DEPUTY PREMIER: Jeff Seeney.
DEPUTY PREMIER: Jeff Seeney.

Does Gladstone get enough Royalties for Regions funding?

IS Gladstone getting its fair share of Royalties for Regions funding? Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Gladstone council CEO Stuart Randle outline their arguments.

Royalties for Regions funding hampered by debt Labor left 

JEFF Seeney says: Queenslanders have not had a State Government committed to delivering critical infrastructure and services in rural and regional areas for almost 20 years.

There is no clearer demonstration of that commitment than the State Government's Royalties for the Regions program.

It funds projects that are identified by regional councils as being vital to their communities and projects that are unlikely to be funded through other sources.

It's important to remember that Royalties for the Regions is one of the many State Government funding streams used to support the Gladstone area and regional Queensland more broadly.

The 2013-14 Regional Budget Statement shows that more than $284 million was given to the Gladstone and Fitzroy region, with $143.4 million going to supporting local government flood recovery efforts.

In Gladstone specifically, over $50 million was given to upgrade the RG Tanna Coal Terminal and $282 million to build the new Tug Harbour facility.

Over $9.2 million of the budget has been used for Great Barrier Reef protection plans and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Marine Parks Field Management Program.

The State Government has a strong record of supporting Gladstone and the greater Fitzroy area.

With round three of the Royalties for Region funding just launched, I understand the compulsion for some mayors to ramp up political pressure on the State Government to demonstrate their effectiveness to ratepayers.

Would I like to see more Royalties for the Regions funding available? Of course I would, but the reality is we inherited Labor's $80 billion black cloud of debt.

This deficit means the government has to pay $4 billion annually in interest payments, rather than being able to fund infrastructure and front-line services for families.

While the Report on State Finances released a few weeks ago shows our government has brought expenses under control and set a path to reducing debt and restoring accountability in government, we have to remember, that we're still in the red.

With round three of the Royalties for Region funding just launched, I understand the compulsion for some mayors to ramp up political pressure on the State Government to demonstrate their effectiveness to ratepayers.

I suggest however that time could be better spent by focusing efforts on preparing submissions for round three funding.

Staff of my department stand ready to assist councils to submit bids for the $130 million on offer and I encourage the Gladstone Regional Council to make contact with them in preparing fresh submissions.

We need more funding, council chief says

STUART Randle says: The capping of infrastructure charges in 2011 by the previous State Government means that local communities are forced to subsidise the development of new residential, commercial and industrial property.

High-growth regions are disadvantaged the most, and the ratepayers of the Gladstone region have contributed in the order of $15 million in development subsidies in that time.

COUNCIL CEO: Stuart Randle.
COUNCIL CEO: Stuart Randle. Contributed

This money would otherwise have been used to build local community infrastructure.

In order to offset this loss of revenue, high-growth councils around the state have had to carefully reconsider the way they operate, including how they access funds through other sources.

It is a matter of public record that the Gladstone Regional Council has been largely unsuccessful in applying for external funding for local community infrastructure.

Applications for successive rounds of the Federal Government's Regional Development Australia program, State Government's Royalties for the Regions and LNG funds through the Gladstone Foundation have all been unsuccessful.

While council is appreciative of recent allocations from the State Government for important Main Roads projects like the Kin Kora roundabout redevelopment, these unfortunately do nothing to ease the burden on ratepayers in funding local community infrastructure.

The Gladstone region will continue to grow strongly and will play a part in achieving the State Government's aspiration of having half of the state's population living outside of south-east Queensland, but to do so will require ongoing investment in the community.

Gladstone Regional Council will continue to pursue every funding opportunity in the hope that a share of the royalties and tax revenue generated in the region are returned to the community for the purposes of building local community infrastructure.

This will help retain skilled workforces and maintain liveability across the region.

Do you think Gladstone gets enough Royalties for Regions funding?

This poll ended on 17 January 2014.

Current Results

Yes. It's a big state and there are a lot of councils that need a slice of the pie

12%

No. The state gets a lot of revenue from here but doesn't give enough back

87%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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