Lord Mayor Quirk addressed the South West Chamber of Commerce this week, outlining the City Plan for Brisbane and the impact it will have on business.

He emphasised three key aspects of the plan,

  1. Brisbane’s positioning as Australia’s new World City,
  2. the streamlining of the development application process and

The presentation was well received by the 26 members and guests who attended the breakfast at the Yeronga RSL.

Brisbane World City

Lord Mayor Quirk prefaced his remarks on Brisbane’s attempt to position itself as a World City by saying that if people don’t know your name they can’t visit you or trade with you.

He referred to an international billboard campaign promoting Brisbane as host of the G20 summit here later this year with pictures of world leaders. He also referred to the Asia Pacific film awards as an example of the sort of world event that will bring attention to our hometown.

Development Applications

A huge amount of effort has gone into integrating and streamlining many aspects of the development application process. The key tool that allows ratepayers and developers to access this is a an interactive map that allows you to identify a property, or an area, and then check the status of that area under 26 separate legislative or regulatory frameworks.

The frameworks cover aspects such as flooding, usage zoning, heritage listings and so on. Each framework can be superimposed onto the map as an overlay, allowing instant recognition of what regulations affect a given area.

The intention of this new approach is to allow developers to come to council with a fully informed application that has already identified all of the likely issues so that developers and council can work together to find solutions that will protect the developer and the community.

It is expected that the tool will reduce development application times from eight weeks down to five days.

Lord Mayor Quirk also observed that Council is working to project a realistic assessment of the legal rights of developers. He said that the previous sprawling approach to approving development application had given false hope to some members of the community that they could successfully oppose development or “roll council” when, in fact, the developer had a pre-existing legal right and council could not stop the development even if it wanted.

Digital Hub

Another major aspect of the city plan is to bring Brisbane’s businesses into the era of online commerce. He said that despite the digital economy being a $3trillion economy next year, only 30% of Brisbane’s businesses currently trade online.

Council has employed a full time digital strategist to develop means whereby council and business can work together to enable this transition to the digital age.

All mention of the NBN was carefully avoided.

South West Chamber of Commerce meets monthly at the Yeronga RSL. The next breakfast meeting will be held early in August. Watch Westender for further details or go to the very clever URL www.chamber.org,au to find out more