Councillor MARX: Yes, thank you, Madam Chair, it is with a heavy heart that I stand today to speak on this motion of condolence. This is a tragedy of enormous proportions that has affected both the country of my birth and my adopted country. Growing up in New Zealand, the police did not carry guns, and to this day they still do not carry guns. I saw my very first policeman with a gun when I arrived in Brisbane in 1986.
Not long after the tragedy took place, I received a text message from one of my children asking if I had any family in Christchurch. I assured her I didn’t; only to find out sometime later that in actual fact one of my aunties was in Christchurch at the time and was caught up in the lockdown of the city. To say I was shocked was an understatement.
Some of you will be aware that on Sunday there was a large prayer gathering organised by a young lady by the name of Nadia. Nadia was a recipient of my Karawatha community award two years in a row when I had the good fortune of being the local Councillor for the Karawatha Ward, and she was a school captain at ICB and was also on the Lord Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.
With less than 24 hours’ notice, Nadia had created a Facebook page community group and organised a prayer meeting which then took place at the ICB on Sunday. Councillor OWEN, yourself as Chair and the Councillor for Calamvale, and myself were both in attendance along with some many hundreds of people—some say 1,000, some say 3,000. I have no idea. The LORD MAYOR spoke very eloquently on behalf of the residents of Brisbane, and I’m extremely grateful that he was able to attend that event on behalf of all of us.
I’d have to say that every person that attended the event would have to be pretty hard-hearted not to be moved by the proceedings. At one point the leaders of every faith stood on the stage for a minute’s silence. There was a large contingent of New Zealanders there, and they performed for the traditional haka. I’m sure many people in this place have seen a haka, either at a sporting event or on TV. I myself have witnessed many. They occur at weddings, 21st and any other large gathering or events of joy.
However, Sunday’s performance sent a chill down everybody’s spine. It was particularly moving because it was so emotional and it was for such a sad reason. They then spontaneously burst into song and sang How Great Thou Art in Maori. At the end of the event, many of the people actually did not want to leave the event and stayed on for some time afterwards at ICB.
As the Councillor for the Runcorn Ward, I have a large Muslim community that live in Kuraby, and it was heart-breaking and uplifting at the same time. I had a number of residents contact me privately via Facebook wanting to go but were concerned about their safety and security. I assured them that, with the Premier, the Commissioner of Police, the LORD MAYOR and everybody else there, there would be no other safe place to be in Brisbane than at the ICB on Sunday. The lady who asked me then contacted me afterwards and said she was very, very grateful and grateful that she had decided to attend.
It was a hot day, but they didn’t put the air con on because they had to keep the doors open because there was so many people outside. I spoke privately to Nadia after the event and congratulated her and said that she had done an extremely well done job. She had managed to get so many people there at such short notice, and I am aware that there is another prayer meeting being held at Logan tomorrow afternoon.
So, Madam Chair, can I close by saying: kia kaha te kaha o oku whanau – stay strong, my families. Thank you.
Councillor MARX: Thank you, Mad m Chairman, I just rise to speak very briefly on two topics that have been mentioned here tonight, that's the Librarians with the Gold Star Reading program and some rugby. So just wanted to mention in particular a big shout out to Kylie and her team out there at Sunnybank Hills Library.
They all got dressed up on the Thursday and the Saturday when we had the two Gold Star Reading programs. There were 1,090 students were registered in my library over those two days which is 10% of the whole city. So it's a huge effort by the library and their staff.
Obviously, not all of those children turned up on those two days to get their certificate and medal but there was enough that we have three huge cakes so that's really good. I always enjoy cutting the cake for all the students and that to eat and they always love lining up and eating the cake as well.
So the other thing was I was going to talk quickly about the Bledisloe Cup. Councillor TOOMEY mentioned some football game that was played some time recently. Yes, Bledisloe Cup was also played recently. I'm hearing—I was reading a story which I've just lost on my phone, it was talking about 14th year in a row apparently that the Kiwis have won this cup and—
Councillor TOOMEY: Point of order, Madam Chairman.
Chairman: Point of order, Councillor TOOMEY.
