TIME TO CARE: Maranoa Regional Council Utilities Cr David Schefe is calling for more federal funding.
TIME TO CARE: Maranoa Regional Council Utilities Cr David Schefe is calling for more federal funding. James Liveris

Don't turn your back on us

MARANOA Regional councillor David Schefe has hit back at Federal Member David Littleproud, declaring that fixing Roma and surrounding area's dilapidated water infrastructure was the problem of all levels of government.

Roma and Surat residents have faced water shortage and water pressure issues in recent weeks due to outdated infrastructure that Cr Schefe has described as "at the end of its life”.

Cr Schefe said the council's annual $2 million spend on upgrades was not enough to keep up with constant maintenance and upgrades.

When Mr Littleproud was asked by the Western Star as to whether he would consider fighting for funding to upgrade the region's infrastructure, he said town water supply was a State Government responsibility.

Ahead of the federal election, Cr Schefe has reminded Mr Littleproud a small hand with easing the council's financial burden goes a long way. "The Local Government Association of Queensland has been lobbying the Federal Government to put the financial assistance grants back to where they were when they started,” he said. "They used to be set at one per cent of revenue and then under the Abbott Government they were frozen for three years.

"The net result is we now receive 0.55 per cent, so if it went back to the one per cent like the LGAQ is advocating then our share of that revenue in our region would go from $17 million to $31million and suddenly we are able to fund our own infrastructure upgrades without going cap in hand.”

LGAQ spokesman Craig Johnstone said the Federal Government shouldn't turn their backs on local councils.

"The Federal Government does it through financial assistant grants and they really need to not walk away from that responsibility,” Mr Johnstone said. "Council themselves only collect three per cent of all taxes in Australia but are responsible for 33 per cent of the public assets.

"There is a bit of an imbalance there and we are saying to the Federal Government something has got to give, the proportion of Federal Government assistance is decreasing but the demand for better infrastructure locally is not one that's going to go away.”


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