Emma Miller Place to be closed?

In a corner of Emma Miller Place (Roma Street Forum) is a plaque that was laid in March 2016 after the murder of Eunji Ban nearby on the steps of Wickham Park on 23 November 2013. Police say that Eunji Ban, a young Korean worker, was walking in the early hours of the morning through Wickham Park on her way to a cleaning job. The attack occurred as the early light shone on the Brisbane City Hall clock only 100 metres away.

What will happen to this plaque in Emma Miller Place? asked photographer, Tony Robertson.

Sources say Emma Miller Place is to be shut down for construction of the new Roma Street station that is part of Brisbane’s cross river rail.

Emma Miller Place lies on contaminated land as a result of its former use as a rail yard and petroleum storage. In addition a historical area of ‘oily ooze’ in the southern portions of Lot 60 on SP207215 between the Celebration Lawn and Roma Street Station Platform 10. This area comprises the former Roma Street rail yards formerly located in the area now occupied by Emma Miller Place, open space adjacent to Hotel Jen and the Roma Street Parklands.

When I made inquiries Brisbane City Council referred me to RSP Events @ Brisbane Marketing, so council have outsourced management of their responsibilities to a private contractor.

So I contacted state owned Roma Street Parklands Ltd who said that they do not own or control Emma Miller Place or Roma Street Forum; they own the area across the Boulevarde where the Roma Street Transit Centre is.

So I rang Cross River Rail. They told me that there will be public consultation when a contractor is appointed in Mid June 2019. The contractors will be responsible for the construction of a rail tunnel and an underground railway station where the current Transit centre is which will be demolished.

Last Saturday’s (9 Mar 2019) International Women’s Day 2019 may be the last demonstration to be held in that place for some time.

Brisbane City Council and State government has been locking down more democratic spaces from union’s, women’s organisations, Aboriginal organisations, and environmental groups.

Performance of Dames and Daredevils for Democracy on IWD 2019 at Emma Miller Place. Photo: Tony Robertson

The only spaces left are the inadequate Reddacliff Place and Queens Park which is under the control of the casino. Few (if any permits) are given by Brisbane City Council for King George Square because it is dedicated to commercial activity. Besides it is a concrete jungle inhospitable to public habitation.

Invasion Day 2019 at Emma Miller Place Photo: Tony Robertson

There is limited parking for the elderly and disabled.

On IWD 2019 the BCC King George Square car park was full by 8.30am. Parking near Roma Street Station is limited because construction of a temporary Coach Terminal has begun (due to be completed in mid-year.

The top entrance to Roma Street Station (Platform 10) has been closed. Further shutdowns and closure of access to these spaces takes place from Monday 11 March 2019.

The toilets in Emma Miller Place are a disgrace. They are not cleaned or maintained. They are usually locked.

Little money has been spent on the Roma Street Forum since 1980. The original podium is still in place. Some plaques and cosmetic landscaping has been done. Some landfill was put down to reduce the effect of the ‘oily ooze’ and the hydrocarbon contamination. With climate change the space has become a hot-house during rallies and public events. The green spaces are thirsty and poorly kept. Facilities are at a minimum. This multi-billion dollar council have deserted their responsibility to provide safe, open spaces for public assembly.

Anyone with information about council and state government proposals for this space please contact me at iancurr@bigpond.com

Ian Curr
11 March 2019

Roma Street Site – Early Works

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