Councillor TOOMEY: I don't see the relevance of bringing up how the All Blacks seem to be consistently whopping the Wallabies in Chambers.
Chairman: That's not an appropriate point of order during general business.
Councillor MARX: It did mention in the same article, Madam Chairman, that the Australians do have the opportunity to win the Bledisloe Cup. It's just going to take a lot of hard work and determination and potentially they will win it back again in maybe 15 years' time was the quote.
Councillor MARX: Thank you, Madam Chair. I rise to speak very briefly on item D. Funnily enough, it's a petition. I did support the Council officers' recommendation in this instance and rightly so. The petition called for the installation of traffic calming devices, commonly known as LATMs. What wasn't well-known by those that are in the committee, but obviously well-known by the Council officers, that LATMs already exist in the street, so it's not really beneficial for anybody for putting further LATMs into a street that already have them. In particular, these residents have had a couple of suggestions.
They wanted the LATMs higher, which is never popular either, and another suggestion that they had for myself and Council officers was apparently in England you have little villages that you can drive through and residents who live at either end of the street have access to this little special button that if they decide they just want to close the street off, they just push a button and these bollards pop up and people can't drive through any more and they thought that was a fabulous suggestion for their street.
So as you can imagine, I was more than happy to support the officers' recommendation that that was not something that we would do at Brisbane City Council. Thank you.
Councillor MARX: Yes, thank you, Madam Chair. I want to rise to speak on three issues briefly—the election commitment for the lights at The Avenue, the Taiwan Festival as has been mentioned by Councillor MATIC, and Sunnybank Bowls Club. Actually, no, he didn’t mention the festival, he mentioned something else that was Taiwanese. Sorry, it was a very big Taiwanese weekend—and the Sunnybank Bowls Club.
Firstly, the LORD MAYOR mentioned in his E&C Report about an election commitment that has been finalised, and I’m delighted to say that another one was finalised over the holiday break as well, which was the installation of lights at The Avenue and Hellawell Road, and Hellawell Road and Borella Road. The initial scope of work was just the one set of traffic lights. It was quite a substantial amount of money involved. The offices did a fabulous job, and we ended up getting two sets of lights for $4.2 million which assists with all the schoolchildren that attend Sunnybank Hills State School. They have more than 1,000 students coming from all over the place. So trying to get out of Borella Road onto Hellawell Road was always a problem for them, and lots of safety concerns.
So being able to get two sets of traffic lights in that place, we did a bus stop removal and reinstallation in a secondary place which required some land resumption. We did some magnificent work there with the new landscaping that is in place. I had so many comments about it, and it’s been a long, long time coming. The previous Liberal Federal member for Moreton, Gary Hardgrave, it was something that he put up a petition more than 10 years ago when he was the Federal member. As the local Councillors, I was delighted that the LORD MAYOR approved funding over the last two financial years, and this has finally come to fruition. I was actually even there to turn the lights on.
It’s quite an interesting process. One of the very last things that the officers have to do is put down the final solid white line where the cars come to a stop before they go to the lights. You literally hold the traffic up, or the traffic is queuing and waiting while the officers physically do that white line. Then, as soon as that white line is done, you can then flick the switch, the lights come on, they all go orange automatically, and then everyone sort of sits until they start synchronising, and then the officers obviously assist until the lights get into flow.
It was fabulous. It was like a bit of a festival. We were out there, and we had Council officers, and we were waving and tooting and everything. It was really cool. I have to say I was more than happy to give Council officer Graham a big hug when we turned those lights on. Then we moved down the road and did the second ones at Borella Road, and after that I gave him another hug. I said, for two traffic lights, he deserves two hugs. So I was very pleased.
I know there was some concern here mentioned in the Chamber just prior to the budget with—in particular the Morningside Councillor was concerned about the Taiwan festival funding. According to her, it had been cut, which at the time I stated was not true. A decision was made by the new Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce President Simon. Under no circumstances was he running another Taiwan festival, and he publicly said this again on the Saturday night, that he would never ever do it again. However, the students from the university strong armed him into running it one more time, which they did over the Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday.
