Infrastructure at top of budget

SOUTHERN Downs Mayor Ron Bellingham has one thing at the top of his 2010/11 budget wish-list for the region – investment in our infrastructure.

“The State Government needs to recognise that it runs a two, maybe three-speed economy within Queensland,” Cr Bellingham said.

“The areas away from the coast are really struggling financially and we need all the support that we can get.

“The government needs to recognise that and address our struggles – it’s really important that local authorities are supported by the state government.”

Cr Bellingham said a major issue was for infrastructure to be assisted in the Southern Downs so the entire area could overcome any hurdles it faced.

“A good example is the water supply in Stanthorpe. We need to invest in it and make sure the area continues to develop,” he said.

“A lot of the capital cost can be covered either by the federal or by the State Government.”

Cr Bellingham also mentioned the problem of infrastructure at Warwick State High School, anticipating an increasing influx of students going from Year 7 to high school within the next few years.

“Right now, with the space we have, we simply can’t cope – therefore, we will need to address that potential problem and I’m really hoping the budget will cover our needs,” he said.

“It is also true the Warwick courthouse needs to be re-developed elsewhere or expanded and it’s something we’ve been looking to be taken care of – hopefully the budget will help us take that step forward.

“I’m hoping that we will be able to re-establish the public service jobs that have moved out of Warwick and into Stanthorpe in recent years, taking us a step back in that direction.

“We did provide very good services to the community when those jobs were in Warwick and the people who worked there did a fantastic job in every aspect.”

Cr Bellingham said he had always been a “passionate believer” when it came to long-term political vision.

“Things will never change overnight and that’s why I have to underline the importance of having a long-term plan in mind, especially when it comes to community infrastructure,” he said.

“Of course, the budget is very important to the whole of Queensland and the Darling Downs community, but to me, it’s more important to be able to look at the greater picture when making decisions.”

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