Professional development – The Brisbane Institute.

The Brisbane Institute is promoted as Queensland’s premier think tank and independent forum for ideas, insight, inspiration and innovation.

Since 1998, The Brisbane Institute has been bringing the communities of greater Brisbane and south east Queensland together with leaders in government, business, industry and academia to challenge assumptions, provoke discussion, share information and generate solutions to issues that affect us all.

As a Geography teacher I have attended forums provided by the Institute from time to time.

Most recently I attended their forum: No Place Called Home. It was promoted as an important forum examining why secure, affordable housing is still just a dream for many Queenslanders.

This is how the event was described on their website:

As people flock to the south east corner to enjoy our sensational climate and lifestyle, the Great Australian Dream is increasingly out of reach for many Queenslanders, and household affordability, public housing and homelessness are emerging as the most urgent issues in the growth management debate. How do policy-makers begin to tackle these challenges? What are the options for a new generation struggling to achieve the dream of a place to call their own? And what can we do in our own families and communities to help?

The speakers were:

  • Assistant Coordinator-General James Coutts
  • Brisbane Housing Company’s CEO David Cant
  • Executive Officer for Queensland Shelter Adrian Pisarski
  • Mission Australia’s national homelessness and housing advisor Sean Lappin
  • Residential property expert Michael Matusik

There was a wide-ranging panel discussion covering topics such as trends in household and community planning, the changing face of social housing, the surprising new statistics on homelessness, and solutions for the growing number of people who have no place called home.

In terms of the Social environments unit I found there were quite useful insights for the Sustaining communities focus unit.

For example David Cant told of the 100000 homeless across Australia of which 60000 sleep rough. There are 9 million dwellings in Australia and 8.5 million households.

Adrian Pisarski told us that in the last 20 years the size of houses has doubled while the size of households has halved. He spoke of the ‘McMansions’ and their huge drain on energy because they are often built so close together that natural ventilation is severely impeded.

James Coutts referred to the new Urban Land Development Authority development at Fitzgibbon, Fitzgibbon Chase. This new development has a range of housing options including that provided by the Brisbane Housing Company and ‘Fonzie’ [yes, as in Happy Days] style apartments.

It is located to access rail and the northern bus way. He also referred to a new report that Geography teachers around the state may find useful:

Shaping tomorrow’s Queensland: A response to the Queensland Growth Management Strategy [summary document:] [full document: ]

Future events from The Brisbane Institute include:

  • 23.03.11* Packed Lunch: Career Rockets: boosting skills, boosting reputation
  • 05.04.11 In Conversation: Lord Mayor Campbell Newman
  • 12.04.11* Brisbane Business Conversation #2: Smart, Connected City
  • 19.04.11* Seriously, renewable: which energy options provide the best potential
  • 04.05.11 Brisbane Business Conversation #3: Growing City
  • 17.05.11* Is digital access the new class divide? In the 21st century, knowledge is still power 31.05.11* Saving energy: how we do for power what we did for water
  • 15.06.11* Packed lunch: leading, inspiring and engaging communities in change

More details about these and other activities can be found on The Brisbane Institute’s home page:

** Article courtesy of Russell Smerdon [All Hallows’ School]


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