Coast's 30-minute city dream closer to reality
A NEED to better design cities has helped drive a commitment to a pipeline of major projects enabling strategic population growth across the Sunshine Coast and Southeast Queensland.
The Federal Government has confirmed it will begin negotiations on a Southeast Queensland City Deal which was tipped to become the nation's richest deal.
The announcement was hailed by Coast leaders, as the foundations were laid for a 10-20 year, bipartisan plan for major infrastructure and economic progress.
"It's a great outcome," Fisher MP Andrew Wallace said.
There was hope that the touted deal, which would be the ninth City Deal struck by the Federal Government, would elevate the region's infrastructure needs out of the sphere of political footballing and into a solid, reliable plan to be rolled out in sequence.
"This is really about the future of the fastest-growing part of Australia," Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said.
Cr Jamieson said the Council of Mayors South East Queensland had worked for the past five years to identify the Southeast's needs and develop a major investment blueprint for the state and federal governments to follow.
Negotiations will now begin on the deal with Council of Mayors representatives in Canberra this week to present the blueprint.
Major public transport upgrades form the bedrock of the plan, with a desire to enable people to get to Brisbane within 45 minutes from any city in the Southeast and across the same city within 30 minutes.
Consultants KPMG found in their economic modelling the plan would deliver a $58 billion boost over the next 25 years.
Cities Minister Alan Tudge said the three core priorities of the plan were "infrastructure, employment, liveability" when announcing the negotiations.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad had also been invited to the discussions and she said the release of the TransformingSEQ proposal was an important step in securing a City Deal.
Ms Trad welcomed the Federal Government indicating its support, but urged the deal needed to be finalised.
She also noted the federal opposition reaffirmed its commitment made a few months ago to the deal.
"As this region grows beyond five million residents over the next 25 years, the challenges of accommodating growth in SEQ, while maintaining liveability, requires long-term planning and investment," Ms Trad said.
"This will mean working in partnership across governments - something an SEQ City Deal is uniquely placed to deliver."
Mr Tudge was unable to confirm how much funding would be committed yet, but hinted it was likely to a significant investment.
He said the deal could take months to finalise, and couldn't say whether it would be finalised before a federal election.
Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien said the City Deal announcement was not a campaign issue, as an election was still yet to be called.
"This is certainly not a campaign issue," Mr O'Brien said.
"This is a major milestone negotiated by three tiers of government."
He said to-date he'd seen "nothing but goodwill" from all three tiers of government in relation to the City Deal.
He said it was a huge opportunity for the region to "get ahead" of the population curve.
"We don't want big growth, we want smart growth," he said.
Cr Jamieson echoed those sentiments and said the mass movement of people around Southeast Queensland remained the biggest priority.
Mr Wallace said the blueprint needed to be strategic.
"We really need to plan our population and our cities better than what we do," he said.
Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford hailed the agreement to deliver a City Deal for the Southeast, praising the more coordinated approach to land-use planning and plans to open up under-utilised government land for development.