Labor’s Brisbane Bias: SEQ Liveability Fund Leaves FNQ Empty-Handed
The Queensland Government has allocated over $285 million to fund community projects in the booming south-east corner of the state, as part of the SEQ City Deal. This announcement has raised concerns about the lack of investment in other regions, particularly in Far North Queensland (FNQ).
The SEQ Liveability Fund, a key component of the $1.8 billion City Deal, aims to create healthier, more inclusive, and connected communities. Local governments in the south-east corner can apply for funding for various projects, including parks, infrastructure, and sporting facilities. The fund also aims to support local businesses, jobs, and opportunities for First Nations people.
While this investment is expected to benefit more than three million residents in South East Queensland, it has sparked criticisms of a Brisbane bias. The lack of funding for FNQ, which has historically been neglected in terms of infrastructure and economic development, has become a contentious issue. Critics argue that the government’s focus on Brisbane and the south-east corner ignores the needs and aspirations of other regions.
The SEQ City Deal is a collaborative effort between the Australian Government, the Queensland Government, and the Council of Mayors (SEQ). It comprises 29 commitments aimed at generating long-lasting benefits for the region. However, the allocation of funds has been determined based on population data, which has disproportionately favored high-population areas like Brisbane.
The table provided in the announcement shows the fund’s allocation to different councils. Brisbane City Council receives the largest share, with $120.84 million, followed by Moreton Bay Regional Council with $45.54 million. Other councils in the south-east corner, such as Logan City Council, Sunshine Coast Council, Ipswich City Council, and Redland City Council, also receive significant amounts of funding. However, smaller regional councils like Noosa Shire Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, and Somerset Regional Council receive much smaller allocations.
Deputy Premier Stephen Miles defended the government’s investment in the south-east corner, highlighting its booming economy and lifestyle. He also emphasized the potential opportunities that hosting the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games brings, including leaving a lasting legacy through community projects. Miles sees the SEQ Liveability Fund as a way to improve the social, environmental, and economic viability of South East Queensland communities.
While the government claims that the fund is an example of effective collaboration between different levels of government, critics argue that it perpetuates a Brisbane-centric focus. They argue that FNQ, with its unique challenges and opportunities, should also receive adequate funding to support its own growth and development. Neglecting regions like FNQ risks exacerbating the already existing disparities between the south-east corner and the rest of the state.
The debate surrounding the SEQ Liveability Fund highlights the need for a more balanced approach to investment and development in Queensland. It calls for a thorough assessment of the needs and aspirations of all regions, including those that are historically marginalized. As the state prepares for the future, it is crucial to ensure that all communities benefit from sustainable and inclusive growth.