A Queensland regional council has put the State Government on notice that it needs to do more to look after resource communities.
Isaac Regional Council is heading a push for a review of how government funding is arranged for regional communities that host large fly-in fly-out populations and will take its case to a Local Government Association of Queensland meeting in Brisbane this week.
Mayor Anne Baker said present funding methodologies did not factor in non-resident populations, such as fly-in fly-out workers, and change was needed to recognise both the resident and serviced populations in regional communities.
She said the State Government needed to acknowledge the additional strain on government services and facilities in regional and remote communities created by large non-resident populations.
“Present funding models place affected communities in a position of greater disadvantage and this needs to be addressed if we want sustainable regional resource communities,” Cr Baker (pictured) said.
“This is fundamentally an issue of fairness and equity.
“In Isaac, we pride ourselves on being a region driven by pure people power and, this week, we are bringing that message to the LGAQ conference.
“We want to capitalise on the people power created by a collective voice speaking for all local councils.”
The council is also calling on the Government to engage more closely with local councils before altering the eligibility criteria for future funding under the Building our Regions program.
“The BoR program is funded, in part, by royalties generated from the resource sector,” Cr Baker said.
“Mines in the Isaac region contribute $1.5 billion in royalties to the state, so this is about returning a portion of these revenues to provide important infrastructure for industry and the resource communities which support the sector.”
“As a result of changes to BoR eligibility criteria, made with limited consultation with affected councils, the Isaac region has been unable to obtain funding assistance for important projects which are required as a direct result of increased activity in the mining sector.”