It was a huge event. I gave them funding straight up for the fireworks which they were more than happy about. It was held at the Sunnybank Hills Shopping Town. There was I don’t know how many thousands came through. The weather, as we all know, was raining, so luckily enough being in the car park, it was able to be moved down to the third level as opposed to the fourth level, and the rain stopped just in time on both occasions for the fireworks to go off on the fourth level, right up to the sky, so that was very good.
Again, Simon has said unequivocally, never running it again. In fact, he seems to think that the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce lost over $20,000 in running that festival, so they will be thinking very carefully again about whether they do it or not. But I’ve said to them, if you do decide, come and see me and we’ll talk about getting some funding reinstated for you if that’s your wish. So we’ll watch this space for that.
The other thing was the Sunnybank Bowls Club. Last drinks was held on Sunday afternoon. It was a sad occasion. There was a lot of people there. As I said to a lot of people I spoke to, it’s the same old scenario. Like weddings and funerals, that’s when you catch up with everyone. So it was really sad. That bowling club has been going for more than 50 years.
Something I found out, which even the Council officers didn’t know, but that’s actually been a registered site for the rain gauge for the Bureau of Meteorology since 1888. I said to the guy, are you sure you don’t mean 1988? He said, no, no, 1888. So there’s been a commitment to read that gauge at 9 o’clock every morning, seven days a week, for however many years 1888 goes back to. It’s a long time. I just take my hat off to them. So we now have to find another place for the BOM rainfall gauge to go to.
I haven’t broached the subject with my staff, whether they might be interested in doing it Monday to Friday, but potentially not, so I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’ll have to talk to the high school. But it has to be seven days a week. Anyway, that’s another issue for us to sort out.
But look, the bowls club, they were going backwards at a fast pace. They were losing $2,000 a week. They just could not sustain them. Their membership was diminishing, as has happened, and we’ve noticed this in all bowls clubs. The club was just getting too big—the actual building was becoming unmanageable for them. I spoke at the meeting on Sunday and assured them quite unequivocally that the place would become a community place for everybody there.
I told them that this land is State Government owned, and its sport and rec zoned, and it was in trust to Council. However, the State Government has the ability to take that land back from us and rezone it if they wish to do so. One would hope that they don’t, but if they do wish to do that, there was nothing I can do, but I assured them from the Council’s point of view, it would remain sport and rec and it will remain a community space.
I am very keen to hear of any suggestions of what the two bowling greens could be used for, keeping in mind that bowling greens are the biggest expense for a bowling club to keep up with the maintenance. I have had one suggestion which I am going to talk to officers about, but I am very keen if anybody has had any experience of what they would think a bowling green would be useful for that wasn’t a huge high maintenance, that would be much appreciated. So, thank you, Madam Chair.
Yes, thank you, Madam Chair; I rise to speak on item A, which is the traffic improvements that this Council did outside Runcorn State School. Runcorn State School is a primary school. It doesn’t have a huge amount of students in the scheme of things. It’s sort of between 300 and 400 students, but it is on a major intersection, major road, on Beenleigh Road and Mains Road. Those of you who are familiar with the south side will know that those are both extremely busy roads. This school sits right on the corner of that. The other corner it has is Ardargie Street and Lampson Street, which also have its own challenges.
Some may remember some time ago myself putting in a petition for residents from Lampson Street wanting some restricted parking around there because they are close to a train station. They’ve also got the school, so there’s a lot going on in that space, so it’s great that the State Government have changed the rules to include dual carriageways to allow to have this treatment added to it.
We’re still continuing to work with the school. They’ve done their TMP with bits and pieces of other stuff around that school to try and deal with the school situation. Those who know me will know that I’m very passionate about schools, given my background, but I’m also very keen to make everyone aware where the responsibilities lie as far as State Government schools are concerned and where Council is in that space.
Hopefully a lot of Councillors in this place will know that when somebody suggests something to happen, suddenly we get a whole lot of residents that become traffic engineers and they know exactly what will and won’t work. A number of people came to me and were concerned that, you know, whose silly idea was this was the words that were used for me, and I said: well, look, let’s just wait and see, shall we?
