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Sweep Out Brisbane City Hall in '08!

The recent unanimous decision by the Brisbane City Council (BCC) to approve the destruction of the Minnippi forest near Cannon Hill confirms utterly the bankruptcy of all sides of the political 'divide' in Brisbane City Hall.

In this case, instead of merely being the cowardly 'opposition' acquiescing meekly to Liberal Lord Mayor Campbell Newman's dictates for Brisbane ratepayers and renters to foot the bill for an ever growing list of extravagantly expensive tollway-building projects, it is indeed the Labor Party itself which is primarily culpable for the latest planned act of environmental vandalism. It was Labor Lord Mayor Jim Soorley who entered into the contract with the developer BMD to build both a golf course and a luxury residential development in the Minnippi Parklands, home to sugar gliders and other endangered Australian fauna.

In the 2004 elections, Campbell Newman enlisted the active support of Cannon Hill residents, by promising to bar the Minnippi development. At no point did Newman offer any caveats. However, in a sudden about-face on 13 June, BCC Liberal planning spokesperson Carol Cashman announced that she had legal advice that backing out of the deal would have been too expensive.

Leonie Lea of Minnippi Against Development remains extremely skeptical of this excuse as any properly written contract would have had to have allowed for environmental assessments and community consultation.

Until they are able to see the claimed legal opinion about the Council's liability for compensation for themselves, Brisbane voters are entitled to suspect that Campbell Newman cynically exploited the Minnippi cause only in order to become elected.

Unless a community-based grass roots alternative to either of the two morally bankrupt political camps emerges before the March 2008 elections, the choice that Brisbane voters will face then will be very bleak indeed.

See also, Why I am Standing on candobetter.wikispaces.com

Comments

It seems like Brisbane Council is insane.

Twenty years ago people could afford housing here. There was beautiful bushland and freedom to move. Queensland resembled everyone's dream of paradise. So why has the government there been so environmentally destructive? Why have they based the entire economy on concrete construction, globalising real-estate with excessive housing sales and prices, and cliche tourism? Why have they exceeded the water supply when there was no need to? Why do they allow more bush to be cleared than in any other state? Why do they invite more and more people?

Why would anyone want to destroy Brisbane? The Brisbane and Queensland governments behave like the tommyknockers of Steven King's 1987 novel, *The Tommy knockers*.

In *The Tommyknockers* a fragment of a crashed spaceship, buried and undisturbed for years, is exposed to the air and gives off an undetectable gas. Contact with this gas slowly turns earth people into technologically gifted inventors and builders but blunts their social skills so that they behave with increasing callousness and impulsiveness towards each other. Slowly the world begins to descend into a kind of busy violence.

So, what causes Brisbane councillors and State politicians to busily build bridges and freeways all over the place until anyone driving in Brisbane feels as if they are in a pinball machine, hurled via endless elaborate circles, loops and scallops through bare concrete skyscraper canyons?

Are our politicians the victims of a very selective poisonous gas, a virus that affects the brain and conscience? Is Councillor Newman afflicted with some form of psychopathy which prevents him from caring about other human beings, makes concrete and gasoline fumes irresistable to him, and makes money and status the only things that matter?

I heard recently that Newman actually expected the citizens of Brisbane to pay $22.00 just to come and hear him speak. Now, what kind of overweening public officer would actually take money in the form of a salary from the townspeople of Brisbane and then expect them to pay for the ordeal of listening to him tell them how he is going to put in even more roads and tunnels and pull out even more trees and generally make Brisbane the kind of hell-hole that people emigrate from South East Asia to avoid?

Are the councillors in Brisbane being blackmailed by forces the public is unaware of? Is that why they seem to do the opposite of what their constituents want?

Brisbane's city and suburbs are polluted, with very few trees, lousy public transport, and heavy upleasant traffic. There are fewer green spaces than in the other Australian capital city, and yet Brisbane, only a few years back, had more trees and forests than other cities.

Madmen and mad women seem to be in charge. I read with horror of Mt Cotton and Minnipi. I cannot understand - Can anyone tell me? Why are our 'leaders' doing this to themselves, even if they do not care about the rest of us?

Footnotes

1. This was a public forum probaly held three months ago by the Brisbane Instute to discuss "sustainability". It seems bizarre that a man prepared to spend hundreds of millions of ratepayers funds, and, ultimately, billions more as tolls from the pockets of motorists in order to make Brisbane even more dependant upon the private motor car, which, in turn, ultimately depends upon the world's finite and diminishing stocks of petroleum, could be held by the Brisbane Institute to be any kind of authority on sustainability.

Has anyone actually been out to the Parklands lately?
I and my partner went there last weekend and I was horrified to see that the lagoons are drying out.
The southern lagoon is now a baked dry cracked mud flat and the second lagoon is merely inches deep, evidenced by the fact that swimming birds - water hens, ducks etc - are leaving silt streaks in their wake as they try to swim and forage.
It is obvious that the new housing development extension on the corner of Meadowlands and Belmont Roads has had a major impact on the flow of the tidal inlet into the lagoons.
It is quite erroneous and deadly for human beings to think they can sustain this kind of development.
Are the developers blind and stupid? or do they simply not give a damn about anything except making dollars at the expense of our Brisbane ecology?
How on earth can CAN DO CAMPBELL imagine he will survive this kind of madness?
Do the majority of human beings living in Brisbane, or indeed Queensland, really believe they can survive the ever increasing rate of destruction of protective coastal flora and fauna in the longer term.
People are closing their eyes and minds to any analysis of the impact unfettered urban development will have on their long term well being.
Why are we turning Brisbane into another ruined paradise, like Britain and America?

Gabrielle, thanks for passing on this grim news. Any chance you can take photos? Newman must be held to account at teh next elections for breaking his promise to stop this vandalism. Could you call me some time on 0412 319669?