14 June, 2024

We need more cash

Both Moreton Bay and Somerset councils say they are in desperate need of more government infrastrcture funding to support their growing regions.

We need more cash - feature photo

Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery publicly criticised the recent Federal Budget for its lack of support for the growing city.

Member for Longman, Terry Young, echoed Cr Flannery’s sentiments, stating that “all levels of government need to play their part in ensuring the needs of the people we were elected to serve are met”.

“We must be more proactive in building the infrastructure before things become an issue. When the coalition was in government, we excelled in working with local governments in a meaningful way.”

Somerset Mayor, Jason Wendt, also expressed disappointment, particularly over the lack of a funding increase for the Financial Assistance Grants for local governments and the discontinuation of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.

Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, defended the Federal Budget, asserting that it delivers for Blair and supports Somerset Council.

He encouraged Somerset Regional Council to apply for funding under local road and community infrastructure programs, pledging to support any applications.

“When it comes to Financial Assistance Grants, the Government acknowledges the changing service demands on councils and is committed to providing fair and appropriate funding to support them in the essential work they do,” Mr Neumann said.

He highlighted the increased ‘Roads to Recovery’ funding, which will bring a total of $132.2m to councils in the Blair electorate, including Somerset.

Mr Neumann said a $177m improvement of the Warrego Highway, including upgrades for the Mt Crosby Rd interchange and strengthening of the Bremer River Bridge, as beneficial to Somerset.

Cr Flannery was also critical of foresight for the City of Moreton Bay, given the city’s rapid growth.

“City of Moreton Bay has a critical need for new infrastructure that will unlock land for housing,” he 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.”

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

Cr Wendt echoed Cr Flannery’s disappointment.

“Financial assistance grants were 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 1996, but they will only be around 0.51 percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 2025,” he said.

“Meanwhile, councils maintain 75 percent of Australia’s local roads.”

Despite his disappointment, Cr Wendt acknowledged some wins, including an approximately 30 percent increase in the competitive road funding pool and Somerset’s eligibility for the ‘Thriving Suburbs’ program.

Cr Wendt noted that this program will give the Council the opportunity to apply for 70 percent funding for two community or recreation projects.

He said it was positive that the competitive road funding pool was increased by around a third, highlighting Somerset’s past success with competitive road and bridge applications.

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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