I have to say I travel that way obviously to and from work, and while I understand Councillor SRI wanting some hours extended potentially for Brisbane High, I know particularly with the primary schools and you stick that hour to start at 7 o’clock in the morning and there’s no students to be seen, it can be a bit frustrating for the drivers, and again at 4 o’clock.
I’ve got one of these schools outside my ward office, a high school, and of course the kids meander along like Brown’s cows across the road, not on the pedestrian crossing like they should, but even then they’re pretty much all gone by 3.30. But we still have that extra half hour. So there’s a little bit of give and take as far as time zones go and things like that. But basically it’s Council trying to work with the best we can with the laws and the regulations that we need to work with.
I’m very pleased that this is a project that has gone ahead, and I know that the school and particularly the principal is very pleased, and I’m looking forward to finalising the work around that particular school as far as their TMP and other stuff with the petition in Lampson Street et cetera is concerned. So I thank Council officers and Councillor COOPER.
Yes, thank you, Madam Chair, and I rise to speak on the Committee presentation Revive. I was not able to attend last year, and I saw the photos that the Chair at the time, Councillor MATIC, and his wife had posted, and I was determined I wasn’t going to miss out again this year. So I made a point of making sure my diary was clear for at least an hour or two Friday afternoon, and I shot over there to have a look.
There were so many stalls and so many clothes, it was just amazing. I was blown away, not only by the stalls and the amount, but also the quality of what was on offer. In fact, the dress I’m wearing today is a show and tell that I bought at Revive on Friday. I am pleased to say it’s a Veronika Maine, if those in the know know what a Veronika Maine is; it’s very expensive. I got it for the grand total of $25, so I was extremely pleased with that. It was a great bargain.
I’m actually not going to tell you in the Chambers here, even though my husband doesn’t listen to Hansard nor read it. I don’t plan to tell you all how much I purchased and how many items and how much I spent, just in case anyone wants to use it against me. But, you know, as always, as women will know, when we walk into the house or we put something else on that he hasn’t potentially seen, we go, what, this old thing? So, I’ll be able to say that and not be lying, because it will be old. So I’m very happy about that.
There was a couple of other things I purchased. I don’t know if people are aware of Pandora, but they do a Christmas tree decoration every year, and I was able to pick up the 2011 decoration for a grand total of $18. I was very pleased about it. Like Councillor HOWARD, I also purchased another handbag, a little gold evening one.
I finally, finally—very remiss of me—got to see War on Waste on the ABC iView—actually it was a weekend. I had a half booked day off on the weekend, and I actually sat down with my husband to watch it. He was just as blown away as I was about the waste that we have, and in particular the clothing. They had a clothes line there on show at the Revive which showed a number of items pegged there, with a little note saying why they had been basically thrown away, and it was as simple as, you know a button missing or something like that. So that was another great initiative. So yes, I plan to be there again next year.
On the final note, I just want to mention I visited the Suited to Success stall, and can I give a shout out to them. They’ve got a bubbles and beauties evening on Wednesday 12 September right here in City Hall. There is a general admission and a VIP package as well, and all the funds on the night go to helping unemployed clients. So basically they help dress people who need clothing to be able to go for an interview and then, if they get a job, from that point on. So if anyone is interested in that, I do have one flyer that I am prepared to hand and show everybody and share that.
I just want to say again what a wonderful event this was, and if you didn’t go this year, you have to make sure you go next year, because there is men’s clothes as well. So thank you to everyone involved.
Yes, thank you, Mister Deputy Chairman. I rise to speak on item B, the park naming.
It is great delight that I was able to bring this petition to Chambers. Despite what's been alleged here on a number of occasion here in the Chambers today that the people in the Administration on this side of the Chambers don't listen to residents or take any notice of what they have to say, I'm here to dispute that by acknowledging that I sent out 65 letters to local residents around the area of Peppercorn and Tranquil Street, around that park.
It was a two-pronged approach; the first was about what they wanted as far as the upgrade of that park was concerned, and the second part was about a naming of the park that was there. I personally feel that once a park has been completed and upgraded it should have its own name. As those in this Chamber should know, parks are generically by default named after the street that they are located in. Sometimes that works and is satisfactory; sometimes it doesn't and it's always good to make sure that we get a naming that's suitable.
