BRISBANE REGION ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL
South East Queensland
Regional Framework for Growth Management
Grappling with Growth
November 17 1997
The 1997 SEQ Regional Framework for Growth Management (RFGM)
The RFGM is a cooperative arrangement of local, state and, theoretically, the federal government to cope with the effects of rapid growth in SEQ. It is just in the final throes of having its priority actions reviewed. The Regional Coordination Committee has yet to receive or endorse the amended priority actions.
First among the good news..
Now for the bad news
The RFGM has no systematic plan to preserve the ecological systems in SEQ, deficiencies include:
There was no real recognition given to the adverse impacts of development patterns and trends. The central assumption of continued high growth was never really questioned. The governments involved need to address the task of slowing growth rather than just accommodating, or maybe directing it slightly.
Recent State of the Environment Reports for both Brisbane and the Brisbane River has revealed that the high growth rates have already strained the regional ecosystems greatly. Likewise, the largely voluntary, welfare and social service sector are coming under increasing pressure. Governments are struggling to build evermore infrastructure and the unemployment numbers keep rising. The RFGM doesn’t really come to grips with these problems.
The principle in the RFGM about minimising land take and was trampled in the rush to get governmental and departmental ambit claims enshrined in the priority actions. The ecological footprint, a measure of land area, resources used and waste produced, of the settlements in SEQ can only increase under the RFGM 1997.
The consultation process used in reviewing the priority actions needs to be broadened and deepened. The process from August to now was appalling with little hard copy and few reproduceable maps. The reworking of priorities should start from the local level and work up rather than a top down process. Local governments need to urgently establish local and subregional forums to encourage greater participation. The Non Government Sector Committee continues to dominated by planners rather than community groups.
In SEQ there are over 200 local and subregional environment groups and there needs to be adequate time and resourcing for all groups to be consulted or involved..
We still believe that the RFGM cannot be reconciled with ESD and must be viewed with suspicion. However the SEQ2001 and RFGM are one of the few options we have for trying to control the impacts of growth and as such QCC and regional groups should stay engaged with the process.
Michael Petter and Joe Ruiz Avila were the environment sector representatives in this process.