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Brisbane City Council Candidate Community Forum Speeches

Submitted by webmaster on Fri, 20/04/2012 - 6:32pm


The Sherwood Arboretum is one of Brisbane's unique natural treasures.  The Friends of Sherwood Arboretum Association lodged a submission with council in February to restore the wetlands, develop a new management plan, recognise the name Sherwood Arboretum and improve the experience of visitors with better information including a tree trail map. In the absence of any firm council commitment what can the candidates of Tennyson do to help us?

.Firstly I'll disclose a conflict of interest - I am a member of the Friends of Sherwood Arboretum Association and I can see some members here in the audience tonight.
I regularly meet with the Friends of Sherwood Arboretum and I am very aware of the proposal that they have put together to improve the Arboretum.
I last election promised $250,000 to do a number of upgrades and we've been able to deliver that over the last 4 years, but there is a lot of unfinished business in the Aboretum.  It is an extraordinary place that houses some of the more rare and significant native bushland in Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
It's suffered through the drought and now suffered through the floods.  So there are a number of things we need to do, that is to improve the lake system, to increase the trail map and signage for all these rare trees so can you go down and have a great visitor experience.  We need a web page, we need to upgrade the childrens playground, and it needs about $1 million dollars over 4 years, which sounds like a lot but we've done proper costings and $20,000 as promised by the Lord Mayor won't even touch the sides.

I recently met with the people from the Friends of the Sherwood Aboretum.  I was down there, I had a look - I love the place, it's fantastic.
But this is what i do think, the Friends of the Sherwood Arboretum (FOSA), I thiink they are doing a fantastic job.  I know they've got concerns that there is a disconnect between themselves, the council officers and the administration.  So occassionally we see some strange things happening in the Arboretum like council officers coming through after the flood and cleaning everything out when it actually was already there for the right reasons - it already been built up over time.
But they are not speaking to the FOSA people enough, who are the people who really care about the Sherwood Arboretum.  So what I would like to see is more close contact with FOsA. They're the ones that know what should be planted, that know what works should be done, so council should be working more closely with them, not just allowing council officers to run riot through there.

There are issues with childhood obesity, and with adult obesity.  Why are there no plans for cycle ways?  Get cars off the road, get people active again, it's crazy just putting more cars and buses on the road.  No one is moving, it's ludicrous.

We will be announcing an active transport prior to the election, keep an eye out for it, I will be interested in your feedback.
Can I make this point very clearly.  I have a fundamental problem, and I've been loud and clear about this.  I have a fundamental problem with a commercial advertising company that owns a push bike scheme in the inner suburbs of Brisbane that is still funded by rate payers.  I have a fundamental problem with that when $16 million dollars has been pulled out of bikeways by the Brisbane City Council out of their budget.
Talk about the wrong priorities, $10 million of rate payers money into a push bike scheme that's owned by a commercial advertising company.  It's the worst deal on the planet for retepayers.
We will be announcing an active transport policy.  I want that push bike scheme to stop costing rate payers money from day 1.

Look, last election I was very proud as part of the current administration that we made a commitment to put $100 million dollars into bikeways around the city.
Cycling is a hugely popular recreation, but is also essential for kids to get to school, and it's also essential for people to get to work.  And the key issues in our local areas and for 4 hyears I've been lobbying for this, and I'll be lobbying until the day I die - I might be 100 and if we haven't got it I'll still be going.
And that is we need to improve the connectivity east-west in our ward.  We need to make sure that people can get from Sherwood across to Taragindi and via the markets.  We need dedicated off-road , shared cycleways, not yellow bikes on the road - it's not safe for drivers and it's not safe for kids.  I support absolutely cycleways, I support one through the common, but just not at Nosworthy park - I support it down a bit closer to Sherwood Road.  So more cycleways I agree and I hope to be part of a council to delivery that.

Do you have any plans specifically to make cycling part of integrated public transport and to improve facilities for cyclists and use of buses and trains at the same time, like buses used to have racks on the front.  I was wondering if there were any plans to improve for cyclists who also use public transport?

