Council of Mayors SEQ wants infrastructure backlog addressed

SOUTH-east Queensland mayors are calling on the Federal Government to give a damn about their infrastructure needs as some councils grapple with "desperate" situations.

Toowoomba Regional Council mayor Paul Antonio says his community is nothing short of desperate for a bypass to accommodate heavy vehicles currently travelling through the heart of the Garden City.

The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project has formed one of the top priorities the Council of Mayors South East Queensland is pushing for as part of its 2013 federal infrastructure campaign.

Council of Mayors SEQ chairman Graham Quirk said it was time for the major Federal parties to address the long-standing infrastructure backlog.

"We are making a plea both to the Government and the Opposition to not forget south-east Queensland," he said.

"It's about saying we do give a damn about the infrastructure need for south-east Queensland."

The council has pinpointed 36 infrastructure projects needing federal funding, including the Bruce and Cunningham highway upgrades.

Cr Antonio said Toowoomba was desperate for a bypass.

"Toowoomba has 26,000 vehicles a day going through one of its main streets as part of the Warrego Hwy - that's what the problem is," he said.

"There is tremendous freight task out there. There are thousands of tonnes of stuff that go through weekly for the Surat Basin - we haven't got the capacity to do that."

The second range crossing project has been estimated to cost $1.66 billion.

While the Federal Government has remained tight-lipped on a commitment, the Opposition promised $700 million if elected.

Ipswich City Council mayor Paul Pisasale said the Federal Government held the purse strings and it was time to end the excuses.

"We want to make sure it's not about marginal seats - it's about where growth is happening," he said.

"Local government collects 4% of the taxes, State Government 16% and Federal Government 80% of our money -we want it spent wisely.

"They keep saying there is 'no money, there is no money'. They have 80% of all our money - it's about time they manage it wisely or get out."

The Give a Beep campaign, will embark on a regional tour next week, starting on the Sunshine Coast on May 13 and Withcott on May 24.



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