sporting organisations who have taken the deliberate approach that we will not let council play us off against each other. This is not resident versus resident or sport versus sport. We are in this together. Can I just say how disappointed I am that the LNP city councillor did not even show up to the formal city council consultation on this issue. I have not been in this place long, but my humble observation is this. If you put your hand up to represent your community at any level of government you should be prepared to show up and listen to your constituents. The Brisbane City Council needs to listen to our community. It needs to listen to our grassroots sporting organisations. It needs to go back to the drawing board because this proposal will cause absolute upheaval for residents and clubs alike as well as social sport in the area. It is not good enough and, quite frankly, our community deserves better.