I might add that one of the consultations—even though, like I said, I sent out 65 letters. We got 11 responses. One of the responses was to cut down some of the trees, but you'll be glad to know that that response was not taken under advisement. We decided we'd ignore that particular response.
So after that we then—from those 65 letters sent out 11 people responded. Nine names were actually suggested and of those nine we narrowed them down to three main suggestions. I then sent out another lot of letters to those same 65 residents with those three main suggestions and we narrowed it down—22 responses and 20 came up with the name of Tranquil Park. So that's where the petition came from and I'm very pleased to support that here in the Chambers today. Thank you.
Thank you, Mister Deputy Chairman. I rise to speak on the ALGA conference that I was able to attend back in June of this year when we were in the budget session. And as everyone knows, it's a requirement of that commitment that we get up and speak on Chambers just a little bit about what happened at the convention. As always, there was a lot of motions that were debated, passed, opposed and discussed and, you know, it's all on their website for the particular ones that anyone is of particular interest on what sort of motions that were discussed. There was a lot of guest speakers.
One of the ones that I particularly was very keen to listen to was a lady by the name of Libby Chaplin. She's the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative, and she works—splits her time between CEO of that and CEO of Arcadian Solutions, which is a small consultancy focused on operationalising sustainability in government and industry.
It's a new idea about disposing or recycling of batteries and it's something that I'm very keen to talk to Councillor HOWARD about in her role as Field Services and particularly with the recycling scenario, to see that that's something that we can get activated certainly here in Brisbane City Council. And, of course, Brisbane City Council being the largest council in Queensland, by sheer volume of numbers, we always go into the mobile muster awards and, of course, we always win it. So I was able to pick up that award as well on behalf of Brisbane City Council and the LORD MAYOR, so I'm happy to present that here to join with our other awards that we always receive.
Councillor MARX: Yes, thank you, Madam Chair.
I rise to speak about one of the events that's happening in my ward presently and that is, as the LORD MAYOR mentioned earlier this evening, as the month of Ramadan. Therefore it's led to many Iftar dinners that not only myself have attended but, as you will know, the LORD MAYOR when he held his annual one at SunPAC the other night, yourself, Madam Chair, attended, Councillor HUANG, Councillor RICHARDS, Councillor CUMMING and Councillor SRI all made the journey over to SunPAC and I thank you on behalf of the LORD MAYOR for making the effort to come and spend the evening with us.
It's always an interesting evening doing Iftar dinners. Timing is very important obviously. You've got to make sure that a call to prayer happens at the correct time so that the breaking of the fast can happen. Obviously they haven't eaten anything since sunrise in the morning but we did talk about a number of other countries where they actually, like Finland and all that, they actually experience sort of 18 to 19 hours of daylight during the day so their fasting is a lot longer. So 5-10 breaking of fast is actually quite good at the moment for us around Brisbane.
Another Iftar dinner I went to was the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association had one the other night and that was on a slightly different note where what they had was different representatives of different faiths. So we had Surendra Prasad for the Hindu faith, we had the Jewish faith, we had president From the Christian faith, otherwise known as the Mormons, Gurjeet Singh from the Sikh community and then the Imam Amjaneed from the Islamic faith.
They were all talking about fasting and their religion. I have to say I was very impressed. I wasn't aware that there was any other religion in the world other than Muslims that fasted. That's not the case. They actually all fast at some point or other. In Judaism, they actually have five dawn to dusk fast spread out throughout the year. The Mormon community have one Sunday every month where they fast and the money that they would traditionally have spent on that meal is then sent to charity and then, of course, as we all know the Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan every year.
So I did make particular mention to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association that I would be getting up in Chambers and speaking about their event tonight just to let people know that it's not just the Muslims who fast. I think it's something that we all could learn education from and so I was more than happy to do that. Unfortunately most of us are missing the Parliament House Iftar dinner tonight because for whatever reason they're holding it on a Tuesday evening which they don't normally so unfortunately none of the Councillors can attend.