That is a very good question actually and I don't think there is a reasonable explanation about why they were taken away other than it took drivers a few extra minutes to allow people to load their bikes.
So I thank you for raising that and that's something that I'm happy to pursue if I am re-elected.
Certainly I agree that there can be better connectivity between cycling and other mode of public transport.  Universal access again at our rail stations is a critical part of that discussion because lugging your bike up steep stairs is difficult and your only allowed to put it on the train on certain days and in certain carriages at certain times.  So we need to recognise that people do want to take their bikes with them and that they do often ride from home to a station or from another station to work.  So I think you raise some very very good points and I'll particularly take up that issue of where those bike racks on buses went.
Thank you

Yeah, I agree, the reason that I heard that those bike racks went away, I thought they were a great idea and I also think the advertising that went with them was pretty clever, i can't remember what it was but it actually was pretty good.
As I say we've got a policy coming out, it won't include that, I've got to be honest with you, and I haven't actually thought about it, so thank you.  If Nicole pursues it I'll allow her to pursue it with me if I'm Lord Mayor, but what we will be doing is looking very closely at connectivity of bikeways.  The policy will be about connectivity, in actual fact I'm releasing some bike policy tomorrow, so keep an eye out and see what you think.

When the bus depot was being built I wrote to council about the dangers of the railway bridge in Sherwood Road.  Now we've got buses going across their very frequently, it's so narrow that the cyclists are taking their lives in their hands to ride over the bridge, so what are you going to do if you get into power to temporily make the passageway for cyclists along Sherwood Road safe or less dangerous?

Well that's a great suggestion and I'm happy to work with the local councillor and suburb boards.  We can't have situations where it's unsafe, that's for sure, so I'm happy to work with the local councillor, work with their better suburbs board to get a good result.  If that means lobbying some of our state and federal collegues then I'll do that as well.

It's overwhelmingly a safety concern and you can see it.  I see kids riding to Sherwood State School and they've got to ride on one side and then cross over and ride on the other side.  It's incredibly dangerous.  I lobbied hard to stop the bus depot for a whole lot of reasons but the inadequate road network that we have in our areas was a key part of that.
The way to solve this in my view and I have been lobbying for 4 years on this and I did it through the neighbourhood plan as well and the Lord Mayor has chosen, even when I was in the LNP and now as an independent not to fund it, is to build those three bridges we need for offroad pedestrians and cycling, over the rail line, over the creek and over the flood plain.  So in my view we need a shared off-road path which would be dedicated for bikes and pedestrians and it needs to connect from Sherwood ultimately across to the Taragindi bikeway which is in Moorooka and that would help people get to university and school.

I live at Graceville and work at St Peters Lutheran college, that's a major thoroughfair for people commuting to university on bikes and if I choose to ride instead of drive there's this wonderful green bridge to connect either side of the river but I have to dance with death along Oxley Road to get it and I have another dance with death along Lambert Road before I have to dance with death again with all the parents dropping their kids off driving them alongside the railway line to take them to school.
So what thoughts have you got about infrastructure that's on the road not necessarily off the road and what thoughts have you got about encouraging kids to use bikes and public transport because really they are a large part of the problem in the congestion because if you drive in school holidays you'll notice the difference.

I think Lee made an excellent point that many parents nowadays don't necessarily think it's safe for their kids to walk or ride to school because of the level of traffic and we do have a level of congestion concerns with the Walter Taylor Bridge with people going down into the educational precinct.
The solution to this 4 years ago I don't think has been well advertised and I don't think has worked more importantly, and that was council has put through Kitchener, Appel, through the back way down Thallon Street, down the back of Corinda it's put in the bicycle awareness zones and you see those yellow bike zones there.  The aim was to keep those bike riders off Oxley Road and put them onto the parallel side streets.  I don't think the people know about it, I don't think it connects and I don't think it's working and I do think we need to have a relook at that because I am hearing what you're hearing that Oxley Road is very scary unless you're an experienced rider.

