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Full Policy Platform - 2024 Brisbane City Council Election

This policy platform for the 2024 Brisbane City Council Election is not a comprehensive list of everything that Greens councillors will support and advocate for in office. Rather, it’s a list of key principles and prescriptions to guide elected councillors’ decision-making. Future Greens councillors in Brisbane will be expected to follow these policies until they are updated by a democratic process involving delegates from all Brisbane-based branches. This platform just contains the citywide policies, and sits alongside the party’s state and federal policies.

Accessible, Safe, Sustainable Transport Systems

These specific policies for Brisbane City Council should be read alongside the Queensland Greens statewide Transport and Disability policies. Note that the term ‘pedestrian’ is defined broadly to include users of wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Read more about the underlying principles via this link.

Improved walkability

1. Any destination that is accessible via motor vehicle should be accessible for pedestrians via a safe, direct route.

2. All intersections and crossing points within 500 metres of schools, bus stations and train stations should be pedestrian-priority crossings such as signalised crossings, zebra crossings, or wombat crossings.

3. Pedestrian access should take priority over all other modes of transportation. In urban areas, intersection signal timings should ensure that pedestrians do not have to wait longer than motor vehicles to move through an intersection.

4. The council should upgrade all pedestrian pathways in urban areas to wheelchair-accessible standards. Where topography or resource limitations make it impractical to create safe, wheelchair-accessible pathways alongside a road, the council should physically separate part of the existing shoulder of the sealed roadway from traffic for use by pedestrians, or convert the roadway to a ‘shared street’ environment with supporting traffic calming infrastructure as necessary (e.g. Albert Street, CBD).

5. If the council receives a petition requesting pedestrianisation of a street, signed by at least 1000 residents from the surrounding suburb, it should initiate a participatory design process and wider public consultation to explore closing off the street to general motor vehicle traffic.

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

Making space for bicycle and scooter lanes

6. For new bikeways and separated bike/scooter lane projects, the council should ordinarily prioritise direct connections to local commercial precincts, schools, hospitals and community facilities, rather than diverting cycling traffic along circuitous waterway corridors and back-street routes that are further away from key local destinations.

7. Wherever possible, bicycle and scooter lanes should be physically separated from both pedestrian pathways and motor vehicle lanes. For busy transport corridors identified as high-priority routes for bicycles, scooters and other modes of active transport, street parking will be removed where necessary to create safer, separated bike lanes.

8. Further comprehensive consultation will be undertaken with local residents, bicycle user groups, and other stakeholders regarding priority corridors which most urgently require upgraded infrastructure for wheeled active transport.

High priority corridors for separated bike lanes or cyclist-friendly shared street redesigns include:

  • Annerley Road, Dutton Park to Annerley
  • Ann St from the CBD to Newstead
  • Grey Street, South Brisbane
  • Lambert Rd, Indooroopilly
  • Main Street, Woolloongabba to Kangaroo Point footbridge
  • Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
  • Moggill Road, Toowong to Kenmore
  • Montague Road, West End/South Brisbane
  • North Brisbane Bikeway (multiple streets), Wooloowin to Toombul
  • Sylvan Rd, Toowong
  • Stanley Street, Coorparoo to Woolloongabba
  • Vulture Street, Woolloongabba to West End
  • Wynnum Road, Norman Park to Cannon Hill

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

A public vote on the future of hireable escooters

9. Brisbane City Council should undertake a public referendum to determine whether operating licenses should be renewed or revoked for escooter hire companies in Brisbane. Rather than a simple Yes or No vote, the public vote should also consider subsidiary questions such as:

  • whether hireable escooters should simply be banned from specific areas rather than from the entire city, 
  • whether operating license fees should be increased, and
  • whether higher fines should be enforced for escooters that are left in unsafe locations

Read more via this link.

Safer speed limits

10. At the request of residents, democratic processes such as community votes and participatory decision-making forums should be used to decide whether a street’s speed limits should be lowered. 

11. There should be a trial of 30km/h speed limits for Hospital Zones and School Zones in inner-city areas.

12. 30km/h should be the default speed limit in the Brisbane CBD between Adelaide Street and Alice Street.

