South East Queensland (SEQ) local government leaders today used World Population Day to advise candidates in the upcoming Federal Election that they will need to make fixing congestion bottlenecks a priority in any campaign aimed at winning the hearts and minds of SEQ residents.
Council of Mayors (SEQ) Deputy Chair and Scenic Rim Mayor John Brent said the need for additional infrastructure capacity was increasing in SEQ.
“The historic lack of infrastructure investment by all levels of government needs to be remedied now,” Cr Brent said.
“With a Federal Election just around the corner, now is when SEQ residents should consider which candidates will help plug the major infrastructure gaps already impacting on the fastest growing region in Australia.
“Population growth is a major driver of the need to invest in infrastructure. And SEQ is where about 75% of Queensland’s growth is taking place.
“SEQ has experienced consistently stronger population growth than other major capital city metropolitan areas throughout Australia,” he said.
Cr Brent said people attending this year’s population summits heard that Queensland was growing by about 2,100 new residents every week, the equivalent of a city the size of Darwin every year.
“Fitting the entire population of Darwin into Queensland every year, and most of it in SEQ, places a big demand on existing infrastructure. The infrastructure commitment from the Commonwealth for SEQ should match population growth – past, present and future.”
Cr Brent said because the Federal Government took the lion’s share of tax from SEQ road users, it should do more to get SEQ moving.
“There is a real need for the Federal Government to at least match State and Local Government spending on transport infrastructure,” he said.
Compared with other States and Territories, the Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC) this year found Queensland needed more infrastructure (per capita) to deliver the average level of service and, as a result, the state’s infrastructure had above average depreciation costs.
Queensland also had higher costs to provide infrastructure.
Cr Brent said the Council of Mayors (SEQ) would next week begin a campaign aimed at making SEQ infrastructure the biggest issue for local candidates wanting to contest the 2010 Federal Election.