I'm acquainted with the alternate route that you mention - and as someone who cycles 150km every week on the roads, I would also call myself an experienced rider. None the less, the 3.3km trip across to Indooroopilly is still very scary at peak hour. I think that if we want to get commuters out of cars and onto bikes in order to reduce congestion in our city, we need to build infrastructure that's both fast and direct. Cyclists don't want a longer commute, just a safe one. There is no viable alternate route along that first section of Lambert Road (between Clarence and Harts). This same section (footpaths and road) is used by all the university cyclists, huge numbers of train pedestrians, hundreds of uni students assembled at the bus stop and a solid bottle neck of cars, all heading for the schools and university precinct close by. It's pandemonium most mornings. Meanwhile, there are cars permanently parked on either side of Lambert Road, taking up valuable space and adding to the obstacles that need to be negotiated. Having bike symbols painted on the road is no use if cars are parked on top of them. How about we make that madly, busy section of Lambert road a clearway? That's the sort of infrastructure that I'm talking about - upgrades that make commuting on a bicycle safe. 
The bike awareness lane works well on the Northern end of Oxley Road (though for some reason, innumerable motorists seem to like to drive with their left wheels in the bike way!!!), but, there remain a couple of hairy bits where it narrows down alarmingly in width. One of these is at the corner of Queenscroft (travelling north) where there is cut-away. I'm often compelled to come to a halt because a car or truck is sitting so close to the gutter in stationary traffic that a cyclist cannot ride through. Another narrow spot is when travelling south, at the traffic lights at the Graceville State School. (Acacia Ave.) In that instance, the drain grate has the bike lane line painted right beside it, so cyclists must either ride over the grate (not clever),  have an extremely accurate aim, or risk having to swerve out over the white line. These two spots could do with a review in order to support safe bike transport.

There will be no improvement in conditions for cycling on local, not busy arterial, roads until Council reduces the speed limit on these roads, roads such as Thallon St, Kitchener and Appel Sts, and all the even less busy roads, from the present 50kph to 30. At 50kph, cars will kill! No doubt about it. At 30kph, cars rarely kill because reaction distances are much greater. Data from Europe is clear, only where local traffic travels no faster than 30kph is cycling on roads reasonably safe for the ordinary non-road warrior rider. And when the local road speed limit is reduced, cyclists and pedestrians reclaim the roads and footpaths. Children will again be able to use the road network as we did 50 years ago. This is what the European experience demonstrates.
Strangely, no council candidate has mentioned speed limits, no Mayoral candidate has proposed any sensible measure to give roads back to the people and change behaviour toward the model that Council has long pretended to admire. 

<resident continued questioning with Nicole and chairman intervened to allow Ray Smith to respond>
It's OK with me, to be fair, these are issues that Nicole has dealt with for a long time and not really ones that I have... and if people want to get more response out of Nicole, I'm fine with that as well.

I am concerned for safety for pedestrians.  Anyone who has tried wandering around these suburbs at night and particularly an absolute lack of footpaths and very poor street lighting.  I was astonished 20 years ago when I came up here from a capital city that a lack of footpaths - every street and road should have a footpath on it on at least one side and there should be a progressive policy to have access throughout.  Finally there should be an all-weather path going North-South through the Arboretum to continue the one that's started.

So that you for that, I agree with you.  I've been an ambassador for the Cerebal Palsy League for about 10 years now.  One of the first policies I announced was doubling funding for footpaths in Brisbane.  Also to extend where possible the width of footpaths from 1.2 metres to 1.5 metres.
I completely agree with you.  I don't know what reason it's happened, babies haven't got any wider but prams seem to have got wider.  Also I know that our disabled folk struggle, indeed, seniors, my own mother has had problems with footpaths, so it was one of the early announcements I made to double funding for footpaths.  In the midst of the election campaign I've also set a goal of doing 100 footpaths in 100 days - yep, absolutely tough goal, but I want to get started and I want to hit the ground running.

I am not endorsing any Lord Mayoral candidate but can I say that there are some footpath issues there that Ray has raised that are extremely genuine.
Each councillor is given $320,000 to fund new footpaths and that buys five.  Five footpaths per year in the ward and if they are long streets less.  This year we'll have five built.  I have a waiting list of over twenty footpaths that residents have supported and agreed to but we have to wait to get the funding.
I've lobbied in the budget to get more money for footpaths but we've got a lot more we can do.
With respect to your view about one on every street, I had no idea, this was a huge issue for me, a huge learning, that not everybody likes footpaths.  We have a policy as a council to survey, so what I do is I write out to the residents and I ask them would they support a footpath in their area and it comes down to residents who say yes and no.  75% of surveys have been successful, and about 25% haven't been.  I will survey on any street you would like a footpath, you just need to let me know but we do have to go through that process and we need more money.

