Brisbane 2033: Legacy Project

November 2021 Newsletter

November 2021 Newsletter

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New Management Committee

Two new faces have joined the Management Committee for the next 12 months, to be led by new President (and former Vice-President) Kylie Blucher, Managing Director of Nine Queensland and Nine Northern NSW.

The Committee will get straight to work with its first meeting in the next few days to confirm the program of activity and priorities for 2022.

More than 40 Members attended the Annual General Meeting on 16 October where the new Committee was elected:

  • President: Kylie Blucher (elected unopposed)
  • Vice-President: Kristan Conlon, Partner, McCullough Robertson Lawyers (elected unopposed)
  • Vice-President: Peter Kelly, Executive Director, Three Plus (elected unopposed)
  • Secretary: Liana Heath
  • Treasurer: Paul Gallagher, Consultant, BDO (elected unopposed)
  • Immediate Past-President: Mike Gillen (automatic election)
  • Committee Members:
    • Kelvin Dodt, The Star Entertainment Group
    • Dai Gwynne-Jones, Portfolio Design Group
    • David Hertweck, Port of Brisbane
    • Kate Meyrick, Urbis
    • Stephanie Paul, The Phillips Group
    • Martin Ryan, Brisbane Airport Corporation
    • Debbie Smith, PwC
    • Paul Turner, Queensland University of Technology
    • Steve Wilson AM, C’est Bon

Outgoing President Mike Gillen thanked all candidates (18 people stood for nine positions, and the position of Secretary was contested by two Members) and made a particular mention of outgoing Committee Members Heidi Cooper, Susan Furze and Brendan Christou for their contributions.

The 2021 Annual Review was tabled at the AGM and can be found on the Committee’s website 2021 Annual Report.

Life Membership Awarded

Outgoing President Mike Gillen was awarded Life Membership of the Committee for Brisbane at the AGM – continuing a proud tradition of recognising retiring Presidents.

Mike, Director – Cities for AECOM, served two years as President, guiding the organisation through the challenges of COVID-19, lockdowns and vastly different ways of working and engaging.

We pay our sincere thanks for his stewardship.

Mike was automatically re-elected to the Management Committee as Immediate Past-President.

What Members said in the annual survey

More than 20% of Members responded to a recent online survey to share their feedback and thoughts about the work of the Committee for Brisbane.

The Top 10 priorities nominated by Members were:

  1. Olympic and Paralympic Games legacies
  2. Climate change resilience strategies and actions
  3. Regional transport, connectivity and mobility
  4. Innovation and entrepreneurship (the jobs and enterprises of tomorrow)
  5. Planning and urban development
  6. A “Brand” for Brisbane
  7. Net-zero emissions strategies and actions
  8. Public and social infrastructure
  9. Talent attraction and retention
  10. Affordable and social housing, including homelessness

Member satisfaction with CFB events was very high, with 92% recording they were either satisfied or very satisfied.

62% of Members rated their level of participation in Committee activities as six out of 10 or better.

The survey responses will assist the Committee with its activities and projects in 2022 and beyond.

SEQ City Deal back on track

The Committee for Brisbane recently joined a number of colleagues from peak bodies and industry associations in formal engagements with the Federal Government, State Government and the Council of Mayors (South East Queensland) to review and provide feedback on south east Queensland’s first City Deal.

After many years in development, the City Deal will set the foundations for all levels of government and industry to work together to plan the transformational projects required to meet the needs of Australia’s fastest growing region.

While the details remain confidential until the documentation is signed by all three levels of government, the framework will be set down for action on regional transport and connectivity, the digital economy, waste management and resource recovery and more.

Critically, the City Deal structure includes a governance framework that should see federal, state and local governments working together to plan and deliver significant infrastructure projects – outside of election cycles and political influences.

We are seeking a formal role for industry and community under the governance framework, reflecting the basic tenets of a strong democracy whereby government decision-making is informed by industry and community.

Business of the Games

We held a sold out (free) event recently, hosted by the University of Queensland at its Queen Street campus, where a panel of five experts shared their experiences of all things Olympics and Paralympics.

In the first of a series of business briefings, the panellists discussed their personal experiences in and around the Olympics and other major sporting events, including venue and program delivery and legacy planning and delivery.

Andy Davison (topic: business and trade investment), James Hepburn (legacy planning), Jeroen Devos (venue and legacy design delivery), Mike Irving (Games management) and Whitney Luzzo-Kelly (corporate programs) had the audience well engaged with their learnings, tips and red flags associated with preparing for the Games.

Some of the panellists’ observations from the session included:

  • 10 years provides a real opportunity to grow skills and capabilities locally to support delivery of the Games
  • We should engage broadly to deliver a culturally diverse and truly inclusive Games
  • We should ask the next generation of Queenslanders (our children) what sort of legacy they want to see from Brisbane 2032
  • Blur the masterplan lines so precincts and buildings are not delivered in isolation from surrounding suburbs
  • Vary the city shaping delivery and investment participants to build-in diversity and allow the city to explore its future self
  • Expand South Bank’s cultural river frontage and give the proposed Media Centre (at South Brisbane) a legacy plan; could it be a building, space or place celebrating and educating about First Nations regional heritage?
  • With the resources available in Queensland, move away from coal and embrace a cleaner greener state, fit for the future.

