By Matilda Butler
The Council of Mayors South East Queensland has launched its new project, “Give a Beep”, at Breakfast Creek where it displayed a new campaign billboard which is set to travel across Queenland’s south-east.
In a united front, mayors representing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan and Redland City Councils and Lockyer Valley, Moreton Bay, Scenic Rim, Toowoomba, Somerset and Sunshine Coast Regional Councils are calling on all sides of the Federal election to improve the state’s infrastructure and transport.
The month-long campaign is set up to target the Federal Government and Opposition in advance of the September election.
South-east Queensland is one of Australia’s fastest growing areas, representing one fifth of the nation’s economic growth, and the Council of Mayors is looking to the Federal Government for support.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the Council of Mayors represents one in seven Australians and is working collectively to provide the region with its infrastructure needs.
He said this campaign is a plea on behalf of the 11 mayors to get south-east Queensland a “fair share” of federal funding.
“This campaign, Give a Beep, is about saying we do give a damn about the infrastructure needs in south-east Queensland,” he said.
“You’ve got things like the Bruce Highway, the Cunningham Highway and the Pacific Motorway upgrade.
“We’re calling all south-east Queenslanders to get behind this campaign and to make a difference for our part of the nation.”
The total number of transport and infrastructure projects amount to 36 across all south-east Queensland regions.
The Council of Mayors said the realisation of these projects rests on the Federal Government, which collects 80 per cent of the state’s taxes, leaving local government with 4 per cent and State Government with 16 per cent.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said the State Government is working towards infrastructure but cannot provide the necessary funding to get the job done.
“The Federal Goverment has the purse-strings to Australia and it’s about time they stop using the excuse that there’s no money,” he said.
“This campaign, Give a Beep is just a warning shot.”
City of Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says the development and establishment of infrastrucutre in the West has been overlooked.
“We are so desperate for a Toowoomba by-pass. There is so much happening west of us, the freight task is enormous,” he said.
“Between 40 and 50 per cent of what goes out of the Port of Brisbane goes down the Toowoomba Range and that’s critical.
“There’s been a failure to recognise its importance.”
Estimated costs start with the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, requiring a $1.33 billion investment from the Commonwealth Government.
Cr Antonio said the high costs are a result of putting off the needs of the region.
“The problem is that it has been let go, infrastructure has always been secondary,” he said.
“The (Federal) Government has always found money for getting re-elected rather than what’s important for the country.”
In order to recieve Federal funding for south-east Queensland’s infrastructure and transport needs, the Council of Mayors is calling upon the support of individuals in the region.
Cr Pisasale says opportunities for funding must be explored in every possible avenue.
“This country is desperate for infrastructure,” he said.
“It’s about growth, it’s about jobs, it’s about wealth.”
The Give a Beep billboard will be travelling to different regions in south-east Queensland, aiming to encourage communities to show their support by “giving a beep” and registering their support at giveabeep.com.au.
For a list of infrastructure priorities click here.