Group activity 19 Feb 2023
This week was council’s first general meeting of 2023, and the dodgy Stafford Bowls Club lease received a lot of attention. Cr Jared Cassidy asked whether Cr Hammond would apologise to our residents after calling our residents “liars”. The Lord Mayor doubled down, calling us “fake” and dismissing the genuine concerns of our residents. Cr Schrinner referred to our group as a “save our bowlo” campaign, showing that our representatives are simply failing to hear our request to try their best to develop a genuine community space for Stafford. We’re waiting on a response from council about our petition.
Here are a few things we’ve found this week - including some that we need help with.
We’ve analysed council park, club, and sports contracts over the last few years. We know where council is investing, and it’s not Stafford. There are contracts of $23m for Nudgee Sports Park, $22m for Archerfield Wetlands Park, $4.5m for Bradbury Park, and $3.7m for Victoria Park - but we’re told the BRC deal is amazing because the “ratepayers aren’t paying”. It seems we are paying, it’s just not coming back to Stafford (kind of like the poker machine revenue going to Eagle Farm and Doomben).
We found that the lease assignment to BRC could be illegal. For council to dispose of an asset without tender, such as assigning a lease to a corporation like BRC, they have to vote on a resolution that a “community organisation” exception applies. Council didn’t do this - so the lease assignment may be unauthorised. These rules are from the City of Brisbane Act, a state law, so council must follow them - it’s not optional. We’ve notified Cr Hammond and Cr McLachlan to request a response on the matter.
We’ve also found that OLGR has granted a waiver to BRC for both Community Impact Statement (CIS) and advertising requirements. The type of poker machine license BRC applied for usually requires a CIS, and then to be advertised for community comment. The OLGR commissioner has granted a waiver on both requirements. We’ve written to OLGR Licensing, Jimmy Sullivan MP and Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman to ask that the gaming license be held so that the usual CIS and advertising process be followed. This is a shocking development and we’ve submitted a Right To Information request about how this decision was made.
Members of our group have been out talking to representatives at all levels of government. We’ve met with local, state, and federal members and we hope to give you more updates about these meetings in due course. We’ve had strong support from Cr Cassidy, Cr Sriranganathan, and Stephen Bates MP. We’d also like to thank all of the councillors who voted in favour of an apology from Cr Hammond for calling us liars.
The Courier Mail and ABC News have covered our story in new and updated articles. We’ve linked our media at staffordhub.org/coverage so you can find it all there.
We’re currently waiting on RTI requests for the BRC lease as well as the OLGR gaming license waivers that were given to BRC.
We need your help to engage OLGR on the gaming license - to ensure that BRC is required to submit a Community Impact Statement - and that they are required to consult with the community. We need a few letter-writers to help ensure that this message gets through - if you can lend a hand and write an email, please connect with us on the Facebook group!
One thing everyone can help with - smash out some emails to Cr Schrinner and Cr Hammond. We’ll throw some talking points into the group this week to help if you’re not already outraged enough at being called fake.
Possibly the most important thing of all - we’re planning a BBQ get together - dates TBD - watch this space!!.