Queen’s Wharf Brisbane Bill 2015 and the Brisbane Casino Agreement Amendment Bill 2016

27 May 2016 11:15 AMMichael Hart


Queensland Parliament Hansard Green
DATE: 19/04/2016
SUBJECT: (no subject found)
Mr HART (Burleigh—LNP) (7.56 pm): I rise to talk about the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane Bill 2015 and the Brisbane Casino Agreement Amendment Bill 2016. I want to start by thanking my fellow members of the committee for their investigation of this issue. These two bills came to the committee at a time when we were pretty well snowed under with a whole group of bills, especially around the planning area, water legislation and the taxi bill. This was plonked on us at a time when we were very busy. We also had a reasonably new research director, and I want to congratulate her on the work that she did on this bill and all of the other bills that she has been working on. She has come to us from the federal parliament. She has been thrown in the deep end at the last minute and she has done a wonderful job, as have Margaret, Mary, Marion, Dianne and Sue who are also part of the secretariat. Without the secretariat it is very hard for members of parliament to fully utilise their positions to look at these bills thoroughly to give a reasonable report back to the parliament.
This was quite a straightforward bill. I must say that I am a little bit annoyed maybe or upset that so far we have heard from two members of the Labor Party and no-one has given credit where credit is due. In fact, the last speaker—the chair of the committee—said that he was proud to be a member of a government that ‘kicked this off’. The Labor Party did not kick this off. It was the LNP that kicked this off. In the future the Queen’s Wharf redevelopment project will live to be a legacy left behind by the Newman government—just like the M1 delivered by the Borbidge government, where it looked at the planning of the M1 and funded it and built it all within a couple of years. That is exactly what has happened with the Queen’s Wharf redevelopment process.
This process was started under an LNP government. It was signed up by the new government, but it was started under the LNP government. Members opposite really need to be cognisant of the great work of the former deputy premier, the member for Callide; the member for Clayfield, who was the treasurer at the time; and the premier at the time and their foresight to build 1 William Street, because without 1 William Street this project, this development, could not go ahead.
This is going to be a fantastic development for Brisbane. It is going to turn Brisbane into a cosmopolitan city. It is going to bring Brisbane into the realms of London, Macau and Hong Kong. We are going to see an explosion in tourism and an explosion in jobs.
We knew that straightaway when we heard the introductory speech of the Attorney-General. She said the following about this project—
… among other things, this project will deliver five new premium hotels including Brisbane’s first six-star hotel; three residential towers; 50 new bars, restaurants and retail outlets; a riverfront moonlight cinema; a new pedestrian bridge to South Bank; revitalised heritage buildings and spaces; and 12 football fields of public space. It will create 2,000 construction jobs and 8,000 operational jobs, a $272 million-plus payment to the state and a guarantee of $880 million in casino taxes for the first 10 years of operation.
If that is not a legacy, I do not know what is and that legacy needs to be sheeted back to the LNP government, which was us for three years. The LNP government started this process and it is going to be a major benefit for Brisbane.
I am looking forward to the contributions of the other members of the Labor Party who are going to speak to this very straightforward bill. I would like to hear some of those speakers give credit where credit is due. I am not going to hold my breath for that, because we all know how the Labor Party treats us on this side. I will not be holding my breath, but I will talk about a couple of other issues that the committee looked at during the process of considering this bill.
Although it is a very straightforward bill, the committee had some concerns about the heritage areas around this new development and how they were going to be dealt with under this bill. We also had some concerns about changes that were made to the PDA areas and the power that the minister might be given. The committee had received eight submissions on the bill. We did not hold any public hearings, because most of the submissions came from either the project operator or from local governments. The local government complaints were around that PDA area and the extra power that was being given to the minister.

