Springborg pledges $495m investment in regions

aa4b532ce6da9493335bf553fb7c8136The State Opposition says if elected it would reinstate its $495 million Royalties for Regions program to help cities like Townsville get a “fair go” for infrastructure funding.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg made the “first major announcement” since the Palaszczuk Government was elected while addressing LNP supporters at this weeks Latitudes North conference as reported by the Townsville Bulletin.

Mr Springborg was flanked by nine other shadow minsters and federal colleagues, including Herbert MP Ewen Jones and North Australia Minster Josh Frydenberg, throughout the three-day event.

Mr Springborg said the State Government had replaced the LNP’s $495 million Royalties for Regions initiative with a “smaller, shorter and narrower program”, highlighting a “lack of commitment” to regional development.

“In Townsville, $220 million less was spent in the Labor Party’s first budget for infrastructure than under the LNP and this is not good enough and this is not a fair go for North Queensland,” he said.

“This would make sure there is a real chance to be able to kickstart major investment across northern and the rest of regional Queensland.” To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Queensland farmers can’t afford to grow crops

cane growing regionsMP Shane Knuth to sponsor private members bill to slash regional electricity bills to support struggling farmers.

A PRIVATE members bill to slash regional electricity bills by a third is being prepared by a north Queensland MP as farmers complain they are being priced out of growing crops.

Industry group Canegrowers says sugarcane farmers cannot afford to turn on their irrigation pumps.

“Mackay growers are only operating at 45 per cent of their water allocation because they can’t afford the electricity to pump the water,’’ Debra Burden, general manager of the group’s Burdekin region, said.

Canegrowers has joined with the Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group and general consumers to launch Arc Up, a campaign to demand a reduction in power prices in the Ergon Energy area, which covers customers outside southeast Queensland.

They claim up to 8000 jobs could be lost among sugar and cotton farmers without action to ease the financial burden.

Katter’s Australian Party MP Shane Knuth is backing the push and says he will sponsor a private members bill to be introduced this month demanding the Palaszczuk Government immediately move to reduce prices by 33 per cent.

The Bill will also call for the establishment of a new price structure to ensure affordable long-term prices.

The regulated price is set by the Queensland Competition Authority but Mr Knuth said that as shareholder, the State Government could order Ergon to reduce its prices. To read more click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

RDA Committees plan for the future of Queensland roads

qld roads rda1RDA Townsville and North West Queensland (RDA TNWQ) are playing a lead role in facilitating the development of the Inland Queensland Roads Action Plan (IQ-RAP).

IQ-RAP is the first of its type in Australia, which has been developed through a collaboration of 47 funding partners, including several RDA committees.

RDA TNWQ first considered the concept of such a plan, after the success of the Bruce Highway Action Plan in securing funding commitments from the Australian and Queensland governments.

In December 2013, RDA TNWQ engaged with other RDAs in central, north and south west Queensland and held a forum in Longreach, where the Interim Working Group was formed and RDA TNWQ took on the role of Secretariat.

The other RDA committees involved are Far North Queensland and Torres Strait, Darling Downs South West, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday and Fitzroy and Central West.

IQ-RAP Secretariat and RDA TNWQ Chief Executive Officer Glenys Schuntner said there was an opportunity for achieving regional economic development outcomes through greater investment on inland roads through greater cross-regional collaboration.

“Common goals to create jobs, develop and sustain our regional communities, improve productivity for all industries and businesses and safety for all using the inland Queensland road network, have resulted in a strategic alliance of RDA committees, 33 councils, eight Regional Roads and Transport Groups and RACQ,” Ms Schuntner said.

IQ-RAP Working Group Chair Cr Peter Maguire said the plan identifies the road network and prioritises upgrades over the next 18 years. Click here to read more.


Time for the ‘green tape’ debate to mature: jobs and the environment are not implacable foes

Originally Published by The Conversation 25 August 2015, Allan Dale.

