REVEALED: Southwest councils flag key issues ahead election
WITH the State Election approaching, local government leaders from across six southwest Queensland councils are on a mission to unlock diverse opportunities from their region and help drive the state’s growth through The Cornerstone of Opportunities.
With an eye on the road to sustainable economic growth, industry diversification and more jobs for Queenslanders, the South West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils has outlined a clear plan to unlock the ample opportunities to help its communities and those beyond its borders.
The SWQROC represents the six shires – Balonne, Bulloo, Maranoa, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie, heading by its chair, Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O’Toole and Deputy Chair Quilpie Mayor, Stuart Mackenzie.
Mayor O’Toole said the region was stepping out from its corner and into the political spotlight ahead of the State Election, calling on candidates from across government, the opposition and cross bench to look to those who know the region and its potential best.
“What we need now is long term government commitment to work with us to make it happen,” Cr O’Toole said.
“I’m hopeful the days of political rhetoric and false promises are over, and we can look forward to real vision, leadership and action.
“This is why we will be calling on the parties contesting the 2020 State Government Election to properly invest in the fundamentals that support industry growth, healthy and connected communities and natural resource and waste management.
“Our region has strong foundations in its traditional industries of oil, gas and agriculture that inject billions into the economy each year. But there’s so much more – our emerging industries of, renewable energy, agtech and education, carbon farming and tourism have the potential to add significantly to Queensland’s prosperity and create jobs for voters in southwest Queensland and beyond,” she said.
Mayor Mackenzie said the region had been fortunate to have remained COVID-19 free which was another reason why the government needed to look at new regionally based responses to support rural and remote communities.
“There is so much untapped potential right here. Our industries and communities haven’t stopped and are ready to rev into action,” Cr Mackenzie said.
“With the right investment there will be a strong, long term return – this really is the Cornerstone of Opportunities.
“While there have been some good initiatives and investment from other levels of government to tackle the impact of COVID-19, what we need is sustained, strategic investment where it’s needed most. And to do that, the government needs to listen to the people in the regions.
“That’s why we have come together to develop this strategy – a straightforward three point plan that all of our six member councils agree on to deliver benefits to our hardworking communities and the rest of Queensland.”