“The power of aligning the efforts of all levels of government and securing a long-term program of investment in our region will be a game changer,” Cr Quirk said.
“For the first time, all levels of government will be working in unison to protect and enhance the prosperity and liveability of south-east Queensland.”
Brisbane’s lord mayor Graham Quirk begins a campaign for a City Deal funding package for 10 councils on Tuesday morning.
Photo: Fairfax Media
A City Deal binds the three levels of government — federal, state and local — as a group to agree to a 15-year rolling funding program of infrastructure projects that a fast-growing region needs.
As projects provide a lift in land value, that financial uplift is identified, captured and then re-invested into the infrastructure funding pool, under a model first identified in Manchester in 2012 and then in Brisbane in 2014.
In April 2018, Cr Quirk and Ms Trad met the federal government’s new Cities and Urban Infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher, when they first put forward the SEQ City Deal.
All parties described those 2018 talks as “positive”.
Cr Quirk and Ms Trad will begin the public push for the SEQ City Deal at a business breakfast at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.
“We secured Australia’s first ever City Deal in Townsville, which is paying dividends with projects like the North Queensland Stadium, delivered through the City Deal,” Ms Trad said.
“That is under construction and on track to be open for the start of the 2020 NRL season.”
Townsville’s City Deal is a 15-year arrangement, while Launceston’s is a five-year deal and Western Sydney’s is a 20-year deal.
The federal government is tipped to announce City Deals for Geelong and Darwin by September 2018, allowing planners to work on Hobart, Perth and south-east Queensland over 18 months.
How could it help?
It locks in project funds over 15 to 20 years, moving them away from political promises, which are subject to election outcomes. It could remove election squabbling over the same project.
It sets out a timetable for projects allowing the private sector to invest more confidently.
It could help the next generation of infrastructure projects, after the Pacific Motorway, Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro projects were all delayed by politics, angering voters.
It has also been mentioned as a way of funding Moreton Bay’s new university campus at Petrie and breathing life into the Brisbane River’s Resilient Rivers proposal.
What is Townsville’s experience after 18 months?
The Townsville City Deal was signed on December 9, 2016. It is a 15-year agreement.
Work has begun on stage two of the 25,000-seat $250 million North Queensland Stadium. It will be finished for the 2020 rugby league season. It is funded by the federal and state governments, and Townsville City Council.
The Queensland government has promised $250 million for new water supply for Townsville.
A business case for new Townsville Port facilities is almost finished and the Queensland government has pledged $75 million for port upgrade.
Townville mayor Jenny Hill said choosing the right projects was essential to make a City Deal effective.
“The City Deal provides a roadmap for delivery that breaks the political cycle so it is very important to choose the right projects or areas for reform that will make the biggest difference to a city or region,” Cr Hill said.
“All three levels of government also need to buy into the key priorities of the local area that are included in any City Deal.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill on top of Castle Hill with Townsville in the background.
SEQ City Deal – the background
- May 2012: Co-funding model idea began in United Kingdom.
- June 2015: Queensland prepares its own case for City Deals after Ms Trad looked at the UK City Deals idea in Manchester.
- 2016: Council of Mayors (SEQ), Queensland Property Council and the Queensland government put a plan together.
- November 2016: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed a memorandum of understanding with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in November 2016 to develop “tailored City Deals” for Queensland.
- February 2017: Ms Trad and Cr Quirk wrote to then-federal cities minister Angus Taylor, agreeing to a joint submission.
- Late 2017: A Cities Transformation TaskForce established in Brisbane.
- June 2018: Queensland’s major contractors called for a City Deal.