Election 2017: councils go into bat for infrastructure, child literacy, reef protection
Focus on liveability and regional economies
Queensland’s 77 councils have produced a 10 point plan of policy priorities for the State’s next government, insisting that all parties contesting the election should commit to achieving real progress on infrastructure funding, child literacy and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.
Topping the list of priorities is a proposed $500 million baseline funding model for building local infrastructure such as roads and water supply services which puts local councils at the centre of decision making on how to provide for their communities.
The Local Government Association’s 10 Point Election Plan also includes calls for more money to be spent on protecting the Great Barrier Reef, a special program to support child literacy and a lasting and genuine program that ensures the State’s indigenous communities can reap the benefits of the digital economy.
LGAQ President Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said councils would use the election campaign to push all parties to commit to a range of funding proposals and policy changes aimed at improving the liveability of local communities and strengthening regional economies.
'Whoever wins this election needs to make a genuine commitment to supporting the drivers of Queensland’s regional economy, be they big employers like regional councils or natural assets underpinning our tourism industry like the Great Barrier Reef,' he said.
'Elections are when we get a chance to tell the major parties to get real about the promises they make and the LGAQ will be taking that chance over the course of this campaign.'
Mayor Jamieson said the LGAQ had given first priority to its call for a minimum of $500 million annually for an allocative, outcome focused program, building on the successful Works for Queensland model which puts councils at the centre of deciding which projects most readily meet the community’s needs and aspirations.
He said such a program would ensure councils remained ideal partners with the government of the day to deliver new jobs and maintain existing jobs across Queensland.
'As the level of government closest to the community, strong local employers and reliable drivers of regional economies right across the state, councils are best placed to deliver initiatives aimed at bolstering local jobs growth, designing smart cities, improving water and wastewater services and pursuing economic development opportunities,' he said.
'It is better for local communities and much more efficient for councils to have access to an ongoing source of funds for such projects.'
The plan also calls for councils to receive $44 million in funding for programs to better manage waste and natural resources, protect the Great Barrier Reef, adapt to climate change, and reduce the harm caused by weeds, pests and feral animals.
Other proposals include:
- $20 million over four years for the First 5 Forever Family Literacy Initiative delivered through public libraries
- $110 million to maintain State Government Financial Aid in real terms and other funding for indigenous councils, and
- A rejection of any move to introduce mandatory development assessment panels to maintain local government’s autonomy in urban planning.
The LGAQ 10 Point Election Plan can be found here http://bit.ly/201710PointPlan
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006