There are concerns about Struggle Street possibly being filmed in Inala. Photo: Bradley KanarisWhen Brisbane City Council knocked back the filmmakers behind Struggle Street from filming in Inala, it did so because it feared residents would be subjected to ridicule on a national scale.

So far, some media coverage has done little to allay those fears.

In his letter sent to the series’ producers on Tuesday, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the residents of Inala did not deserve the national stigma of featuring in such a show.

Citing the perceived hit to the western Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt’s reputation when the first series aired last year, Cr Quirk said the people of Inala were hard working and aspirational.

“I note … that your clear intention when filming in Brisbane is to focus on numerous sites solely in Inala,” he wrote.

“I also not that your intention is to once again follow ‘a number of people facing a range of challenges’.

“I can only conclude that you intend to give Inala the same targeted treatment you gave Mount Druitt.

“Inala is an emerging, aspirational suburb that is overwhelmingly populated by proud and hardworking members of our community.

“They deserve better than this.”

But Australian Bureau of Statistics data, based on the 2011 census, paint a grim picture.

The median weekly income was $349, compared to the Queensland average of $587.

Inala’s unemployment rate of 13.8 per cent was more than twice the state rate of 6.1 per cent.

Despite the economic realities, local Labor councillor Charles Strunk said Inala was unfairly maligned.

“We have struggled to raise the profile of the suburb over the past 20 to 25 years, but as the Lord Mayor said, it’s gradually coming up and it’s now almost a destination for a lot of people, for the simple reason that it’s got big blocks of land and they’re worth quite a lot,” he said.

“You can’t buy a cheap house in Inala anymore.”

Cr Strunk said Inala residents had access to as many services as those in other areas.

“It’s the services that people want and Inala has the services in spades,” he said.

“Honestly, we have some of the best schools that have all been done up through Schools of Tomorrow, with $15 million spent on each one of them.

“That was back in 2007 now, but it’s really paying dividends.”

The Greens’ sole Brisbane councillor, Jonathan Sri (The Gabba), said he hoped the filmmakers would have the chance to film in Inala.

“This looks a lot like excessive censorship to me,” he said.

“The first series of the Struggle Street doco certainly wasn’t perfect, but to completely deny the film-makers permission to film on public land is a crappy way of handling the issue.

“We allow dozens of film companies to make all sorts of movies in Brisbane, but we can’t allow one documentary about the lived experiences of poorer/marginalised residents?

“I hope the film-makers will still be able to make this work even if they can’t film on council land.”

The ABS data shows 47.5 per cent of the suburb’s inhabitants were born overseas.

Given its large Vietnamese community, it was no surprise that 17.6 per cent were born in south-east Asia.

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