In today’s Courier-Mail, commenting on the Deputy Premier’s call in for State Government review of an $800 Million West End development, Steve Wardill observes that “WITH the case of the West Village development call-in, Jackie Trad was damned if she didn’t and damned if she did.” If she did not call it in, she would lose support in her electorate of South Brisbane, but, if she did, she ran the risk of appearing to be anti-development.
Political considerations will ultimately determine the conditions the Government places on the West Village development, because it is obvious on economic and policy grounds it should proceed in its current form, and that Brisbane City Council was right to ignore its own restrictive neighbourhood plan for the area when approving the development. Consider that higher inner-city population density, which this West End development would contribute to, would be consistent with State Government policy to increase active transport (cycling and walking) and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, there does not appear to be any reason for the State Government to get involved, because this is a purely local issue. It is not affecting the environment outside of the immediate local area as far as I can tell. A well-known principle governing the allocation of powers and responsibilities to different levels of a hierarchy, which apparently originated in the Catholic Church, is the subsidiarity principle. According to the Council for the Australian Federation:
Subsidiarity is the principle that powers and responsibilities should be left with the lowest level of government practicable. Such a devolved system means there is greater local input into decision-making and States and Territories can customise policies and services to suit local preferences.
Applying this principle would mean that local planning decisions with no State-wide significance are left to councils. This would appear applicable in the case of the West Village development.
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