I am on the western end of Sherwood Road.  I've been here for 16 years, probably less than most of you, but I've got a real problem with Sherwood Road.  The trucks and the buses and the traffic that have picked up on Sherwood Road an head down the peninsula there is outright disgusting.
What I haven't heard. we've got 13-14 perch blocks, we've got 5 storey rezones occuring now and nobody has talked about an integrated plan to unblock the peninsula.  We are living on a natural peninsula.  We've got Walter Taylor Bridge at one end, with one lane either way.  I want to know from each of the candidates what they are doing to do to come up with an integrated plan.  There isn't one and I've been asking since Jane Prentices days and I've not heard about one for 10 years.  So I'd like an explanation.

Thanks Dale, and I know that you and I have had a chat about this previously as well.
In my view we need to do probably 3 things.  Firstly the local plan, the Sherwood Graceville Neighbourhood plan, this is a big issue for people, it put that increased density in but it did not in any way, shape or form, address our infrastructure needs - that's drainage through to roads.  So we need to relook at our suburb planning and we need to get them right because where you put people you need to be sure that the community can support it.  So that's been a failing of the council planning system and not just of our neighbourhood plan can I say, and I don't want people thinking this is something to do with me, but I sit there and listen to every other councillors neighbourhood plan and there is a disconnect there.  The planners will say there is a road there and it can take more traffic but it can't and they don't look at the capacity constraints.
Public transport has to be part of this solution as well Dale, and we cannot ignore the Walter Taylor bridge and I'm happy to elaborate later  if needs be.

As I've said earlier, I would love nothing more than to have in my pocket if elected as Lord Mayor, the $2.38 billion spent on tunnels and toll roads so that I might be able to reinvest a lot more of that in local road issues like you've got and in your public transport.
Quite frankly there is a big debt by this administration.  We only earn $2.7 billion.  It's costing $4 million a week just to service that debt.  What I could do with $2.38 billion on local road projects and on public transport.

 This is at the heart of most of our concerns for our area over the last twenty years encompassing traffic, pollution, density, infrastructure and amenity.  Ray's suggestion of more money for local roads isn't going to help.  We need a council who can fight for better State solutions: ring roads (the traffic traipsing through here is not all heading for Indooroopilly only!); maximising public transport (such as resurrecting the Tennyson rail line and linking UQ with a bridge-rail and road would be good!- perhaps at Fairfield/Dutton Park to take some of the 30000 people there each day: they all find parking there at present so we shouldn't cancel ideas on that score) and strengthening regional cities to ease the suburban sprawl here.  We don't need wider roads for more traffic.  We need more parkland (not just in our ward!), trees, and better air quality to feed a crowding city. The Arboretum is a high-use park which caters for people from all over Brisbane.  It is nowhere near the size of some parks in other capital cities (Centennial, in Sydney's Randwick area, Kings Park in Perth etc) and yet these cities have small councils unlike Brisbane.  We should take this opportunity to extend the Arboretum by using the Alan Fletcher Reserve in its entirety!  Campbell Newman has environment and amenity at the bottom of his priorities.  We need a council who can fight to rally the people of Brisbane and fight for the quality of life which has kept us here thus far!

This is just a thought for the council for the future, for the CBD.  I am finding that the CBD is virtually inaccessible to the elderly.
I am talking about my aged parent in particular and having to take my parent into appointments in the CBD and being unable to get on public transport, that can catch a taxi with help, and can be dropped off by me, but finding a place to let an elderly person off is virtually impossible I've found over the last 18 months.
Although there are loading bays I am finding that these are permanently occupied by commercial vehicles.  Virtually you have to break the law to get your relative to their destination.   So it's a plea to the council to please consider the city is for elderly people as well.

