Councils discuss plans for regional development
NEW water infrastructure to support agriculture and upgrading facilities at Rockhampton Airport were top of Livingstone Shire Council's agenda at the Central Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils meeting in Yeppoon on Friday.
Mayors, councillors and senior staff from Rockhampton, Gladstone, Central Highlands, Banana Shire, Woorabinda and Livingstone councils gathered at the meeting, joined by state and federal politicians, representatives from State and Federal Government agencies, industry and tourism organisations.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga officially opened the conference on behalf of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said Livingstone Shire was delighted to host the event and welcomed representatives from all the central Queensland councils to our beautiful shire.
"Each council represented shares the vision of a brighter future for central Queensland and it's only by working together that we will achieve the economic and social growth we want to see in our region," CrLudwig said.
Keynote speaker Senator Ian MacDonald presented on the role central Queensland could play in realising the vision outlined plan for northern Australia.
"The Federal Government's northern Australia plan includes an initial investment of $1.2billion," Cr Ludwig said.
"In addition, there is a $5billion northern Australia infrastructure facility that provides concessional finance for infrastructure projects, including private sector investment partnerships."
Also up for discussion was the importance of the proposed construction of the Rookwood and Eden Bann weirs to provide an additional 112,000ML of water supply for both industry and agriculture.
"Agriculture is worth tens of millions of dollars to our local economy and this new water infrastructure would drive growth in this sector to create jobs and increase economic activity," CrLudwig said.
"Upgrading of facilities (including elements such as cold storage facilities) and licensing of Rockhampton Airport to full international status would also increase direct market access for international product and tourist visitation."
Other speakers also provided significant insights on the region's economic future.
Steve Johnston, Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning acting director, talked about local government reform, while Anna Stunzner, project officer for Regional Development Australia Fitzroy and Central West, discussed new water infrastructure to support agriculture.
Jack Archer, Regional Australia Institute chief executive officer, spoke about regional leadership and collaboration, and John Williams, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, presented on digital economy strategies.