30 September, 2023
Somerset grouped in Brisbane metro funding pool yet again
SOMERSET Regional Council will object to again being grouped with Brisbane and excluded from seeking funding under the Australian Government’s new $400 million Regional Precincts and Partnerships Program (RPPP).
Somerset Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee representative Councillor Cheryl Gaedtke said, “We are very supportive of the government creating a funding program to assist in the planning and delivery of regional precincts, much like we are currently doing with the Lowood Futures Strategy and the Kilcoy Streetscape Revitalisation Project.
“These are huge but vital projects for our region and we were ready to put our case for funding support for them as part of the government’s new regional precincts program.
“Unfortunately, we have again been grouped with Greater Brisbane and are not eligible for funding under RPPP. It does appear that Canberra does not have a clear understanding of the diverse nature of the south east corner of Queensland,” Cr Gaedtke said.
Under the RPPP guidelines, Somerset towns such as Toogoolawah, which are further from the Brisbane CBD than either Maroochydore or Surfers Paradise, are considered part of the Brisbane metro area. Under those same guidelines, the more heavily populated areas of Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast are considered regional and rural and are therefore eligible for funding.
“We understand that we might be eligible for a new $160 million urban precincts program where we would need to compete with councils in the metro capital city areas throughout Australia for funding,” Cr Gaedtke said.
“We urge the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government to review the RPPP funding guidelines, even if it is just for future rounds of this program and define more fairly for our community.”