The 2023 SEQCA community planning conference was held at Griffith University on Saturday 21 October.

Residents from across the SEQ region were privileged to listen to, learn and debate with a range of experts in planning, architecture and land-use policy at the Southeast Queensland Community Alliance (SEQCA) community planning forum on Saturday 21 October. They were treated to a range of colourful presentations illuminating the many dimensions of some very topical debates – housing for a growing population; status and trends in the health of SEQ’s natural environment; progress on the 2023 draft SEQ regional plan Update and climate change issues for planning and communities.

Highlights of the day included a short presentation by Ms Michelle Cottrell, director of the Shaping SEQ regional update project team and an after lunch panel discussion chaired by Laurel Johnson (director of Laurel Johnson Planning) with panel members Julie Brook (convenor of the PIA Policy and Advocacy Committee for Queensland); Revel Pointon (managing lawyer for Southern and Central Queensland at the Environmental Defender’s Office) and Chris Walker (SEQCA President).

Audience and speakers at SEQCA community planning conference

The morning program was organised around two key conference themes: GROW – Can we do it better? and Climate change and planning. Some of the many insights and key takeaways from the first session examining the GROW theme were – grass roots organisations can and are improving their local urban environments (John Mongard); small can be beautiful when it comes to micro-houses (Amy Degenhart); real investment in centres and infrastructure does more to encourage increased housing density than re-zoning per se (Dr Mark Limb) and Australian governments are way behind many other countries in providing public investment for social and affordable housing (Rachel Gallagher).

The second session of the morning dealt with various aspects of climate change and land-use planning. Dr Philippa England highlighted the role low density suburbia can play in transforming the way electricity is generated and our carbon emissions reduced thanks to rooftop solar. Shannon Mooney reminded us all of the risks posed to our wonderful natural environment from climate change and unimpeded development.

The mayor of Scenic Rim Regional Council, Cr Greg Christensen, provided a deeply personal reflection on remaining positive and building resilient communities over time and from the grass roots. The morning was rounded off with an injection of thought provoking ideas and critiques from our special guest from North Queensland, Mr John Brisbin, who was brought to us by the Royal Society of Queensland (RSQ) (co-organisers of the day’s events) with sponsorship from Mr David Marlow.

The Southeast Queensland Community Alliance (SEQCA) and RSQ would like to express their thanks to all the speakers and panellists who made the day such a lively and informative one. And, last of all, we’d also like to thank the members of the public who rocked up to support another fantastic conference. In addition to participating in well informed knowledge-sharing, our community also raised approximately $800 for two local homelessness charities – Orange Sky Laundry and The Lady Musgrave Trust. Our thanks to each and every one of you. We hope to see you all again next time!

Presentations from the day’s event are available here. Information about SEQCA, including membership and volunteering opportunities, is available here.

Images supplied