Queensland Plan puts regional population growth back on the agenda

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has applauded the Newman Government’s move to encourage greater population growth in regions outside southeast Queensland.

More than 600 representatives met at a summit in Brisbane in October to consider over 78,000 submissions to The Queensland Plan and identify 10 key priorities for their 30-year vision for the state.

Premier Campbell Newman said there had been broad consensus among delegates about the overarching themes that should play a role in Queensland’s future, with priorities centred on education, infrastructure and innovation.

“In 30 years’ time, Queensland’s population will be heading past seven million. What has come out loud and clear from the summit is that Queenslanders want half of the population living outside the southeast corner.

“Queenslanders believe our regions should be boosted to support stronger, healthier communities and attract people who want to live, study and work in them.”

LGAQ Chief Executive Greg Hallam said the proposal to work towards balancing population growth to the regions reflected many of the recommendations in the LGAQ’s landmark 2010 report into the need for a formal state population policy.

That report, the product of an independent inquiry chaired by population expert Professor Peter McDonald, said there was strong support in the community for increasing the proportion of the population living outside southeast Queensland.

Mr Hallam said it was enormously pleasing to see that public consultation surrounding the development of the Queensland Plan had produced proposals similar to those outlined in the LGAQ report three years ago.

“We knew back then that the key challenge of growth management was to accommodate the number of people wanting to live in Queensland without compromising livability and affordability.

“You cannot achieve that outcome without a concerted effort to encourage more people to settle outside the southeast corner of the state.”

The LGAQ report said provision of quality infrastructure and services in regional centres was a vital element of any strategy to attract a greater proportion of population growth to locations outside southeast Queensland.

Mr Hallam said LGAQ was looking forward to working with the Government to progress any initiatives that emerged out of the Queensland Plan consultation process.

Work is set to commence straight away on the next stage of the plan, with a final version to be released in early 2014.