Regions receive $9.5 mil

Southeast Queensland Mayors with Deputy Premier and Treasurer Cameron Dick at Parliament House on Wednesday, 22 May. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions will receive a combined $9.46 million for critical infrastructure, housing, disaster resilience and community through the State Government’s South East Queensland Community Stimulus Program (SEQCSP).

The $100 million funding for SEQ councils was announced on Wednesday, 22 May by the State Government and coincided with the SEQ Council of Mayors delegation to parliament.

Twelve mayors including Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan and Somerset Regional Council Mayor Jason Wendt spoke with the government and opposition, calling for urgent infrastructure funding to respond to rapid population growth and the housing crisis.

Cr Milligan welcomed the $4.77 million allocated to the Lockyer, an increase of $740,000 from the 2021-24 SEQCSP.

She said specific projects were yet to be determined, with a 5 July 2024 deadline to nominate projects..

“The funding issued during the 2021-24 phase was used to renew our stormwater, culvert, floodway and kerb and channel infrastructure, helping to protect the community against the impacts of floods,” Cr Milligan said.

“It was also allocated to new footpaths, cemetery upgrades, bore infrastructure improvements, new flood cameras, the Twidale Road upgrade and Cell 5 construction at the Gatton Landfill.”

Somerset will receive $4.69 million in once-off allocated funding under the SEQCSP.

Cr Wendt said Somerset and neighbouring councils called on the State Government to alleviate the pressures on housing by backing investment in infrastructure that unlocks development land.

“This does not just mean improving local government infrastructure but also improving and making state infrastructure like the Brisbane Valley Highway safer,” he said.

“The State also needs to step up and help fund the security of water supply to farmers in Somerset and the Lockyer Valley to ensure that there is food security for SEQ’s growing population.”

SRC CEO Andrew Johnson said a large portion of the funding required competitive grant applications.

“This means that Somerset Regional Council will need to compete against larger councils like Brisbane and the Gold Coast for around 22% of the funding,” Mr Johnson said.

“Somerset welcomes the Premier’s announcement of $100 million in total once-off infrastructure funding for all 12 SEQ councils; however this is a small down-payment compared to what is needed for SEQ to cope with an additional two million people over the next two decades.

“For example, Somerset is economically dependent on the Brisbane Valley Highway, a majority one-star safety-rated road that carries up to 11,000 vehicles per day… the condition of this highway is more than deplorable.”

Cr Wendt said SRC would work hard to win competitive funding.

“Council is also aware that the SEQCSP is only funded until 2027,” he said.

“I have requested, along with other mayors, for this program to be permanently funded.”

Cr Milligan thanked the State Government for the SEQCSP, but said far more investment was needed to provide the long-term infrastructure the Lockyer Valley needed.

“The SEQ Mayors and I held positive discussions with both sides of government during our two-day delegation to Queensland Parliament… giving them an insight into the major growth challenges councils and our communities are facing,” she said.

“We walked away with commitments for greater collaboration, which I am optimistic will come to fruition.”