On the 30th of March I gave a speech about some local issues in Griffith that I know our community cares about. The proposed new Maccas in Greenslopes and the knockdown rebuild of Gabba stadium for the 2032 Olympics.
A few weeks ago a group of residents came to me with a simple question: what's more important for the community in Greenslopes—another McDonald's, or an established medical centre that currently serves over 3,000 residents? I think it's fair to say the community know what they'd prefer. The medical centre is deeply concerned this development will be the end of its practice. I don't want to be a buzzkill, but I don't think we really need another McDonald's right here. There are already five McDonald's locations within a seven-to-12 minute drive of the site. What the community does need is clinics like Greenslopes Family Practice. The Australian Medical Association has projected a shortage of more than 10,000 GPs by 2031. Every week in my office I hear of residents struggling to access medical care in Griffith, in particular access to GPs. It's yet another case where we've seen a planning framework which maximises profits for developers and big multinationals, rather than what the community actually needs.
The thousands of residents of Griffith impacted by severe and harmful flight noise from Brisbane Airport have been stunned to be told the minister for infrastructure has refused to meet with them. Apparently the minister has plenty of time to meet with the aviation industry representatives and attend air shows to cosy up with the government's friends in big business but not to speak to representatives from the community crying out for action. People are calling for decisive action. They're asking for the basic measures Sydney Airport has: a night-time curfew and a cap on flight movements. In all the years of reports and reviews into the new runway debacle, nobody has been able to explain to me or them why the solutions good enough for Sydney are not good enough for Brisbane. Earlier this month at the National Press Club the minister told the community that if we want a curfew we're going to have to protest for it. Well, I've heard from a lot of furious residents who just may take her up on that. The Greens won't be backing down. We will be supporting the community to take action, as we have supported action on flight noise from the very beginning. Good luck to the government if they think they can ignore this community forever.
The fight to save East Brisbane State School and Raymond Park from the disastrous plan to waste at least $2.7 billion demolishing and rebuilding the Gabba stadium is far from over. The Australian Olympic Committee CEO, Matt Carroll, just this week said the quiet part out loud about the Gabba when he said:
The Olympics and Paralympics will use it for a month, if they could just give it a coat of paint.
He's right; the Gabba does not need to be knocked down and rebuilt. The plan to bulldoze the only public primary school in one of the densest, fastest growing areas of inner-city Brisbane such a spectacular failure of one of the government's most basic responsibilities—that is, to ensure every community has a school. Meanwhile, Raymond Park is home to a children's playground, basketball court, football club, sports field and much-loved community garden, not to mention people's homes. Ask anyone living within three kilometres of that park what it's worth to them. The vast majority of people in Queensland and across Australia oppose this project. They know this money, $2.7 billion at least, should be used to build public housing, schools and hospitals in areas that need them, not used to demolish a school and public park, and we'll be fighting to make sure this project is stopped and we spend this money in this country where it's needed.
We're told constantly by the political system that we can't hope for more. We're told there isn't enough money for public housing or raising the pension, DSP and JobSeeker payments so people aren't forced to live in poverty and tents in the park. But we're told there is $368 billion for nuclear attack submarines that will make us less safe—no questions asked about that money—there is $7 billion for sports stadiums for an Olympic Games that the people of Brisbane were never asked if they wanted and there are hundreds of billions of dollars to give the rich tax cuts they don't need or deserve. The people of Griffith sent me here to fight for them, to be a voice for ordinary people who are screwed over every day by governments who care more about their corporate donors, multinational corporations and billionaires getting richer than about people having safe and affordable homes or enough food to eat. To build movements that grow and grow in power until they force the government to act is what we need to do—to build the homes we need so no-one is left out in the cold; to ensure every single person in this country has what they need to do live a good life—and we won't stop fighting until we get there.