13. Participatory decision-making processes should be used to recommend what enforceable speed limits - if any - the State Government should apply to motorised personal mobility devices (including escooters and ebikes) on shared paths. Appropriate speed limits for motorised personal mobility devices may vary according to relevant context, such as footpath width and pedestrian volumes.

Improving Access to Public Transport

14. Public transport should be free for all users. If funding limitations from higher levels of government prevent universal free public transport, priority should be given to:

  • Making public transport free for children
  • Making off-peak public transport free for all users (to ease demand on peak-hour public transport services while promoting increased patronage at night and on weekends)
  • Making all public transport free for concession card holders

15. The council should negotiate with state and federal governments to divert funding that’s currently allocated to car-focused infrastructure projects towards the creation of new public transport services.

16. Improvements to the frequency, coverage and operating hours of public transport services should prioritise direct connections between suburban nodes, and those who need to travel off-peak (especially late at night and on weekends), rather than focusing exclusively on weekday peak-hour commuters travelling into the city centre.

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

17. All modes of public transport should include audio announcements and visual screen displays of upcoming stops.

18. All public bus stops and their connecting pathways should be fully wheelchair accessible, and accessible for people with impaired vision.

Bus lanes

19. To reduce bus journey travel times and facilitate creation of new bus routes, the council should explore introducing bus priority lanes or T3 transit lanes along busy sections of major multi-lane road corridors, including:

  • Centenary Highway
  • Coronation Drive
  • Ipswich Rd/Main St through Woolloongabba and Kangaroo Point
  • Kelvin Grove Rd/Enoggera Road
  • Logan Rd
  • Lutwyche Rd/Gympie Rd
  • Lytton Rd/Wynnum Rd
  • Mains Rd between the M3 and Sunnybank
  • Moggill Rd
  • Old Cleveland Rd
  • Stanley St
  • Vulture St

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

Green bridge infrastructure priorities

20. In accordance with previous public consultations and studies, a new pedestrian and cycling bridge should be delivered between West End and Toowong.

21. Further feasibility analyses, cost estimates and public consultations should be undertaken regarding proposals for bridges over the Brisbane River in the following areas, including what modes of travel they cater for:

  • Bulimba Reach - Hawthorne or Bulimba to New Farm or Teneriffe
  • South-Western Suburbs - on the stretch of the river between Six Mile Creek and Moggill Creek

22. Proposals for a future green bridge from West End to St Lucia should be considered and evaluated after completion of the West End-Toowong bridge if there is significant public demand for an additional crossing.

Transport infrastructure spending

23. In general, transport infrastructure spending should prioritise local pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, bike lanes, footpath connections and public transport infrastructure over major projects that focus on maximising car traffic flow.

24. Community votes and participatory budgeting processes should be used to guide sustainable transport infrastructure design and spending priorities.

Housing Justice

These specific policies for Brisbane City Council should be read alongside the Queensland Greens statewide Housing policies.

Banning short-term accommodation in inappropriate areas and buildings

25. City Planning codes and enforcement processes must be tight enough to ensure that the use of entire dwellings for short-term accommodation for more than 45 days per year is restricted to purpose-built units in close proximity to major tourist attractions, business hubs or transport nodes.

26. For residential dwellings where more than 50% of bedrooms in the home are rented out as short-term accommodation (such as via Airbnb) for more than 45 days per year, council rates should be set to at least 500% of the rates payable for an equivalent owner-occupied residential home.

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

Encouraging efficient use of empty buildings and blocks of land

27. Significantly higher council rates should be charged on buildings or blocks of land that are left vacant for more than 6 months without a reasonable excuse. The additional charges should be so much higher than standard council rates that owners are incentivised to either sell their vacant properties or lower their asking rent to take on tenants. Ratings categories and definitions will be designed to ensure property investors can’t circumvent higher rates liabilities simply by visiting a property occasionally. 

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

Encouraging reasonable rents

28. The council should create separate ratings categories and set higher rates for residential investment properties that charge rent above defined thresholds, so that landlords who keep their rents low would benefit from cheaper council rates.

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

Construction Management and Sustainable Development

These specific policies for Brisbane City Council should be read alongside the Queensland Greens state and Australian Greens federal policies. 

