Where to for SEQ?

by David Everton

Published on
October 28, 2016

Summer is coming, along with the usual internal monologue: “Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that piece of cake, slice of pizza or second bottle of wine.”

Ok, hopefully not the last one.

When it comes time to shape ourselves up for summer and rock that beach body, aspirational thoughts help. Significant behavioural change and effort deliver results. Discipline is needed in both consumption and fitness to support internal health and a reduction in our expanding external dimensions.

The draft South-east Queensland Regional Plan was released last week, titled ShapingSEQ.

The question is, if South-east Queensland (SEQ) was a person, what body shape would it have and what shape would it seek to attain?

Still in draft, will the plan help whip SEQ into shape to enjoy an economic and prosperous Indian summer? Or are there cold, dark days ahead sitting on the couch eating ice-cream and binge-watching Netflix?

The plan calls to convert lazy flab (detached housing) into muscle (attached housing) through infill development. Fortunately, buildings aren’t people, so the plan to grow up and not around the midsection is possible.

Aspirations are admirable – we all need to take a look in the mirror every now and then.

We are a state of drivers – 83.4 per cent of all journeys and 73.7 per cent of travel to work are by car and we still love a big block of land – the average house lot size in 2015 was 475m2.

We don’t do public transport (only 7.9 per cent of all journeys) and it costs us. Fares only contribute 25 per cent towards the cost of public transport, leading to over $1 billion deficit each year.

This means that we have to live further away from where we work, and spend more time and money to get there. It is clear that if we want to have our smashed avocado/cake and eat it, we will have to deal with the consequences.

These are certain ironies in what has been created in SEQ – our problems are not unique, but our solutions must be.

In this age of technological democracy and digital disruption, planning need not be the domain of planners, government relations or policy makers. What do we aspire for SEQ in the next 25 or 50 years and what actions and behaviours do we need to adopt for it to become a reality?

Have your say at www.shapingseq.com.au by 3 March 2017.