Council seeks direction on Deebing Heights application

Ipswich City Council has referred a development application for a proposed childcare centre at Grampian Drive, Deebing Heights back to the State Government.

The application has been the subject of community concern about the history of the nearby former Aboriginal mission and burial grounds.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the move reflected sensitivities around this development in some sections of the community and that council was not satisfied it could make a decision to approve the application.

“The application for a childcare centre to be built within the Ripley Valley Priority Development Area at Deebing Height is an incredibly sensitive matter,” Mayor Harding said.

“There are two Indigenous groups who both have different accounts of the cultural history of this site, making it extremely difficult for council to navigate this complex issue.

“Councillors have engaged with both groups to hear all views on this application and to better understand the cultural heritage matters that exist in and around the development site.”

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Mayor Harding said council had already requested in October 2022 that the State Government provide further information in relation to cultural heritage matters, with that information received in December.

“We have undertaken further consultation with external parties including the Minister for Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) and the Minister for Police and Corrective Services,” Mayor Harding said.

“However, Council is not yet satisfied it could make a decision to approve the proposed application because of ongoing community concerns about the cultural heritage and origin of the bone fragments found at the site.

“We will continue to work constructively with the State to work through the various aspects of this applications and the associated culture heritage matters.”

At its ordinary meeting on Thursday 23 February, council resolved to refer the matter back to Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Steven Miles for his decision.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Deputy Chairperson Councillor Paul Tully put forward a motion which was unanimously supported by the Mayor and Councillors.

Cr Tully said that as the application could not be refused, under the advice from the Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, the matter should be referred back to the Minister for him to decide.

He said one of the reasons for this move was there had been 163 objections to the proposed development.

Cr Tully also stated the competing First Nations’ claims in relation to the property and adjacent land could not be properly assessed with council’s limited resources and that no final native title determination had been made in respect of the area.

Cr Tully said there were still concerns about the origin of bones found with proper testing needed to be done and, according to one submission made, there is more than a reasonable likelihood that human remains and/or artefacts are on the development site.

Cr Tully called for appropriate State Government consultation to occur with the First Nations’ people associated with this site to ensure proper cultural consultation occurs including Ground Penetrating Radar to establish the nature and extent of burials on or near the site including the examination of “anomalies” previously identified during earlier tests.

“Unlike any other location within the Ripley Valley PDA, the Deebing Creek Mission and its surrounds is an important and sacred place with extra legislative and governance layers, namely the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and the agreed Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP). These need to be fully and appropriately assessed in an open and transparent manner, which adequately reflect and address the extensive community concerns,” Cr Tully said.

Read also:

>>> What’s going on with development at Deebing Heights

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