Expert planner and former Director of City Planning at Brisbane City Council, Peter Cumming, has provided the Westender with the his view on Council’s Kurilpa Precent Temporary Legislative Instrument (TLPI).

Far from fulfilling Council’s aim of addressing Brisbane’s immediate need for affordable housing, Mr Cumming says:

“The proposed TLPI gifts massive development rights to landowners without justification and without considered and detailed planning.”


Mr Cumming says the TLPI proposes major increases in the density and height of buildings in the South Brisbane/Kurilpa precinct, allowing

  • 50 – 90 storey buildings, up to 80% site cover and setbacks of 10m between tower buildings. This is higher densities than allowed in Hong Kong and Singapore adjacent to their CBDs.
  • An additional 10,000 dwellings in the precinct (Lord Mayor’s estimate).
  • An additional population of 20,000 in the precinct (based on an average of about two persons per dwelling).
  • Prescribes 4-storey podium buildings with towers. (The typical current building form in South Brisbane is 4-storey podium car parks – even though parking is supposed to be underground).
  • Extends CBD tower buildings along the River (Hanson and Visy) opposite Coronation Drive. There is no relationship to the CBD here.


A TLPI usually deals with a specific, often localised issue Mr Cumming said. 

The Planning Act 2016 Part 3, Division 1 (Local planning instruments), the Act says that:

“23. Making or amending TLPIs

(1) A local government may make a TLPI if the local government and Minister decide—

(a) there is significant risk of serious adverse cultural, economic, environmental or social conditions happening in the local government area; and

(b) the delay involved in using the process in sections 18 to 22 to make or amend another local planning instrument would increase the risk; and[1]

(c) the making of the TLPI would not adversely affect State interests.”

TLPIs in Queensland have addressed these criteria and have been typically imposed in areas subject to disasters and for specific cultural or historic sites.

What serious cultural, economic, environmental or social risk is addressed by the TLPI?”

Mr Cumming says the TLPI does not address cultural or environmental issues. 

“Regarding economic risk, the precinct under the existing Local Plan provides for highrise, high-density development. Where is the evidence that allowing development heights and densities well above the existing provisions in this locality will avert serious economic risk?”

“The TLPI also addresses no social issues. It is universally acknowledged in Australia today that affordable social housing provision is a current priority. But the TLPI does not mandate public housing, subsidised housing, special needs housing, social housing through inclusionary zoning, or any unit design parameters to encourage affordable housing.”

“The TLPI does not meet the criteria required under the Planning Act.”


Mr Cumming says that while Queensland’s performance-based planning system has many advantages for the development industry, it has led to inconsistent and development-friendly outcomes without commensurate public realm improvements, particularly in higher-density areas. “The track record is not good”.

“For example:

  • The allowance of 20 plus storeys in Kangaroo Point, where the Local Plan specifies a 10-storey height limit.
  • The allowance of higher buildings, lesser building setbacks, greater densities and above-ground podium parking than specified in the current Local Plan for the South Brisbane/Kurilpa precinct. In fact, we cannot identify one building approved in the last 10 years in this precinct that complies with the base development parameters specified in the Local Plan.
  • The allowance of a thirty-storey building in Bowen Hills on the only significant open space planned for this precinct on the site opposite Brisbane newspapers (a state decision).
  • Developer contributions in redevelopment areas such as South Brisbane/West End have been legally justified to improve the public realm and services in those areas. Some 10,000 new dwelling units have been built in the last 10 or so years. This equates to development contributions of some $250,000,000 (at $25,000 per unit). Where has this money been spent at West End/South Brisbane to mitigate the impacts of new development?”


The South Bank Corporation’s oversight of the Southbank area represented a significant investment in considered city planning with outstanding results for the public realm and the private sector in terms of quality development, Mr Cumming says, but by contrast, the TLPI does not guarantee good planning outcomes.

  • “It gives away massive development rights without obligations.
  • Open Space along the Visy and Hanson sites is indicative – unless it is in public hands, it probably won’t happen. (Brisbane Square was recently bought by Council because they couldn’t guarantee the refusal of a 274m tower on top of it – applied for by the site owners).
  • Key public access points to the River are indicative
  • Open space and public access aspirations for development sites have a poor record of actual achievement.
  • Overshadowing impacts of massive towers have not been assessed.
  • There has been no visual impact assessment of massive towers.
  • Traffic impacts have not been assessed. We know the street systems are inadequate to serve current development. Interestingly China has now severely restricted highrise over 30 storeys because of traffic and fire concerns.
  • Fire and disaster risk assessment has not been undertaken – with very constrained access to many tower sites.
  • Develop staging has not been addressed. The likely scenario will be development all over the precinct and a construction zone well after the Olympics are held.”


“The proposed TLPI gifts massive development rights to landowners without justification and without considered and detailed planning.”

Mr Cumming says the TLPI application should be refused, and Council should be directed to undertake a detailed planning exercise for the precinct, which results in a guaranteed quality public realm, housing diversity and quality buildings.

South Brisbane has hardly developed as a world class high density precinct under current planning controls. Much higher and denser development without detailed planning will not help.”