Mayor Paul Antonio.
Mayor Paul Antonio. Nev Madsen

Mayor calls for new funds to cater for population boom

PREMIER Campbell Newman has called on local governments to "step up" and think creatively about how to draw population growth away from Brisbane.

A draft of the State Government's 30-year Queensland Plan will be released next month.

Calls for local councils to ease building height restrictions are expected to feature highly, in order to cater for more than a 230 per cent population increase by 2043.

Mayor Paul Antonio said Toowoomba was on its way to building the required infrastructure, but that flash-in-the-pan development was not an option.

"I don't have an appetite for building infrastructure or housing that is only going to last 10 years," he said.

Cr Antonio made the point at the Queensland Transport Infrastructure Summit in Brisbane on Tuesday, calling for long-term funding to cover the entire lifespan of major projects.

"In some cases, such as with railway lines, they might last for 100 years," he said.

"We need a new way of funding infrastructure that means it is not just funded over a 10-year period."

Balanced against other Queensland local governments, Toowoomba Regional Council is in a sound financial state.

Cr Antonio attributed that as a factor in major development investment coming to the region.

However, he said local governments could not do it on their own.

"Compared with a council like Townsville, which has the same rate base, we are in a good financial space," he said.

"They have $390 million of debt with $80m in the reserves - we have $140 million in debt and $170 million in reserve.

"That $30 million up our sleeve means we can respond to infrastructure needs likely to pop up.

"But we definitely need a share of the federal funding stream if we're to achieve the appropriate infrastructure.

"Other countries have long-term infrastructure bonds that are government-guaranteed, but we need the State and Federal Governments to initiate that.

"There is $1.4 trillion involved in superannuation funds in Australia.

"I would suggest there is a fair opportunity there for some investment to get the appropriate infrastructure built."

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