Supporting small secondary dwellings and low-impact infill housing

29. In residential areas, planning codes should be amended to ensure that granny flats, tiny homes and other small secondary dwellings can be used as housing by people who are unrelated to the occupants of the primary dwelling.

30. Clearer guidelines should be developed to support the use of portable dwellings (such as tiny houses) as housing in low-density and medium-density areas, while guarding against the clearing of trees on private properties and preserving amenity for neighbours.

Read more about the underlying principles via this link.

Creating public housing via inclusionary zoning

31. The council should work with the State Government to establish a framework ensuring that private development projects which build 10 or more dwellings, or subdivide a block into 10 or more land parcels, must gift at least 25% of dwellings or 25% of developable land area to public ownership for use as public or community housing.

Read our related state policy via this link.

Unlocking land for non-profit housing projects

32. The council should explore and consider adopting a strategy of acquiring private sites, rezoning them to allow well-designed medium-density development, selling part of the rezoned site to recoup costs, then partnering with community housing organisations and the State Government to deliver community housing or public housing on the remaining council-owned land.

Consistent rules

33. Building height limits, minimum boundary setbacks, deep planting requirements, site coverage limits and minimum open space requirements specified in city plans, development codes, and other land use zoning plans should be treated as strict and binding rather than as negotiable ‘performance outcomes.’

34. Council planning codes should specify building height limits in both storeys and metres above natural ground level.

35. Rooftop infrastructure such as shade structures, cooling units and elevator plant equipment should be counted towards a building’s height wherever the area taken up by such features exceeds 20% of the building’s total roof area. Rooftop trees should not count towards a building’s height.

Improving sustainability, minimising flood risks and preparing for climate change

36. New residential, commercial and industrial developments with a building footprint greater than 200m2 must include onsite rainwater capture and storage systems.

37. New residential developments with a building footprint greater than 400m2, and all new commercial and industrial developments, must include onsite greywater recycling systems.

38. New residential developments must be designed to maximise passive cooling, and to remain safe to inhabit during a prolonged power cut even where outside temperatures reach 50 degrees Celsius.

39. New multi-residential and commercial developments must include systems for onsite food waste management or composting, or dedicated infrastructure (such as organic waste garbage chutes) to facilitate the efficient collection and processing of food waste offsite.

40. New residential, commercial and industrial developments (including carparks) must not be approved on land mapped in City Plan as River or Creek/Waterway Flood Planning Areas 1 or 2 (or equivalent), even where habitable rooms and offices are proposed to be raised above anticipated peak flood levels.

41. All developments - whether new builds or renovations - that add more than 300m2 of additional impervious surface to a site should be required to undertake a basic flood impact assessment to demonstrate that the development will not increase the flood risk for other nearby properties.

42. The council should consult widely and prepare a comprehensive plan to guide the gradual, long-term relocation of low-lying residential neighbourhoods that are highly vulnerable to creek flooding, river flooding, sea level rise, storm surge flooding or coastal erosion.

Re-evaluating car parking requirements to minimise traffic congestion

43. The council should review and update minimum carparking ratios for development across the city to ensure new development does not cause increased congestion on local roads. Anticipated traffic impacts from new developments must be assessed cumulatively with regard to other current nearby development applications and possible future nearby developments based on land use zoning.

44. In inner-city areas close to major public transport hubs, maximum off-street parking ratios should be introduced (similar to existing rules for the City Core) to reduce car-dependency and construction costs.

Minimising negative construction impacts

45. Construction sites must implement strict sediment and erosion control measures to ensure that no soil, dust or other loose material is washed or blown off the site into neighbouring properties, public land or drains and waterways.

46. Construction management plans must ensure heavy vehicles such as semi-trailers use main roads rather than smaller side-streets. If a site can only be accessed via local and neighbourhood roads, project managers must use smaller vehicles.

47. Within 500 metres of residential homes, construction noise should ordinarily be permitted from 7am to 6pm on weekdays, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. High-impact noisy construction work such as rock-breaking or jackhammering should not be permitted before 9am or after 5pm.

48. Within 1 kilometre of residential homes, permits for out-of-hours construction work should only be granted in exceptional circumstances. ‘Exceptional circumstances’ would include work that is urgently required in the interests of public safety, or to fix a water or sewage leak, or where work involves road or footpath closures and out-of-hours work would avoid significant negative impacts to footpaths, bikeways or public transport corridors.

