29 May, 2024

Mayors come together

Twelve Mayors from Southeast Queensland’s local government areas descended to Queensland Parliament last week for a two-day delegation, pushing for more infrastructure funding due to the region’s rapid population growth.

Mayors from 12 Southeast Queensland councils came together at Queensland Parliament to discuss funding.
Mayors from 12 Southeast Queensland councils came together at Queensland Parliament to discuss funding.

Somerset Mayor Jason Wendt and Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery were among the attendees, with Cr Wendt saying the two days of meetings “had delivered a boost in funding and secured commitments to greater collaboration across the Parliamentary aisle”.

“It was great to see Premier Miles and Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon announce $100m to support SEQ councils through the next phase of the SEQ Community Stimulus Program,” Cr Wendt said.

“It’s a welcome addition, but with another 2.2 million people and 900,000 new homes needed by 2046, more work is needed to support the long-term infrastructure needs of the booming South East corner and the Somerset Region.”

Cr Wendt also thanked Opposition Leader David Crisafulli for making time to understand the growth challenges councils face.

“We’ve held positive discussions with both sides of the aisle about opportunities to empower, enable, and back councils grappling with record growth. How we can work together to deliver positive outcomes for our communities into the future.”

This delegation came just two days after Cr Flannery publicly expressed his dismay over the lack of support the new Federal Budget provided for the growing city.

“There is just no foresight. City of Moreton Bay has a critical need for new infrastructure that will unlock land for housing,” Cr Flannery said.

“The Federal Budget claimed to have a solution to ease infrastructure bottlenecks and better connect essential services to homes such as roads, water and power, and called for an increase in housing supply.

“But not a dollar has been even offered to City of Moreton Bay for this purpose.”

Cr Flannery added the funding for the Bruce Highway, Linkfield Road Overpass and Pine River Bridge Upgrade were welcomed, but called these “top ups” and “band-aid fixes”.

Cr Wendt echoed Cr Flannery’s sentiment, stating there are other parts that are disappointing.

“There was no increase in real terms to the main Financial Assistance Grants funding pool to local government,” Cr Wendt said.

“Financial assistance grants were one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 1996 but they will only be around 0.51 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 2025.

“Meanwhile, Councils maintain 75 per cent of Australia’s local roads.

“The budget confirmed that the successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program will not continue.”

Despite some disappointment, Cr Wendt also acknowledged some wins, including Somerset being eligible for the Thriving Suburbs program.

This program will give Council the opportunity to apply for 70 per cent funding for two community or recreation projects.

Another aspect Cr Wendt is “appreciative” of is the competitive road funding pool being increased by around a third, as Somerset has been successful in the past with competitive road and bridge applications.

Lastly, Somerset Council will look to federal programs to fund projects such as the Toogoolawah Gateway Centre, upgrades to the Toogoolawah pool, and major road safety projects.


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