We stepped through that process. We talked to the departmental representatives about the concerns that we had with the heritage side of things and we were satisfied with the responses that they gave us. They put together a very comprehensive plan and we were given a copy of that to look at. That plan lists just about every heritage building in that area in detail—down to the doors, the windows and the roofs—their heritage value and how they will be protected.
As I said, one of the concerns that was raised by local governments was the changes to the way in which PDAs and their associated developments happen. We asked questions as to why that needed to happen and it came back mainly to the fact that the proponent—with the government’s support—wants to build a bridge across the river that will land in South Bank. There is a need to make sure that planning is taken into account quickly and that that bridge can proceed without too much interference from other levels of government. The changes that are made in relation to PDAs give that necessary power to the minister. I am still a little bit concerned that the minister may be able to make these changes by regulation. We need to keep an eye on that.
I want to talk about the casino agreement. I am glad to hear from the minister that the new agreement will be attached to this legislation. During our discussions with the department the committee heard that the department anticipated that the agreement would be put in place and would be attached to the legislation. I am pleased to hear from the minister today that that agreement is now in place and will be added to this legislation. As I said before, we were a little bit concerned about changes being made to that area by regulation, but when this agreement is attached to this legislation we will be able to read it to see whether we are all entirely satisfied with it. None of this development comes to fruition until this bill passes the parliament—and rightly so. So until this bill passes the parliament, a casino licence cannot be issued.
Overall, I was very happy with both of the bills. They put in place the necessary legislation to see this project move ahead and to see a casino developed on the area just outside this place. I reiterate that this project is an LNP project. It cannot come about without the development of 1 William Street. Those opposite who stand in this place, as they continually do, and have a go at the previous government for putting together 1 William Street completely ignore the fact that, without 1 William Street, this project cannot happen.
One William Street is going to be a boon for this government. The members opposite do not seem to mind that they will be spending the $60 million a year that will be saved in extra rental. Those opposite are quite happy to spend that money, but they want to complain and make a big point about 1 William Street being built when it was the foresight of the previous government—the previous deputy premier, the previous treasurer, the previous premier—to go ahead and build that building, which is really needed for Brisbane, to allow this entire project to go ahead. I urge those opposite to think that through. Without the previous government, we would not be seeing this proposal in place now.
I have to say that those opposite do not have a big infrastructure plan. They put out a piece of paper that contains mostly projects that were started by the previous government. In fact, some of them were already finished by the previous government. I have a fire station in my electorate that was finished—
Mrs LAUGA: I rise to a point of order. We are here to debate the Queen’s Wharf Bill and the Brisbane Casino Amendment Bill, not the Queensland Infrastructure Plan.
Mr HART: Mr Deputy Speaker, I am talking about infrastructure in the state and the history of what the Labor Party has done in this area. I think that is completely relevant to the conversation that we are having.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Crawford): Order! Member for Burleigh, I just remind you to keep to the bill.
Mr HART: Absolutely. As I said before, this casino is a vital piece of infrastructure that will make Brisbane the major city that it should be and it is all to the credit of the former LNP government, the former deputy premier, who is sitting in front of me, the former treasurer, the member for Clayfield, and their foresight.
The foresight that the previous Labor government had was to build a desalination plant on the Gold Coast that we really did not need, the western corridor recycled water plant and a whole number of other pieces of infrastructure that have just been a complete and utter failure. The previous Labor government spent money left, right and centre—money that this state did not have and money that this state had to borrow—and we are building a casino and an integrated resort. We are going to make money for this state. That is what we started. That is what that lot over there failed to do and will continue to fail to do and—An opposition member: One billion on Traveston.
Mr HART: We will hear about other pieces of infrastructure. I am sure that most of the members on this side of the chamber can spit out infrastructure—
Mr Costigan: Horror stories!
Mr HART: Horror stories—I take that interjection—from the previous Labor government. The previous LNP government is responsible for all the cranes that we see around Brisbane. As members opposite stand in their bedrooms or on the balcony of this place they will see cranes everywhere. Do they really think that has anything to do with them being in government for 12 months? At the end of the day it has nothing to do with that. It is a hangover from the LNP government. Because of what we started we will continue to see cranes on the skyline for the next 10 years while this development is built and turns Brisbane into the type of city that it needs to be.
I fully support both of these bills. I fully support the work that the previous government did on this. I congratulate the former deputy premier, the member for Callide, I congratulate the member for Clayfield, the former treasurer, and I congratulate the former premier for the foresight that they had.



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