Maintaining space for trees in private developments

49. For medium-density and high-density development projects including townhouses, flats, short-term accommodation, highrises and mixed-use developments, at least 20% of the site area must contain deep-planted trees at ground level.

50. For new low-density detached-housing developments, at least 25% of the site area must contain deep-planted trees at ground level. 

51. For developments which do not include a residential component (including commercial, industrial, sports fields and community facilities), at least 25% of the site area must contain deep-planted trees at ground level.

52. Areas which count towards deep planting minimum ratios must be open to the sky (not covered by building awnings), and have no artificial infrastructure directly beneath the roots.

Culture and Community

Free public liability insurance for small community groups

53. Brisbane City Council should investigate introducing a free or heavily discounted service that extends the council’s Public Liability Insurance policies to cover non-profit community groups that are not engaging in high-risk activities, so that projects such as community gardens, community art projects and free public concerts do not need their own separate insurance policies.

Integrating art into the urban landscape

54. All council infrastructure projects with a budget exceeding $1 million should allocate at least 1% of the total project cost towards public art projects such as murals, sculptures and pop-up galleries or performing arts events such as community festivals and free outdoor concerts, to be delivered near the project location.

55. All private development projects with a total cost exceeding $5 million should allocate at least 0.5% of the project cost towards delivering permanent public art projects such as murals and sculptures. These must be located on or immediately adjacent to the development site and accessible to the general public at all times. Developers may elect to pay an equivalent contribution to the council in lieu of delivering a public art component, which will be earmarked for delivering visual and performing arts projects in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Zoning to support the arts and community activities

56. City Plan Land Use definitions and associated policies should be amended so that noisy and space-intensive arts and community activities are explicitly permitted in a wider range of appropriate Zoning categories including Industrial and Mixed-Use Zones.

57. The council should undertake wider consultation to identify areas of the city that have a long history as hubs for the performing arts and live music to ensure that Zoning Categories and Land Use definitions permit and protect the continued operation of performing arts and live music in those locations.

Pride Centre

58. The council should partner with relevant non-profit organisations to establish a dedicated community centre, performing arts venue and museum to celebrate and empower Brisbane’s LGBTIQA+ communities. Such a centre could include subsidised office and meeting spaces for community groups and organisations that serve and advocate for LGBTIQA+ residents, and would provide information about other LGBTIQA+ services around South-East Queensland.

Free council facilities

59. Council swimming pools and all other community facilities that are council-owned or significantly subsidized by the council should be free to access.

Food resilience

60. Brisbane City Council should develop a food resilience strategy to:

  • guide and support the establishment of more urban farms and community gardens in public and community spaces
  • encourage and support more residents and businesses to grow fresh produce on private property
  • transition the city away from dependence on food businesses and industrial agricultural practices that harm the environment or systematically exploit workers
  • ensure residents have access to affordable and nutritious food even when supply chains are impacted by environmental disasters, pandemics and economic upheaval

Banning poker machines

61. Brisbane City Council should phase out over three years any co-hosting or sponsoring of events held at venues which contain poker machines, and should refuse to support or partner with any organisations or projects which derive direct income from operating poker machines.

62. No council-owned facilities should be leased to organisations which operate or derive direct income from poker machines. Where existing council-owned community facilities are already leased to organisations which operate poker machines, the council will negotiate with the organisation to end the lease as soon as possible, or to support the organisation to transition away from dependence on poker machine revenue.

63. (For clarity: These provisions do not rule out organisations which merely accept grant funding from the State Government’s Gambling Community Benefit Fund)

Read our detailed initiative via this link.

Improving library access

64. All Brisbane City Council libraries should open 7 days per week from at least 9am to 6pm. The council should trial late-night opening hours for the city’s largest, most popular libraries.

65. Location choices for new libraries should prioritise outer-suburban neighbourhoods with poor transport connectivity to existing libraries, and rapidly-growing high-density neighbourhoods where residents have less private space at home.

Tool libraries

66. The council should establish equipment lending services at council libraries and ward offices, or directly fund community-run tool library and share shed projects where possible.

