Strengthening Our Regions

This State Election, councils have a set of priorities that will create around 29,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in economic opportunities for all Queenslanders.

The State Government can help regions thrive by working with councils to ensure local economies are resilient and that critical infrastructure is built and maintained.

Local government is responsible for one third of public infrastructure supporting our cities and towns but has direct access to just three percent of national taxation revenue. Councils must be supported to provide and maintain essential infrastructure and facilitate regional economic diversification.

Evidence shows direct allocative funding to councils achieves rapid economic stimulus relevant to the unique requirements of local communities.

To ensure Queensland’s regions can rebuild from the impacts of COVID-19 and grow stronger into the future, local government asks all political parties contesting the 2020 State Election to guarantee:

  • $50 million per year for 4 years to continue a Building Our Regions or equivalent program that incorporates support for infrastructure planning and digital connectivity initiatives
  • $50 million per year for 4 years for tourism infrastructure funding accessible to councils
  • Increased TIDS funding to $80 million in 2021-2022 and to $100m by 2024
  • Rejection of mandatory, externally appointed development assessment panels
  • $2 million per year for 3 years for councilled planning innovation and improvement projects to drive leading practice in strategic land use planning and development assessment.
  • Statutory measures to require resource project proponents to compensate councils for their participation in Social Impact Assessments
  • A statewide data sharing system and code of conduct to support councils in managing the use of residential properties for short-term letting and its impact on local communities.
  • Review and improve Queensland’s infrastructure charging and planning framework to remove inequities that cost shift onto councils and the community.

Priority

$50 million per year for 4 years to continue a Building Our Regions or equivalent program that incorporates support for infrastructure planning and digital connectivity initiatives

Description

Funding pool to support regional economic development through:

  • Business case development and detailed design of projects deemed to align with State Government priorities
  • Infrastructure delivery
  • Specific support for digital connectivity and transformation initiatives

Benefits

Supports a pipeline of projects and infrastructure delivery that will support jobs and economic growth in line with State Government priorities

  • Ensures quality proposals from councils for investment
  • New infrastructure will support jobs, regional economic growth, and improved quality of life for Queensland communities
  • Digital connectivity and transformation initiatives will unlock currently constrained economic capacity

Jobs Economic Contribution
Direct 571.9 Direct $87.7M
Indirect 1,121.1 Indirect $178.6M
Total jobs over 4 Years 1,693.0 Total GRP over 4 Years ($M): $266.3M

Priority

$50 million per year for 4 years for tourism infrastructure funding accessible to councils

Description

Specific funding pool accessible to councils to plan and build new regional, outback and indigenous tourism products.

Benefits

  • Ensures a pipeline of quality tourism products to stimulate regional, rural, and remote economies and support communities
  • Increased certainty for planning and investment
  • Assist economic diversification in remote, rural, regional and First Nations communities
  • Boosts local economic activity and community resilience

Jobs Economic Contribution
Direct 379.9 Direct $86.1M
Indirect 1,088.5 Indirect $172.0M
Total jobs over 4 Years 1,468.4 Total GRP over 4 Years ($M): $258.1M

Priority

Increase TIDS funding to $80 million in 2021-2022 and to $100m by 2024

Description

Additional $60 million over three years for the established TIDS program that provides:

  • Construction works that enhance or add value to the road asset
  • Programmed maintenance and replacement of the road surface
  • Rehabilitation, restoration and replacement of pavements and bridges

Benefits

  • Ensures safer, more productive transport networks
  • Delivers road corridor and safety improvements across the network
  • Maintains delivery levels by acknowledging increases to council costs index
  • Sustains and supports local jobs, particularly in regional communities.

Jobs Economic Contribution
Direct 77.4 Direct $25.82M
Indirect 321.1 Indirect $50.54M
Total jobs over 4 Years 398.5 Total GRP over 4 Years ($M): $76.36M

Priority

Rejection of mandatory, externally appointed development assessment panels

Description

Commitment to respect local government autonomy in development decisions for their local communities.

