Rockhampton is PM's prime pick for future City Deal
ROCKHAMPTON could become the next location to sign off on a City Deal, which would see all levels of government work together to create a coordinated investment plan for the region.
The lucrative partnerships have delivered major projects for the cities already involved, including a stadium for Townsville and the $260 million relocation and redevelopment of the University of Tasmania's main Launceston campus.
Speaking exclusively to The Morning Bulletin during his visit to the city yesterday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggested the Beef Capital was a prime location for the partnership agreement.
He spoke about the city's potential on the day the Regions 2030 vision to invest in regional Australia was unveiled in Broken Hill.
And Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow is on board, having already sent a preliminary proposal to the State Government.
"The Commonwealth has been historically, in large part, an ATM for State Governments and Local Governments on infrastructure,” Mr Turnbull said.
"We've got to be more of an intelligent and engaged co-investor and partner and make sure what we're doing on infrastructure and every other area of our activities is coordinated with the state and the city in the case of a City Deal, or it could be a Regional Deal of course, to make sure we're all pulling in the same direction.
"I would like to see similar deals done with all of the major regional cities, and indeed regions.
"It has suited I think everyone's convenience to some extent for Canberra to be this ATM, but we've got to make the dollars work harder.
"There is no reason why we could not do a similar deal with Rockhampton, but it might broaden out to the region.”
A City or Regional Deal would be a Fair Go for CQ win and would see all three levels of government working in partnership to create a plan and implementation strategy over several years.
In Townsville, there's a 15-year commitment.
Mr Turnbull said it allowed each level of government to hone in on specific projects and see them come to fruition.
"It enables each side to put some encouragement on the other levels of government.”
Cr Strelow yesterday told The Morning Bulletin council would "absolutely” commit with a City Deal.
It's a possibility Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne has raised with her, suggesting the State Government would also be on-board.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry has also discussed the issue with Cr Strelow at length.
In fact, the council has already investigated possible elements which could be included in a City Deal, with Cr Strelow saying they wouldn't come to the negotiating table cold.
"Is it a case of great minds thinking alike?” Cr Strelow said.
"Or perhaps it is just a logical extension of a program that has had us all green with envy.
"When we first enquired about a Cities Deal six to eight months ago the process had not yet been established for an extension of the plan.
"More recently the Prime Minister's website talked about dealing directly with State Governments and so we wrote in April to enquire about a direction forward.
"The Prime Minister's comments marry beautifully with approaches already made by both our Federal Member Michelle Landry and our State Member Bill Byrne.
"To hear that the Prime Minister is keen is very, very encouraging.”