West End rally for community control over development

Issue 

"We can't afford your units and we can't afford the bus; if you keep ignoring us we're gonna make a fuss!"

This chant rang through the streets of West End in Brisbane as 150 people marched against the proposed development at the old Absoe site on August 21.

The action began with a community breakfast aimed explicitly at developing community connections.

Murri leader Uncle Sam Watson described the struggle as a battle of culture versus dollars and cents.

Greens councillor on the Brisbane City Council and one of the organisers of the rally, Jonathan Sri, told the crowd that the development proposed on the Absoe site was originally to be made up of seven tall buildings with no connection to the street or the surrounding community.

He said that people need to decide on developments like this one though a genuine, not tokenistic, community planning process:

"It is so important that this development is not just for rich people," he said.

He also pointed out that the state government is considering "calling in" the project which could result in the whole development going back to the drawing board.

"A few months ago people said that that's never going to happen," he said, emphasising the importance of people power in such an outcome.

The march ended at the gates of the Absoe site with a promise that civil disobedience is an option if the developers refuse to abide by community will.

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