Investment is vital to economy
THE North Burnett Regional Council is in need of major transport infrastructure investment to ensure the economy remains viable.
A health check of the nation’s economy commissioned by the Australian Local Government Association found infrastructure investment remained a core regional issue across Australia.
The State of the Regions report analyses government debt, household wealth and the risk of inefficient infrastructure investment in regional Australia.
North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh said a heavy duty line was “the top of my wish list”.
“A heavy duty line from SouthWest Downs, through Mundubbera, Gayndah, Biggenden and into the Port of Bundaberg,” CrWaugh said.
“That would give access to iron ore, bauxite, cattle – every sort of produce.
“We could also have a line connecting Monto to the Port of Bundaberg too.
“We’ve got that corridor there so it’s all quite possible.
“It’s just a matter of funding.”
The report found that if regions had any hope of growing employment and real incomes, they must first grow their capital stock.
“What is required is a strategy which will increase transport infrastructure investment as a share of GDP to the pre-1998 benchmark of 2% over the next decade,” the report read.
“This will restore the ratio of transport infrastructure capital stock to GDP to 24% by 2023.”
ALGA president Felicity-Ann Lewis said the report reinforced calls for federal funding for natural disaster mitigation to $200 million over the next four years.
She said protecting communities from natural disasters was critical in reducing recovery costs.
In many regions hit by natural disasters, leading economist Dr Peter Brian found some may never be able to foot the damage bill.