QMCA has long advocated for City Deals and in particular the one that is taking shape for South-East Queensland.
An SEQ City Deal promises to be the glue that binds together overarching infrastructure and development strategies for one of Australia’s fastest growing and most interconnected regions. In essence a city deal will provide improved visibility around the planning and delivery of a pipeline of major projects that will underpin the needs of the population that call our region home.
The knock-on effect is straightforward; key infrastructure projects will be planned, agreed, prioritised and delivered based on need rather than political whim or to win over a marginal electorate.
If executed well a city deal will take politics out of infrastructure planning. Currently politics plays a huge role in infrastructure, with there being many examples of all sides of politics putting self-interest or ideology before the common good. Examples include:
- Brisbane City Council and Queensland State Government arguing over land required for Brisbane Metro
- Cross River Rail/BAT Tunnel/Cross River Rail changes taking a project first released in November 2010 flip and flop for the best part of a decade
- Federal and state squabbles over funding for the M1
In many ways it is understandable that political needs interfere in project planning. In a 3- or 4-year election cycle there is little political value in a project that will be delivered many years into the future. The voters will have long forgotten to credit you with showing vision and leadership, indeed they may have already consigned you to the footnotes of political history.
What a city deal will do is take the worst adversarial elements of politics off the board and will ensure that there is collaboration and agreement on the best long-term way forward. It is exactly the sort of vision we, as voters, want to see from our political leaders. Good ideas will be collaborated on, project delivery costs and timeframes will be reduced and in theory more funding will flow from the private and public sector for infrastructure investment as a city deal will provide certainty.
With the South-East Queensland Council of Mayors recently announcing a significant infrastructure plan for the region, we have an opportunity to create a City Deal that will help ensure that at a federal, state and local level we will have an increased probability of meeting the future infrastructure needs of our ever-increasing population.
This is why QMCA wholeheartedly supports an SEQ City Deal.