CITY LEAD­ERS GIVE THE NOD

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY an­thony. gal­loway@ news. com. au

TWO new schools, more fund­ing for re­gional coun­cils and more in­vest­ment in the Port of Townsville were wel­comed by the city’s lead­ers yesterday – but more money is needed for the re­gion’s key in­fra­struc­ture projects.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the State Bud­get’s dou­bling of the fund­ing for trans­port in­fra­struc­ture grants would ease the bur­den on ratepay­ers. Cr Hill also wel­comed the cre­ation of a $ 200 mil­lion re­gional in­fra­struc­ture grant for coun­cils in ru­ral and re­gional Queens­land, say­ing she would im­me­di­ately look to se­cure fund­ing to de­velop the Townsville State De­vel­op­ment Area at Stu­art.

“There’s a cou­ple of projects we’re look­ing at with staff to see if we can se­cure some of that fund­ing,” she said.

“The State Gov­ern­ment has also pro­vided fund­ing for two new schools in the city’s north­ern cor­ri­dor, and that’s been some­thing that has been called for for quite some time and it’s good to see that is be­ing de­liv­ered.”

Townsville Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Stephen Motti said he wel­comed the for­ma­tion of a Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Fund to stim­u­late emerg­ing in­dus­tries, but the test would be whether it was evenly spread to the re­gions.

“We know all lev­els of gov­ern­ment are gen­uinely look­ing at re­gion­al­i­sa­tion and we would like to en­sure funds are dis­trib­uted equally,” he said.

Townsville En­ter­prise chief ex­ec­u­tive Pa­tri­cia O’Cal­laghan said the $ 19 mil­lion al­lo­cated for berth 4 at the Port of Townsville would im­prove gen­eral cargo growth and ce­ment the port’s rep­u­ta­tion as the largest multi- cargo port in North­ern Aus­tralia.

“It is pos­i­tive to see $ 13.7 mil­lion com­mit­ted to a re­new­able energy power sta­tion on Palm Is­land,” she said.

“This re­gion pays the sec­ond high­est elec­tric­ity costs in the coun­try, sec­ond only to the Pil­bara. We would hope to see pol­icy com­mit­ments from the Gov­ern­ment to ad­dress high energy costs.’’

Ms O’Cal­laghan also wel­comed the Gov­ern­ment’s elec­tion com­mit­ment of $ 100 mil­lion for the CBD sta­dium but said the Gov­ern­ment needed to con­sider redi­rect­ing any fund­ing com­mit­ted to 1300SMILES Sta­dium to the pro­ject.

“We would welcome any ad­di­tional State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing for this pro­ject which will be the cat­alytic pro­ject in trans­form­ing this city,” she said.

Re­gional economist Colin Dwyer said the Townsville re­gion re­ceived cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture com­men­su­rate with its pop­u­la­tion and eco­nomic out­put.

“Our re­gion’s cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture pro­gram was about 5.2 per cent. Mount Isa got around 7 per cent and Cairns gets less than 4 per cent,” Mr Dwyer said.

Mayor Jenny Hill.

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