First Nations Priorities

These specific policies for Brisbane City Council should be read alongside the Queensland Greens state and Australian Greens federal policies.

Paying the rent

67. In addition to maintaining and expanding funding for council-controlled First Nations programs and projects, 1% of Brisbane City Council’s annual rates revenue should be paid unconditionally to non-profit, Brisbane-based, First Nations-controlled community organisations operating in the fields of health, education, housing and crisis support, legal advice and restorative justice, news media, family reunion, and political advocacy. Organisations which receive this funding will have complete autonomy over how it is used.

Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Musgrave Park

68. Funding should be allocated towards construction and ongoing staffing of a new Aboriginal cultural centre in or near Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, with the precise location and design subject to detailed consultation with First Nations community groups. A funded steering committee of First Nations people should be established to guide the project and build community consensus around how it should be delivered and managed. Subject to further consultation with First Nations people, it would be preferable for the cultural centre to be operated by a publicly funded non-profit Indigenous organisation that is independent of local, state and federal government control.

Connecting displaced communities

69. Brisbane City Council should negotiate with First Nations community groups, neighbouring Local Governments and the State Government to establish and co-fund free public transport services connecting South-East Queensland communities with high Aboriginal populations (such as Cherbourg) to central Brisbane.

Read more on our First Nations priorities via this link.

Public Space Design and Management

Treating unhoused people with compassion

70. Unhoused people and people experiencing cognitive disability or acute mental health crises should not be fined  for breaching local laws.

71. Local laws should not be used to prohibit or penalise people sleeping in parks, bus stations and other public spaces.

72. Local laws should not be used to prohibit or penalise people sleeping in vehicles which are parked safely and in compliance with signed parking restrictions.

73. Where a person’s ongoing use of a public space to sleep or store belongings is causing a material negative impact upon the environment or public amenity, or is unreasonably preventing others from being able to use that space, the council should help that person find stable long-term housing, access relevant support services, and store belongings securely, rather than responding punitively.

Maximising accessibility

74. All public toilets should remain open overnight unless local residents and other local stakeholders decide otherwise via a widely accessible democratic process.

75. Heavily used public spaces should be fitted with free power outlets, device charging ports and publicly accessible WiFi internet.

Restricting public advertising

76. Public land and buildings - including footpaths, bus shelters, bridges, and council-owned community facilities - should not be used for any form of commercial advertising, except for designated local notice boards which specifically permit small business advertisements.

77. Heavy restrictions should apply to advertisements on private property which are visible from public spaces or neighbouring properties to minimise impacts to visual amenity.

78. Electronic billboards and illuminated billboards should be banned except in rare cases where they are used on a non-profit basis to communicate essential information in the public interest.

Restricting commercial activity in public spaces

79. The encroachment of for-profit commercial activities into public spaces should be strongly resisted and restricted. Public space should not be leased out long-term to private for-profit businesses.

80. When deciding what kinds of commercial activities will be permitted in parks, squares and other public spaces, the council should give priority to social enterprises, smaller local businesses and sole traders, and ensure that commercial activities like coffee carts and exercise classes do not exclude non-customers from using those spaces.

81. Public footpath dining should only be permitted for private restaurants where it does not reduce the space available for public seating and safe public thoroughfare.

Democratising decision-making about public space

82. Wherever practicable, decisions about how public parks, squares and streetscapes are designed and managed should be made democratically by everyone with an interest in the decision.

83. Participatory democracy processes should strike an equitable balance between the views and needs of those who live and work in or immediately around a public space, and those who live further away but still wish to use the space.

84. Design and management of Brisbane’s public spaces should generally aim to prioritise the needs of those demographics who have less access to, and control over, private spaces across the city.

Restoring the environment and mitigating global warming

Ethical investing and tendering

85. The council should divest entirely from fossil fuels, and from any other business or industry whose core activities cause significant environmental harm.

86. The council should amend its tendering policies so that council contracts are not given to private companies which also work on or profit from fossil fuel extraction projects and associated infrastructure projects (such as coal train lines).

Minimising carbon emissions

87. The council should ensure that by 2030, all council activities, buildings and vehicles (including subcontractor vehicles) will be powered by renewable energy sources. Where certain classes of heavy vehicle and specialist equipment cannot yet be replaced by electric vehicles, the council should implement alternative systems and processes that minimise the use of internal combustion engine vehicles.