The highly charged debate over the proposed Carmichael coal mine, which culminated in Attorney-General George Brandis’s decision last week to propose winding back environmental legal protections, has exposed the simmering tension between “jobs” and “the environment” on Australia’s political landscape.

On one hand, those seeking to invest in the development of Australia’s natural resources and jobs growth have been making a clear case that Australia’s system of assessment and approval for major projects is riddled with procedural uncertainty.

Tinkering with the law is likely to entrench positions on both sides of the ‘green tape’ debate. AAP Image/Supplied

Tinkering with the law is likely to entrench positions on both sides of the ‘green tape’ debate. AAP Image/Supplied

On the other, environmental advocates and local communities feel that the current system does not adequately protect the environment – correctly pointing out Australia’s less than stellar record in preventing species from going extinct.

As a nation, however, we need to lift our game on both fronts.

Investors in the Australian economy and those seeking jobs and growth need certainty with regard to where and how they invest.

Equally, to avoid warfare (or “lawfare”) on a project-by-project basis, Australia’s environmental advocates and local communities need certainty too. They need clarity about where and how economic development can occur without harming our environmental heritage.

View the full article here.

Queensland Plan: strengthening Queensland regional areas

One of the top 5 priorities for Queensland according to The Queensland Plan is strengthening Queensland regional areas. Minister responsible for The Queensland Plan is The Honourable Andrew Powell MP, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection.

Creating a stronger sense of community cohesion and strengthening Queensland’s economy are the top two priorities across Queensland according to analysis of contributions to inform the development of The Queensland Plan, a 30-year vision for the state. Queenslanders also prioritised community health and well-being, balancing the economy with the environment and strengthening our regions as the top focus areas into the future. The Queensland Plan will be delivered by the end of the year.

Queensland Regional Areas

Queensland Map - strengthening regional areas

Queensland Map – strengthening regional areas

From the Far North Queensland the Region specific themes in a Colmar Brunton research report stated tha the top two key areas of focus for Far North Queensland residents aligned with total Queensland; community cohesion and to strengthen Queensland’s economy. However, the region placed a significantly stronger emphasis on balancing economic priorities with the environment:
1. Community cohesion – 86% (#1)
2. Strengthen Queensland’s economy – 85% (#2)
3. Balance economic priority with the environment – 73% (#4)
4. Foster community health and well-being – 71% (#3)
5. Strengthen our regions – 70% (#5).

Two specific sub areas of focus stood out for the Far North Queensland region:
1. Environmental sustainability; and
2. Being responsible for your own actions.

According to residents of Far North Queensland, environmental sustainability encompassed the conservation and protection of the environment and the provision of sustainable solutions. These residents had significantly higher levels of agreement with the conservation of water, produce and land (30%), the protection of wildlife, green corridors and the natural environment (27%) and the development of sustainable solutions including solar power (26%) as compared to total Queensland.
Being responsible for your own actions incorporated two generational groups – children and adults. Far North Queensland residents made significantly more mentions than total Queensland in support of cocooning children less to real world issues and to increase discipline (22%), as well as for people to take responsibility for their health and be charged for medical services they require (21%).

Providing education at all levels including school, home and the community to build pride (49%), diversifying the economy and industries (24%), investing in small towns and regions (22%) and emphasising the need for a common community vision for residents to ‘buy into’ (16%) were responses that had significantly higher levels of mentions than in total Queensland. Read More about the Queensland Plan.  

We would love to hear from you about strengthening regional areas at an Australian Regional Development Conference.

Call for papers – Authors or organisations interested in submitting a paper or presenting a workshop are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the aims, contents and conclusions of their paper or presentation; or about their intended role in a workshop.

Australian Regional Development Conference

15-16 October 2014, The Commercial Club Albury Secretariat: (T) 61 7 5502 2068 (F) 07 5527 3298 Email: secretariat@regionaldevelopment.org.au URL: www.regionaldevelopment.org.au