THE proportion of southeast Queensland workers travelling into Brisbane’s CBD for work will continue to decline over the next decade, a report has found. On the flip side, the suburban economy, both in centralised suburban business precincts such as Chermside, Springwood and Cleveland and decentralised throughout the suburbs, will grow.
The Suburban Alliance, which commissioned the report to be released on Wednesday, says the findings fly in the face of preconceptions of policymakers intent on funnelling more workers from the suburbs into the CBD. The report, prepared by MacroPlan Dimasi, reveals the largest and fastest growing job sectors — health and education — which also employ the most people, do not have prevalence for inner-city employment. The legal profession is the only industry in southeast Queensland where more than half of the industry’s workforce is based in the CBD.
Stronghold Investment Head of Property and Advisory Steve de Nys said all levels of government needed to shift their focus into suburban centres, where the future workforce would be. Mr de Nys said the $5.6 billion proposed for Cross River Rail, which would exclusively service inner-city areas, could be better spent in $500 million lots across 11 suburban business districts.
“That could make a real difference to a lot of people’s lives,” he said.
“The vast majority of people don’t work in the CBD or fringe (suburbs) or live there, and they all vote.”
Mr de Nys was more in favour of the Brisbane City Council’s Brisbane Metro public transport system, which would eventually extend from Chermside to Eight Mile Plains, Carindale and Springwood. 2011 Census statistics show just 14 per cent of jobs in southeast Queensland were in the Brisbane CBD, 33 per cent were in suburban business centres and 52 per cent were outside of both those areas. The report predicts the proportion of jobs in Brisbane’s CBD will be even smaller when the 2016 Census results are released. Wolter Consulting Group director and planning manager Andrew Crawford said he was surprised by the report’s findings.
“I definitely think from a planning point of view there is a bit of a planning lag when it comes to adapting to global megatrends and the way technology will change the way we live,” Mr Crawford said.
“When you look at employment emerging in the suburbs, you need to capitalise on and identify the opportunities it provides.”