I agree with you totally - my first meeting with the Taxi Council which would have been about 16 months ago, they brought this problem up to me and I was astounded with what they told me.  I've been working with them since then and what I'm working with them on is some king of mechanism on the road - some kind of line which means taxis can stop to let our elderly or disabled folk off.
I totally agree with you, I was astounded.  I don't think there is an immediate simple answer, but I;ve certainly been working with them, actually I think the answer is simple, but we just need to get the mechanism right.  But is something that I am very interested in and have been speaking with them a long term about.

I absolutely appreciate that feedback.  I don't necessarily have an answer to that one, but I've heard what you've said and that's something that I'll put my thinking cap on about.
I appreciate that your mum might need someone to go with her but if she doesn't, I know that there are a lot of older very independent people who do like to go themselves but they can't access our public transport because of the stairs or the distances they need to walk to get to it, or the steps in the bus.  Again that universal access for our rail stations and the low floor access buses so they can get in and out easily are very high on my agenda, and I will obsolutely take away those issues about access and drop-off points in the CBD, so thank you for

About the cost of public transport.  If you've got a husband on the train, and three children on the train it's $100 per week.  It's just becoming unaffordable.  How do we compare to other states and can we get this under control?

I agree, I'm a train user like you and I see the fares go up and up.  I use public transport in other cities when I am there as well and I don't think there is a correlation.  If I go and visit my friends who live in the middle ring suburbs it doesn't seem to be as expensive as ours. In other countries that I've travelled, it's shocking how much cheaper public transport is. 
So I think there are a couple of issues that we need to look at. One, we need to have services that people will use, and we need to get more people using those services so we can bring the price down.  At the moment, public transport is an investment but really we need to make sure that governments are contributing the money to provide services that encourage more people to use them. 
When you can't get a seat on the train or you can't get on the bus because it only goes once an hour or doesn't turn up, that doesn't encourage you.  So that the more people that use it I believe will help bring the price down.  But certainly I believe there needs to be more pressure on translink to ensure we see public transport as an asset to our community, not a cost to our community.

Well, I agree.  I will be lobbying Translink hard.
One of the first things I did announce was free public transport for our seniors off-peak.  I think that's what our seniors deserve and the thought of allowing them to travel free off-peak might also help with the pressure on peak-hour in our buses.
But the other thing, Nicole's right on, the other thing we need to do is invest in our public transport.  As I said before it's counter intuitive to pull $38 million out of it and expect it to get better, expect people to enjoy it more, and expect people to use it more, and bring costs down, so what we're trying to do is invest more in public transport, more in active transport, get people out of their cars and hopefully bring costs down but the one thing I've heard loud and clear is cost of living as I move around the city and it's been fair dinkum.  Rates are up on average over $300 a year on where they were 4 years ago.  You can't have big council debt and expect rates to come down.  You can't have big council debt and expect public transport to get better.  Debt has to be brought down, that's the first thing we have to do.

I was a part of the consultative group for the Sherwood Graceville Neighbourhood area and I can say it was one of the best consultative groups for this area organised by the City Council I've been involved with. There was nothing wrong with the consultation process it's just that it was never followed.  The one issue that did come up was the upgrade of Oxley Road and we were told by transport that we shouldn't do it because the bridge can't take any more and the other side can't take any more so I don't know why we're upgrading this side .  I'd like some assurance that we shouldn't upgrade

Thanks Barry, I was shocked, the Lord Mayor about 6 weeks ago announced this called the Long Term Infrastructure Plan for Brisbane.  It's a 20 year forward planning document that identifies major investment in roads, drainage, community assets, libraries and things like that.
The upgrade of Oxley Road to 4 lanes was in there it was on page 69 or 71.  I was reading through a 300 page document and dead set I nearly fell off my chair when I read that.  Because I've sat through the 3 years of discussion about that.  I know they've been doing a study that they refused to publically release called the South-West corridor study.  I believe it is about putting more traffic through our corridor to get into the university precinct and I am very concerned as to why it has come up at this point.  It is not something that there has been upfront discussion with this community about and I have very strong concerns about why the Lord Mayor has slipped it into this plan to unfold over the next few years.

