Peter Skinner responds to Timothy Moore’s article on the Queensland premier's recent proposal for a new parliamentary precinct in Brisbane.
“Brisbane revitalized” indeed! More like a most miraculous resurrection. On 26 May, the Newman government pulled the plug on a $275 million government office building that was to house 2,200 public servants due to “the depressed local property market conditions.” Three days later, on 29 May – Hosanna! Suddenly there was pressing government demand for prestige office accommodation, and the property sector was portrayed as keenly lining up to invest in new government office buildings, with design and construction tenders to be called within days.
What is the secret of this blessed miracle? If the premier’s words and his chosen illustration are to be believed, the North Bank project has risen from the ashes yet again. Developers will once again be encouraged to walk on the water of our flood-prone river and, perhaps, also slip a casino, hotels, commercial buildings, cultural and residential space and major retail amenities into the historic precinct. Despite his protestations, Premier Newman should remember the discredited North Bank project was a key element of the Brisbane City Council’s CBD master plan from when he was Mayor of Brisbane.
On this occasion, it appears there will be no considered planning process before this key urban precinct is handed over to a private bidder.
Read Architecture Australia editor Timothy Moore’s article “Who is the architect.”