Benefits

  • Ensures councils have autonomy and responsibility for development decisions in their local community while still allowing:
    • Councils to use their discretion to establish an independent planning panel to advise on certain development applications
    • Continue to use delegations to reduce the proportion of development applications decided by full council
  • Maintains existing council workforces in development assessment.

Jobs Economic Contribution
Direct 77.4 Direct $25.82M
Indirect 321.1 Indirect $50.54M
Total jobs over 4 Years 398.5 Total GRP over 4 Years ($M): $76.36M

Priority

$2 million per year for 3 years for council-led planning innovation and improvement projects to drive leading practice in strategic land use planning and development assessment.

Description

Development of new and improved ways to deliver planning and development services/outcomes and drive leading practice in strategic land use planning and development assessment.

Benefits

  • Better planning and development services to facilitate strong economic development and job creation
  • Promotes improved service delivery information access, community engagement and responsiveness of government to go “beyond business as usual” and work in collaboration to identify leverage leading practice
  • Encourages diversity of projects based on local needs and priorities

Jobs Economic Contribution
Direct 17.6 Direct $2.1M
Indirect 25.1 Indirect $4.1M
Total jobs over 4 Years 42.7 Total GRP over 4 Years ($M): $6.3M

Priority

Statutory measures to require resource project proponents to compensate councils for their participation in Social Impact Assessments

Description

Legislative or regulatory reform to require compensation for councils participating in Social Impact Assessments.

Benefits

  • Councils able to employ additional resources to absorb increased workload associated with participating in these processes.
  • Faster project approvals delivering job sooner
  • Impacts on delivery of day-to-day council services minimised

Priority

A state-wide data sharing system and code of conduct to support councils in managing the use of residential properties for short-term letting and its impact on local communities

Description

  • Develop a code of conduct, including information regarding fire safety standards, for hosts and guests of residential properties that are advertised for short-term letting
  • Obtain the agreement of online accommodation booking agencies to provide details regarding the location of residential properties that are advertised for short-term letting, to regulatory authorities
  • Establish a statewide data sharing system across the short-term accommodation sector, that is accessible by local government (this may include a registration system such as has occurred in other jurisdictions)

Benefits

  • Greater transparency regarding the location of residential properties used for short-term holiday letting to enable councils to manage local community impact more effectively
  • Greater consistency and transparency in relation to behaviour, conduct and compliance requirements for hosts and guests of residential properties used for short-term holiday letting
  • Local communities continue to benefit from the economic stimulus provided by short-term holiday letting, while protecting local amenity and housing affordability

Priority

Review and improve Queensland’s infrastructure charging and planning framework to remove inequities that cost shift onto councils and the community

Description

  • Work with local government and industry stakeholders to develop a fairer infrastructure charging regime that ensures infrastructure required to manage impacts of the development can be funded
  • Address issues facing councils regarding unpaid infrastructure charges from developers
  • Provide a clear and consistent methodology to capture and collect infrastructure charges from developers for projects that impact State infrastructure
  • Partner with local governments and or distributor-retailers (e.g. QUU) to develop alternatives to prevent the costs associated with development within Priority Development Areas (PDA) from being transferred to the local government and distributor-retailer customers
  • Streamline the process for making or amending a local government infrastructure plan
  • Clarify that councils can charge interest on unpaid infrastructure charges in accordance with section 133 of the Local Government Regulation 2012.
  • Update the State Infrastructure Plan with a prioritised list of projects to align with State Government growth targets and regional planning and local planning scheme time horizons to guide and inform local government infrastructure plans and provide an opportunity for the identification of key aspirational and transformational projects

Benefits

  • Reduces the funding gap for trunk infrastructure that currently exists under Queensland’s capped infrastructure charging regime – based on previous research the funding gap for trunk infrastructure across Queensland’s high growth local governments is estimated to be $481.9m annually, with the current capped maximum adopted charges only recovering an estimated 69.9% of the actual infrastructure costs.
  • Strengthens the financial sustainability of local government to provide and maintain trunk infrastructure for local communities (including in relation to unpaid infrastructure charges)
  • Reduces costs associated with State Government projects from being shifted to councils and the community
  • Creates greater alignment between State and local infrastructure planning