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Business group prods council with ambitious blueprint for city's economic fightback

Business

A massive shake-up of town planning has been recommended along with fast-tracking billions of dollars in projects revitalising the city to help Brisbane’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown.

 

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The Committee for Brisbane handed the report to the Brisbane City Council’s economic recovery taskforce chair Cr Adam Allan, who said some of the suggestions are already being considered.

The committee’s big-ticket recommendation was the fast-tracking of the Cross River Rail precincts strategy that could leverage up to $20 billion in new city-changing investment and generate around 35,000 new jobs.

But also among its recommendations was a review the Brisbane Vision 2031, the Brisbane Economic Development Plan, the Brisbane City Plan and the Brisbane City Centre Master Plan to accommodate post-COVID-19 work, travel, and settlement patterns. Such a review would be a massive undertaking for the council.

Among the projects it has advocated for are a connection of Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane and a finalisation of the business case and a start of the development of the Brisbane Live venue.

The redesign of the Cultural Centre Metro Station should also be finalised and brought forward while the approval of Dexus’s $2.1 billion Waterfront Brisbane project on Eagle St should be made.

“With the amount of time and energy expended to date on exploring the SEQ City Deal, it is clearly a logical place to start,” Committee for Brisbane chief executive Barton Green said.

While the city’s Olympic bid for 2032 was on hold because of COVID-19, Green said the visions around it and the Paralympics candidature should be released and a Legacy Planning Taskforce established.

Brisbane’s creative sector should also be promoted to highlight the value of creativity, culture and lifestyle and re-engage people with arts and culture.

Green said the committee also presented 28 suggestions for policy reform and funding initiatives, including a Brisbane infrastructure investment plan, a “root and branch” review of Queensland’s planning laws, a review the Brisbane Vision 2031, the Brisbane Economic Development Plan, the Brisbane City Plan, and the Brisbane City Centre Master Plan to accommodate post-COVID-19 work, travel, and settlement patterns.

“Brisbane’s reputation will be determined by how we manage the response to the pandemic and how we plan for recovery – by improving the economy, maintaining a collaborative government, and benefitting our society. That task is too big for government alone,” Green said.

“The Committee for Brisbane has developed recommendations and suggestions for Council that have been prepared by experienced business people who represent a wide cross-section of the southeast Queensland economy – and who are dealing, daily, with the impacts of the pandemic.

“As a start, we have asked council to ensure its Economic Recovery Taskforce is a true business-council partnership, tapping into the private sector experts who have the life and business experience to help chart the bold courses back to economic success, including opportunities for structural reform.”

Cr Allan said the council’s Economic Recovery Taskforce had a large number of submissions from the business and wider community on policy and project ideas to stimulate Brisbane’s recovery.

“We thank the Committee for Brisbane’s federal, state and local government project suggestions, many of which are already being considered,” he said.

“The Economic Recovery Taskforce will continue to engage a range of stakeholders, including the Committee for Brisbane.”

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