The 2016 Brisbane City Council election saw a returned LNP administration and sitting Lord Mayor Graham Quirk to continue on as Brisbane’s Lord Mayor.
Other changes after the election included the appointment of Julian Simmonds as chairman of Brisbane’s City Planning Committee.
Elected in a by-election in 2010, Julian represents the Walter Taylor Ward in Brisbane’s Western Suburbs. Prior to being elected Julian worked as a policy advisor for Public and Active Transport as well as Economic Development for the Brisbane City Council.
In 2012, Julian was chairman of Finance, Economic Development and Administration Committee and oversaw the financial management of Australia’s largest Council.
In order to get to know Julian more, we sat down with him to ask a few questions.
Q. What do you love most about Brisbane?
I grew up in Brisbane and while I enjoy travelling, I have never wanted to live anywhere else. I love enjoying Brisbane’s perfect outdoor lifestyle, boating on the river or in the bay, walking up Mt Coot-tha or relaxing at a great restaurant
Q. What would you change about Brisbane?
Brisbane is already a great place to live, work and relax, however, I think Brisbane’s continued evolution as Australia’s New World City needs to be complemented by world-class building design. I’d also like to see our vibrant night time economy prosper, with restaurants and retail open longer hours.
Q. Where do you see Brisbane in 20 years time?
In 20 years from now, I see Brisbane as a city nationally and internationally renowned for its sub-tropical lifestyle, for its embrace of its river and for its world-class standard of built form
Q. From your perspective what are any imminent issues that need to be addressed in this city?
The most pressing issue for Brisbane is building the infrastructure for our city’s future. The Council has built billions worth of new transport infrastructure over the last decade and is committed to delivering the $1.5b Brisbane Metro by 2022. But as we cater for the increasing population outlined in the State Government’s SEQ Regional Plan, and the anticipated 108,000 new jobs in the CBD, it is vital that all levels of government work together to deliver public and private infrastructure investment in our city.
Another important challenge is meeting the needs of our ageing population with new and re-developed retirement and aged care housing stock. This will ensure residents can retire and age in the suburbs and communities they love and are connected with. I trust that the new industry incentive package that the Lord Mayor and I recently announced will assist us to tackle this challenge and it will continue to be an ongoing priority of mine.
Q. If you had to live in any other non-Australian city in the world, which would it be? And why?
If I wasn’t in Brisbane, I would be living somewhere in Canada or Japan – close to a ski field
Q. What upcoming project are you most excited about in Brisbane? Can be a precinct, infrastructure project or up and coming area.
It is difficult to choose just one project between now and 2022, Brisbane is going to see some exciting and important infrastructure delivered in the coming years that combined will see Brisbane continue to evolve as a New World City. The redevelopment of Howard Smith Wharves, Councils revitalisation of the Edward Street precinct, Queens Wharf, the Brisbane Metro and the Airport’s second runway will combine to give Brisbane its next big boost
Q. What made you want to be a Brisbane City Councillor and subsequently Chairman for City Planning?
I love the variety in my job, I love the range of experiences, I love working for my city and its residents and most of all I enjoy knowing I am a part of something larger – Brisbane’s success.
Q. What can we be doing to improve public and active transport in Brisbane?
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s proposal for a Brisbane Metro Subway System is the key to fixing our bus congestion issues. This two minute frequency, modern rapid transit metro system will operate on a dedicated route and cater for up to 30,000 passengers each hour.
Not only will this increase the system’s capacity and cut congestion, but the Brisbane Metro will allow us to provide extra buses to service middle and outer suburbs.