88. Purchasing carbon offsets to achieve the council’s goal of ‘net zero emissions’ should only be considered a last resort. Any required carbon offsets should be purchased domestically and subjected to rigorous scrutiny. 

Minimising vegetation removal for public projects

89. Where destruction of native habitats and removal of existing native vegetation is genuinely unavoidable to deliver an essential public project, the council should facilitate a public vote open to all Brisbane residents with an interest in the project to confirm that the benefits truly do justify the resultant environmental harm.

90. Any cost-benefit analysis for a proposed council project that will involve disturbance to sensitive habitats or removal of native vegetation should include an estimate of the full, like-for-like replacement value of any environmental features that might be removed or degraded.

91. Offset planting should only be relied upon as a last resort due to its inability to replace the full environmental value of existing complex ecosystems, and should be of a scale and quality that provides at least three times the estimated canopy cover and environmental value of the vegetation which is being removed.

Protecting existing trees on private land

92. The council should proactively undertake citywide audits of existing vegetation on private land to ensure all trees and vegetated areas that provide significant habitat for native wildlife are mapped appropriately and protected from clearing via mechanisms such as Vegetation Protection Orders and inclusion on the City Plan’s Biodiversity Overlay.

93. Regardless of land ownership status, all native trees with a trunk diameter of 15cm or more (measured at 50cm above ground level), all native vegetation growing within 5 metres of a natural watercourse, and all native vegetation within mapped biodiversity corridors, should be categorised as ‘protected vegetation.’ Unless protected vegetation represents an immediate threat to human safety, or is growing within a mapped firebreak, prior council assessment and approval should be required before it can be removed, burnt off, or trimmed substantially.

Koalas in urban areas

94. Brisbane City Council should develop a comprehensive strategy to preserve and reconnect fragmented koala populations in urban areas and clearly identify the small number of privately owned properties that might be publicly acquired for habitat restoration purposes. The council should allocate sufficient funding to implement all elements of the strategy including land acquisitions and local law amendments.

Minimising light pollution

95. Brisbane City Council should undertake public consultation and initiate a research project to identify the most significant sources of light pollution across the city. The council should develop stricter regulations - including additional standard conditions on development approvals - to limit light pollution, with a focus on:

  • minimising impacts to wildlife
  • minimising amenity impacts to residential neighbourhoods and buildings
  • improving visibility of celestial objects in the night sky

In particular, stricter regulations should be developed for:

  • decorative lighting and spotlighting on buildings
  • non-essential lighting in and around parks, sports fields and nature reserves
  • construction sites (including illuminated cranes)
  • industrial sites on the suburban fringe

(Note: The party policy on ‘Restricting public advertising’ also includes banning electronic and illuminated billboards)

Waste minimisation

Food waste management

96. Wherever possible, the council should prioritise and promote localised food waste composting solutions on-site where food waste is produced, or in nearby locations in the surrounding neighbourhood, which do not require vehicular transport. Where localised food waste composting systems are not feasible, the council should expand existing trials to establish citywide residential food waste collection services.

97. Council food business licenses should include a condition requiring business operators to divert food waste from general landfill (such as by establishing onsite composting, or contracting a food waste disposal service).

Discouraging wasteful business practices

98. Council should investigate introducing additional targeted fees or levies for the kinds of industries that are identified as generating particularly high volumes of avoidable landfill waste, with exemptions or rebates for individual businesses that can prove they are generating significantly less waste than the industry average (such as by using less disposable packaging for their products).

Reducing the public cost of waste management

99. Where it can be clearly demonstrated that a particular public rubbish bin is overwhelmingly serving to collect waste from a single source (such as a fast-food takeaway business), the council should add an additional waste collection fee to the rates bill of the relevant property owner.

100. Markets which are granted licenses or leases to operate in public parks and squares must demonstrate a genuine commitment to producing zero landfill waste, and must not contribute to increased waste being deposited in public council bins.

Public ownership of waste collection services

101. Council waste collection services should not be privatised. The council should develop a transition plan to ensure that council’s household and business waste collection services which are currently outsourced to private contractors are brought back into public ownership and control.