Feedback from attendees was universally positive:

  • 93% found the briefing very informative
  • 100% would attend future sessions
  • 100% would like the sessions curated around broad themes.

The Committee plans to conduct a series of Business of the Games briefings during 2022.

Signs of life in Brisbane's inner city

There are encouraging signs of life and opportunities for Brisbane’s inner city following a colossal period of economic disruption and uncertainty, according to the 2021 Inner City Vitality Report launched last Friday at an panel event.

The fourth annual Report , commissioned by Committee for Brisbane, recognises that COVID-19 continues to impact on the performance of the capital city’s major economic precincts ahead of the upcoming easing of border restrictions.

The report presents a snapshot of the health and vitality of Brisbane’s inner city – reporting on the CBD, Fortitude Valley, Spring Hill, South Brisbane and Woolloongabba precincts against five themes of commercial real estate, residential property, tourism, retail activity and education.

Key takeouts from the Report included:

  • 13% vacancy rate in CBD commercial office space
  • Surprising rebound in CBD residential sales
  • Increasing vacancy rates in CBD retail, particularly F&B
  • Education economy evolving into a CBD hub for learning
  • South Brisbane/West End residential sector showing surprising optimism
  • Higher Fortitude Valley office vacancies offset somewhat by lower residential vacancies
  • A general lack of confidence in Spring Hill residential and commercial office markets
  • Woolloongabba is transforming, and has an unprecedented pipeline of new residential apartments

In 2021, the vitality of the CBD rated a 5 out of 10, a slight improvement compared to 4.8 in 2020 but well behind the 2019 pre-COVID figure of 6.8.

However, there are signs of an L-shaped recovery in general activity levels across the CBD and in some inner city precincts.

2021 has been another tough year for the inner city but green shoots have emerged that point to signs of recovery and opportunities with more optimism for the year ahead.

The residential market has rebounded strongly and the construction sector is also performing very well with market changing projects in tourism, residential and commercial sectors coming on line in the next 24 months.

The education sector is the “unsung hero” of the Brisbane CBD and planned entries will continue to consolidate this role with major operators such as The University of Queensland and Griffith University exploring significant investment in the city centre.

Public transport usage has slowly increased, but figures are still 50% below October 2019 levels. The lack of ridership means the level of foot traffic remains subdued for retail and hospitality.

Not surprisingly, the report revealed the Brisbane CBD commercial office market has been challenged by a rise in both vacancy rates and incentives throughout 2021, as well as ongoing under-utilisation of space due to changing workplace attitudes and behaviours, mask wearing, home protocols, and social distancing.

As referenced in our October newsletter, and in response to the economic challenges, the Committee used the event to announce its “Reimagining the inner city” project, a collaboration with the Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Architects and Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, with research support from The University of Queensland.

During 2022, the reimagining project will explore the future, or futures, for our inner city (to 2050) and consider what strategies and actions could be put in place to ensure the city centre recovers its vibrancy and continues to play its role as the city’s economic heart.

Australian Financial Review Infrastructure Summit

CEO Barton Green joined his peers from the Committees for Sydney and Melbourne on a panel for the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Infrastructure Summit on 8 November (in-person and virtually).

The three-person Committees for cities and regions panel spoke about the infrastructure challenges and opportunities for Australia’s three largest cities, and the benefits that could flow from the development of an east coast mega-region (floated by the Committee for Melbourne in a 2020 research paper).

The Infrastructure Summit was promoted as Australia’s premier forum for government officials, industry experts, contractors, fund managers and investors to discuss the role of infrastructure in powering Australia’s economic growth and sustainability.

Curated and moderated by AFR’s newsroom team, the gathering of more than 40 industry leaders and insiders was designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the project pipeline and access to cutting edge content on:

  • National Cabinet’s priorities for infrastructure
  • Foreign ownership and investment in infrastructure
  • M&A landscape and what savvy investors have their eye on
  • Infrastructure needs for regional and remote communities
  • How technology is driving the delivery of next-generation infrastructure

New members

The Committee recently welcomed 11 new Members.

Corporate Leader

  • Healthy Land and Water

 Corporate Member

  • McGrathNicol
  • Bickerton Masters

Enterprise Member

  • VENLO Investments (REOLA)
  • Plural Communications


  • Rosalind De Waal
  • Mayoor Thakeria
  • Sondra Roberts
  • Rebecca McIntosh
  • Carmel Haugh
  • George Koukides


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The Committee For Brisbane acknowledges the First Nations People of the region and their continuing connection to and care of the land, waters and community of that region.
We also pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Photos by Tony Elsom