What an incredibly helpful transcription of what happened at the Community Forum. Many meetings have an ephemeral quality - great at the time but with the details lost to memory. Because I also had trouble hearing, seeing the responsive answers from Nicole Johnston and Ray Smith is wonderful, as it would be for people who were unable to attend to hear questions from the floor.  Thanks to WTSAG's President/webmaster!

I'd like to know what is happening with the dirt fill on the opposite side of the creek.  The Brisbane Markets are a large organisation, they are obviously able to do whatever they want to do.  There are other properties over there now which have come on the market, set to raise above flood level.  Do you know anything about any further development that is going on because the amount of fill on that side the water is going to go somewhere else.  Do you know anything more about their plans?

Firstly, can I say that the level of fill that has gone into the Brisbane Market site is absolutely extraordinary.  I have referred that to both our DA team and the investigators team to find out whether that's allowable.
The general rule under the city plan and this is a huge problem which is why again we need to be vigilant about the city plan is there are no limits on fill in areas that are zoned general industry.  Now both sides of Oxley Creek have areas of that are zoned general industry.  That's why all the fill went onto the bus depot site without having to come back to approvals or the public because it's in a general industry area so they could fill it.  That's why they're filling it over the markets. 
The really good news, and I would say to you, in a year's time they won't be able to do it.  The Flood Royal Commission has actually put in place a number of recommendations that will prevent that level of fill as a matter of right.  You would have to demonstrate that there is no net impact on your catchment and I do not believe that that level of fill would have no net impact and I think they wouldn't be able to do it.  So I'm sorry about this but it's a huge issue.  I absolutely, fundamentally oppose fill in these areas.
I opposed that development on that site and we cannot just keep filling in the flood plain because we've put all the houses in here now and we have to look after the people.

Ms Johnston's comments in relation to filling at the Brisbane Markets are ill informed and inaccurate.
Despite being a major employment and commercial hub within the Tennyson electorate, Ms Johnston has not spoken to Market representatives on any issue in some 3 years.
The filling which is currently occurring was subject to a Development Application which was fully assessed by the BCC's Development Assessment team.   There are substantial compensatory earthworks being undertaken as part of the project and computer modelling was also undertaken to ensure that the fill would have a negligible impact on the catchment.
Contrary to what Ms Johnston says, this type of assessment and modeling does occur under the BCC's assessment process.
Any inference that this company can do what it wants "as of right" is very ill informed and factually incorrect. I would reiterate that on the contrary, this company is required to meet all town planning and development assessment requirements.
Andrew Young
CEO Brisbane Markets Limited

Thanks, Martin from Chelmer and I'd like to thank Nicole for all her hard work with local residents to get the backflow devices investigation in the Tennyson ward on the map and I think it's a great shame that this report won't be issued prior to the election.  The Lord Mayor confirmed that on radio not that long ago to me.
The other thing that I think for people would be useful to know prior to the election if you have any updates for the $15million that was paid to developers for the Tennyson land is under an ombudsman's report and I wonder if you know if this will be released prior to the forthcoming council election?

Thank you Martin, and Martin is a Chelmer resident and he's been one of the residents who's been quite active around drainage issues and backflow valves and his neighbours have just been fantastic.
But the key issue here is that Tennyson land deal.  Can I say that I'm glad that someone independent is looking at it.  The GFC hit Mirvac very hard on that site and they had written down that land pretty much to zero.  Behind closed doors Council agreed with Mirvac to acquire 1.7 hectares of land for $9 million and an independent valuation was not done.  Now that's $9 million dollars of your ratepayers funds plus there is another $6 million which is going to go into the development of the parkland. 
Now I absolutely support the parkland but as I've said publicly it's got to offer value for money and we've got to be sure as rate payers our money is being spent well and the whole processes for approval are being followed.  So no I haven't heard about the outcome of the investigation yet and the ombudsman's not real quick so I'm not going to hold my breath that it will be in the next week and a half.

