As the nation prepares for the release of the Turnbull Government’s 2017-18 Federal Budget, the region’s Mayors are expecting to see some firm financial commitments to a number of SEQ priorities in tomorrow’s announcement.
An SEQ City Deal, upgrades to the Pacific and Ipswich motorways, and progress on the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project were highlighted as key priorities for the region during a Mayoral delegation to Canberra in March.
Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chair Cr Graham Quirk said the region’s Mayors welcomed the positive discussions that have taken place with the Commonwealth to date, but tomorrow’s announcement was the time for the Federal Government to outline its intentions.
“The SEQ Mayors have been lobbying hard and have had some wins on a number of regional priorities, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on the budget announcement to ensure those commitments come through for the communities of SEQ,’ said Cr Quirk.
“Significant funding for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project is anticipated, and we’d like to see that allocated to the Queensland section of the route. However, we’re keen to see any part of this project funded in the 2017-18 budget.
“We expect to see a follow through on the Commonwealth’s commitment to upgrade some of the region’s major arterials, including the long-awaited works on the Pacific Motorway/Gateway Motorway merge and the Darra to Rocklea stretch of the Ipswich Motorway.
“The SEQ Mayors are also confident of a commitment to an SEQ City Deal in the coming months, in partnership with the Queensland Government. While this may not be a part of this budget announcement, an SEQ City Deal would revolutionise the way the region’s infrastructure is funded.
“An SEQ City Deal would establish an agreement between the three tiers of government to develop a long term infrastructure funding and delivery pipeline for the region. It would mean the days of waiting on the Federal Budget announcement would be over for SEQ,” said Cr Quirk.
A City Deal is an agreement between three tiers of government to prioritise and jointly invest in major infrastructure based on its anticipated economic benefit. The additional tax revenue generated by these projects is then reinvested to fund future infrastructure.
South East Queensland is the most advanced region in the nation in the investigation of the City Deal funding model, recently completing the Gateway 1 project with the Queensland Government and Property Council of Australia (Qld) to define the scope, framework and proposed outcomes of an SEQ City Deal.
The Council of Mayors’ (SEQ) 2017 Federal advocacy document, Smart, Sustainable and Safe: South East Queensland’s Collaborative Future, can be viewed at seqmayors.qld.gov.au.