Yesterday, Tracey Price, the Labor Party’s candidate for Lord Mayor, made her first major policy announcement, focusing on addressing affordable housing needs in Brisbane.  Her proposal drew criticism from both the LNP Deputy Mayor and Ms Price’s Greens opponent, Jonathan Sriranganathan, for its lack of detail.

In a statement, Ms Price criticised the LNP Council for failing to meet the city’s housing needs and lacking a suitable planning approach. She highlighted the need for more housing options, particularly for young people looking to buy their first homes and individuals seeking housing close to their workplaces.

“We know that addressing the urgent need for more housing all across Brisbane is critically important.”

“With a record number of people moving here, young people looking for their first home and people wanting to rent or buy close to work, it’s clear we need more housing options. Our plan will deliver that”.

Ms Price said if elected, a Labor administration in Council plans to collaborate with the State and Federal governments to invest in affordable housing across the city. She said they also aim to develop a comprehensive housing strategy focusing on increasing housing density in areas close to public transport, with high demand for rentals and housing but low supply, and in locations near employment centres and community facilities.

The Labor Party’s strategy involves auditing current development approvals not commenced within the approved timeframe, reviewing all vacant land in high-density zones, and working with landowners to activate the land. Ms Price told Spencer Howson on 4BC on Saturday that Labor will look at applying penalties to developers that do not activate development approvals.

… it’s unacceptable that they’re sitting on large sums of land when we are in a housing crisis just for their own personal benefit,” Ms Price said.

Ms Price said Labor in Council intends to introduce a new neighbourhood planning system that prioritises the community to ensure that community infrastructure and services are in place to maintain the character and liveability of suburbs while accommodating the city’s growth.

“In our modern city we need to have proper neighbourhood plans that deliver housing as well as essential community infrastructure to keep the beautiful character of our suburbs while delivering new housing for all.”

Labor candidate for The Gabba, Bec Mac (Rebecca McIntosh), told the Westender that a Labor Council will listen to communities and ensure “real neighbourhood planning“.

“We are going to take action to make sure developers can get their projects off the ground quickly. It’s not ok to have vacant land sitting empty right now.”

“We need to take action now to build housing stocks.”

Both Ms Price and Ms McIntosh oppose the Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) for the Kurilpa Peninsular, recently approved by the Labor State Government. However, they have not detailed how they will work with their State Labor colleagues.

The LNP’s response was swift and scathing. Deputy Mayor Krista Adams issued a statement critical of Ms Price’s announcement in the form of questions focusing on the lack of detail for penalties proposed for developers, querying the plan’s legality, and asking whether legislative changes would be necessary.

“Will the Neighbourhood Planning process be dumped, and residents robbed of their right to have a say?”

“Given the Green/Labor Coalition of Chaos oppose 10,000 homes in Kurilpa, do they support further sprawl and traffic congestion and less greenspace?” Cr Adams asked.

Jonathan Sriranganathan, the Greens Candidate for Lord Mayor, said the Greens will announce a comprehensive proposal to address the “interconnected problems of homes, commercial properties and vacant blocks of land that are being left empty long-term.”

“It’s great to see Labor acknowledging that land-banking is a significant problem but saying that they will ‘conduct an audit’ and “investigate options’ doesn’t mean much without a commitment to tangible action.”

“Labor’s comment today is not really a policy announcement, because there’s no detail to it,” Mr Sriranganathan said.

Cover image Istock, all other images by Jan Bowman