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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release November 2004

Draft SE Queensland Regional Plan

Hi SOS Members

The high-density juggernaut is still advancing. A Draft SE Queensland Regional Plan has been issued by the Office of Urban Management in the Queensland Government. This document states:

"A move towards a more compact urban form with higher densities in select areas could achieve significant benefits through lower levels of overall travel demand and reductions in energy usage and emissions of pollutants. It could also improve levels of accessibility and have fewer detrimental impacts on the region’s environmental and natural resources.

"Future urban growth in SEQ will be consolidated around urban activity centres and public transport nodes. New residential areas will be developed at densities that support public transport services. Land and infrastructure will be used more efficiently and economically. The Regional Plan proposes that a significant proportion of future dwelling growth will be accommodated through infill and redevelopment within existing urban areas."

SOS members alerted me to this announcement and I dashed off a letter to the Brisbane Courier-Mail. It was published on 1 November and read:

Disaster in design

[So] The Queensland Government is to follow in the disastrous footsteps of the New South Wales planning department.

High-rises and houses on postage stamp blocks are to be retrofitted onto suburbs originally designed for low density. High-density imposes severe detrimental effects on the environment and our quality of life.

Experience in Sydney and high-density cities all over the world shows that far from alleviating transport problems, traffic congestion and dangerous air pollution increase, there is more noise and greenhouse gas emissions. The policy destroys heritage, gardens and remnant bushland. To top it all, the saving in city dimensions is negligible.

Existing infrastructure becomes overloaded. One can now see the fear in NSW Premier Bob Carr’s eyes as he faces increasingly frequent interviews about daily power blackouts, traffic gridlock, disintegrating public transport and a city running out of water.

There are viable alternatives to housing an increasing population including a whole-of-state development approach. [Why should we destroy a quality of life that is the envy of the world?]

Tony Recsei, president, Save Our Suburbs NSW Inc, Warrawee, NSW

(the words in square brackets were not printed).

What I said about Bob Carr was rather prophetic. The Sydney Morning Herald this morning reports that at a "tense" caucus meeting yesterday "the message to Bob Carr and Michail Costa was blunt: unless they sorted out the rail chaos, many first-time Labor MPs faced annihilation at the next election".

Meanwhile Minister Dianne Beamer and DIPNR are telling us that high-density will solve traffic problems due to increased use of public transport. As SOS has predicted, the exact opposite has occured. Traffic congestion is increasing and public transport is failing to cope with the increased numbers being packed into our suburbs.

Tony Recsei
Save Our Suburbs (SOS)

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