People need parks!

Musgrave Park, South Brisbane. Council has approved up to 15 storey buildings in this area placing pressure on parks like Musgrave Park. The Kurilpa plan proposes up to 40 storeys.

Under Public Land and Council Assets Local Law 2014 Brisbane City Council is intending to limit public assembly in local parks, malls, and gardens. The restrictions on use of public parks require “a person who wants to conduct an activity with exclusive use of a particular site within a park for a set period of time must book the site.” Under this legislation, groups of more than 50 who want to use any of the city’s parks or open spaces will have to pay more than $300 in advance for a permit or risk being fined.

This is a return to the Bjelke-Petersen ban on street marches … the council are using local laws to limit public assemblies whether they be for sporting, recreational, cultural or political purposes.

Council already has plenty of laws to prevent ‘dangerous activities’ or ‘damage to plants’ in parks, it does not need these laws. These restrictions apply to public parks, malls and gardens and include traditional gathering places for political and cultural activities, e.g. King George Square and Musgrave Park.

Brisbane City Hall 1959

If these laws are necessary for sharing limited space in public parks … whose fault is it that there are not enough public spaces?

Property developers, with council approval, have been taking land for private profit. Council has been increasing the density of housing in Brisbane which has led to greater need for public spaces. Insufficient space has been allowed by developers, council and government. Approvals have been handed out by council to change low-medium density housing to high density without concern about the impact on people and public spaces. For example council has given approval to developments in Annerley that exceed its own rules without. This has met with some resistance by local people (pictured below).

frederick street
Residents opposed to ‘dodgy’ planning in Frederick Street Annerley by developer, Pitman Properties whose director is Paul Pitman

Sale of public land to developers
Meanwhile low cost public housing has been privatised by state government. The laws ignore the cultural meaning of parks for Aboriginal people and for ordinary people. Worse still, Council has been selling land which was classified as parkland to the state government for use as housing land and then state government has sold the land to developers.

This arose in a debate on 28 August 2012 about the sale of Caravan Parks which provided long term low cost housing to residents. The focus of the debate in Brisbane City council was a motion put up by the Labor Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Milton DICK (seconded by Councillor SUTTON), that

“That this Council affirms it will not sell the part of the land owned by Council and occupied by the Monte Carlo Caravan Park, and continues to support the current area classification to ensure residents are not kicked-out to make way for higher density property development.”

The motion was disallowed because the Council had already sold the land which was classified as parkland to the state government for use as housing land (See Monte Carlo Caravan Park Debate).

Restrictions on use of Parks

Public Land and Council Assets Local Law 2014 imposes the following rules on ordinary people:

Council will not accept a booking for an activity (in a park) to which it does not consent.

Oral Directions
If under this local law, a direction or notice is given to the holder of a consent or a person acting under the consent, the direction or notice may be given to all or any one or more of those persons, and the obligation to comply with the direction or notice is imposed, jointly and severally, on each person who receives the direction or notice.

The power is for Council officers to give a oral direction and if a person is breaking the local law they can issue a fine on the spot.  There is no appeal against the oral direction given by the council officer. That fine can be $2,600 or $5,500. The offences are not getting a permit for:

  • Erecting any structure
  • Holding a party larger than 50 people
  • Conduct a public assembly which is not authorised under the Peaceful Assembly Act 1992.
  • Engage in any sporting games whether organised or impromptu.

Sign on DOGIT in Musgrave ParkAs well there are prohibitions against:

  • Affix notices to a tree or handing out fliers
  • Homeless people sleeping rough in a park.

People need Parks
A co-ordinating committee needs to be formed to fight these new laws and to defend people’s use of parks. These laws need to be challenged.

You can write to BCC at

Ian Curr
September 2014

DOGIT and other leases over Musgrave Park (2)
Jagera Land in Musgrave park There are three leases on the Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) in Musgrave Park – they are lease numbers: 602449147 602449152 602449157 Lease No 602449152 is for ‘aboriginal purpose and for no other whatsoever’

Public Land and Council Assets Local Law 2014.pdf
Stop the squeeze in Annerley
What next for the crooks from Babcock & Brown?’

4 thoughts on “People need parks!

  1. 'Park Permits - public consultation' says:

    New local laws will mean groups using parks: “… a permit will be required for any activity which meets any one of the following standard permit criteria:
    • Exclusive use of a designated site for a set period of time
    • Erecting, placing or maintaining any structure or fixture (except for a portable shade or shelter covering less than 15m2)
    • Access to and use of a Council power source
    • Commercial activity (i.e. exchange of goods or services for livelihood or profit)
    • Sale or provision of food and drinks
    • Sale or provision of alcohol
    • Involving animals, other than domestic pets
    • Affecting or involving native vegetation or wildlife
    • Driving or parking a vehicle in Council parkland.”

    Council is now consulting with the public about the proposed local law. The consultation period about the proposed local law is 15 business days. The first day of the consultation period begins on 12 September 2014. The last day of the consultation period is 2 October 2014.

    Any person may, on or before 2 October 2014:

    (a) Download a copy of the proposed local law from the links below; and/or

    (b) Inspect and/or obtain free of charge a copy of the proposed local law at the City Customer Service Centre, Ground Floor, Brisbane Square, 266 George Street, Brisbane; and

    (c) Make a written submission about the proposed local law stating the aspects of the proposed local law to which the submission relates and the grounds, facts and circumstances relied on in the submission.

    Submissions must:

    Be received by Council on or before 2 October 2014.
    Be addressed by mail to:

    The Chief Executive Officer
    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001

    or by email to:

    State the full name and address of the submitter.
    Nominate a principal submitter if a submission is made by more than one submitter.

    Council will consider all properly made submissions.

    The personal information provided in submissions will be used by Brisbane City Council for the purpose of recording and responding to submissions on the proposed local law. Personal information will not be disclosed to any third party without the consent of the submitter unless required or permitted by law.

  2. People in Parks says:

    People in Parks
    What a crazy idea,
    User pays,
    Buildings stay
    Forty storeys
    Sound construction
    Quirky’s right!
    Better concrete policed by tasers
    Than wind through leaves
    Better glass than grass.
    Silly me, more tunnels
    Than child swings
    Big trucks go-between bridges
    Grind down bicycle riders
    Moving goods, jobs and property
    Rates pay for parks
    Plovers sound their complaint
    At sundown
    In this unfinished place

    Ian Curr
    Sept 2014

  3. 'Councillor Abrahams' says:

    [soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

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