I've attended seven every year and I think Councillor OWEN, the Chair, attended a few in your time as well. So unfortunately we're missing that one but there is another one there on Thursday night with the Commonwealth Bank having an Iftar dinner and then there's the traditional VIP at home Iftar so I think all up that's probably about six or seven for the month for me, which is not too bad. Unfortunately I don't fast during the day as well but anyway. So that's all, thank you.
Yes, thank you, Madam Chair; I rise to speak on item A, which is the Hellawell Road-Avenue, Borella Road-Avenue intersection, which is basically the installation of two sets of traffic lights. This was an election commitment at the last election, and I’m very grateful to the LORD MAYOR and the team for allowing that to be processed into the budget as an election commitment. The project is now under way.
The residents who live out this way have been after this for more than 15 years. In fact, Gary Hardgrave, when he was the Federal member for Moreton, had done a petition way back prior to 2007, asking for traffic lights at the particular intersection which was actually Hallowell Road and The Avenue. At that point in time, The Avenue was basically a one-way in, one-way out situation, so everyone that lived in that area relied on breaks in the traffic on this extremely busy road, Hallowell Road, to get out of their homes, basically. So it’s been a long time coming, and I’m very grateful.
As an extraordinary turn of events, as it turned out, when they were looking at the project, they were able to identify that Borella Road also had an issue, and that was mainly because there’s a really large school there, one of the largest primary schools in Brisbane, if not the south side, but potentially with McGregor—Sunnybank Hills, which has more than 1,000 students and they’re just a primary school. So a lot of people come from outside of the ward to go to Sunnybank Hills State School, and they were finding problems trying to get into Borella Road through to Symons Road from that street.
So it’s a really good outcome that we’re actually ending up with two sets of traffic lights as well as pedestrian signalised lights for all the children and the residents that live in that area. As the LM mentioned in his report, it’s fairly extensive work that he outlined. There’s two bus bays that have to be relocated; there’s footpaths, bicycle paths.
More particularly, this item A is dealing with the land resumption, and as we all know here in this place, land resumptions are not something that Council undertakes lightly, but it was something that needed to be done. It actually only involves one property, so one person, one homeowner who had some land. There were no houses involved. There was a block of land that they had themselves eyed up for development, so therefore they looked at the plan and thought if we went ahead and resumed that small section of their land, they wouldn’t be able to develop their piece of property to the full extent, namely driveways, et cetera.
So, yes, we could have gone in and just said to the officers: you know what, just take it because we need it for this thing, and it’s going to benefit many thousands of people. But that’s not the path we chose. The path we chose was one of consultation which, as everybody also knows in this place—or they should know—consultation takes a bit of extra time. So we came back with a compromise, and I said to the officers, let’s see if we can compromise and just maybe take some of their land and some of the land that’s next door to them, which actually included a pathway which was then owned by a body corporate, which then involved more than 15 houses. So, as you can imagine, again the consultation period extended.
So Council officers were getting concerned that it was starting to delay the project, because then we come into here and we get smashed from the other side about, you know, rollovers and projects not being finished in time, and carryovers and all this sort of stuff. But you know, unless you get into the nitty gritty and know exactly what’s going on with a particular project, you have no idea why there have been delays. So I am putting it on the record now.
If it comes out that there’s any delays at the end of this project, it’s purely and simply because we went out to consultation, not once with one resident but twice with a resident and a body corp. At the end of all that, we did manage a compromise. We have moved some of the land down slightly, taken resumptions from half here, half there, and we’ve now got a really good outcome. So, for the residents who live in that area, and not only just my area but other wards that are coming through, like the LORD MAYOR said, from Beaudesert Road. So that’s the Moorooka Ward with Councillor GRIFFITHS, your residents will be coming through there as well, heading to Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown, which is a really popular shopping centre; the Calamvale Ward residents coming through.
It will be a fabulous outcome, and I really, really thank not only the LORD MAYOR for the funding but also Councillor COOPER and the team there that have been working really hard with everybody in that area, because obviously there is no gain without pain, and it has been a bit painful, people trying to travel, not only one but two intersection upgrades, and I thank them for their patience, and I thank the team for the great work that they’re doing out in my space. Thank you.