I absolutely shake my head about this deal.  I come from a business background, I just could not believe it.
We have a sum total of $15 million neither of which was paid in theory for the block, 6 of which was given to Mirvac without tender to turn it into a park and do the work in there.  No tender, $6 million straight to Mirvac, and finally when that deal was done there was a valuation because they thought they might have to back it up with something, they found out it was more likely worth $6 million so they switched the contracts so the $6 million was the block and $9 million was for the park to be developed and still ended up $15 million.  This has been an absolute travesty, it's got to be done properly, if the block was going to be bought it should have been bought for the right amount of money.  It the thing was going to be developed it should have gone to tender.  There should be no mates deals here.  It's too important when it's your money and I'm not convinced they got value for money across the board yet, the ombudsman will sort that out, I haven't heard anything yet, but I'm keen to.
The other very quick thing is backfill valves.  You've heard me say before that this report has been delayed and delayed and it put residents where I believe they would have benefited from backflow valves through unnecessary street during the wet season we've just dealt with.

You said that we get funding for only 5 footpaths per year, for new suburbs and our city fringe which I get to work on as a landscape architect, we get to put street trees in, we get to revegitate creeks, we get to do new parklands, many more parklands, many more street trees and vegetation works more than I've seen in an existing suburb with ratepayers money going into it every quarter do you have any allocation like you do with footpaths for putting street trees in existing suburbs?

Yes, we do, Council does have a program of investment in new street tree plantings and that was one of the big recommendations for the enhancement plan in the Sherwood-Graceville Neighbourhood plan.
We started well, we had a great event here in Corinda and we did plant a lot of new street trees through Graceville, Sherwood, Chelmer and Corinda.  That  happened about 3 years ago.  Last year the whole budget for street trees was cut and that money allocated to the floods so we are behind on our street tree allocation.  Our area, it's very hard, I don't want to complain as we needed that money to be redirected to our area for the floods,  I know people love trees, they provide shade, they provide habitat, they provide cooling effects so certainly we need to make sure that in this budget street tree funding is reallocated and that we continuously progress going through the hotspots in our old suburbs and revegetate.

I think Nicole has covered that.  I just want to make a larger point about the flood, and I think it's very good of Nicole to say funding had to be redirected, this is my feeling about flood costs.
Basically I think that Council used the floods to a large extent as an excuse to slash funding in a lot of areas because of the debt.  We know council spent $146 million on flood repairs to date, they've received $128 million in flood related payments from State and Federal Government with more funding to come.  This means council has not been out of pocket for 2 financial years, but they actually cut funding for $239 million in suburban projects and services over that same period.
The bulk of council's costs have been covered by the State and Federal Governments but the Lord Mayor has still chosen to slash and burn.  Quite honestly I could not believe the speed at which Campbell Newman stood up and cut $238 million out of services before he really had scoped what damage had been done and how much he was going to get back from State and Federal Governments.
I believe, this is my belief, that they've exagerated the need for flood funding because of the debt.

I'm Cecily from Sherwood and the street lighting is just about non-existant, it's as black as pitch, where there are lights they seem to be definately not bright enough.  Some lights are obscured by trees, especially Berry Street, Magazine Street, and Hazelmere Parade and side streets that run off from there.  If it wasn't for light coming from housing it would be black as pitch and it's a bit scary being out there at night.

Thank you for that.
Firstly can I say my office deals with these maintenance issues on an everyday basis.  I am often on foot in our ward and I'm out and about talking to residents but I do rely on people speaking to me about where we need to focus the local maintenance.  So I have written down those street names and street tree trimming is something that I can certainly get happening straight away.
One of the things that Ray mentioned just then about money.  Our street tree trimming program has actually been extended.  Normally when you get on the next quarterly street tree trimming program local residents are being told it can be up to 12 months now before street trees will be trimmed.  Now we've got that problem here in Corinda, so certainly we need to make sure there is more money going into street tree trimming.
The lights, new lights we have to get money for from the budget, so I have to be able to put those recommendations into council as to where people would like new street lights and I'd welcome that feedback about where that should be.  I'll take up the issue of dimness with Energex as well.

Nicole has said it all there, but quite honestly the other thing that has happened of course is that Council has lost 800 front line staff, these are the people that trim your trees, these are the people that mark the lines on the road, the people who fix the potholes, the people who fix the footpaths.  People who do stuff that council should do have gone because of debt.