Leaders unite to plan for region
RESIDENTS will have the ultimate say regarding future regional plans after the State Government declared locals were best placed to know what their towns needed.
The ambitious announcement came from Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney who, at a large meeting at Emerald on Friday, convened the second Central Queensland Regional Planning Committee get-together.
The 22-strong group of industry, government and council leaders discussed the formation of a statutory regional planning committee for two priority areas, in which the Central Highlands fall.
The meeting, hailed as a potential solution to growing pains in resource-rich regions, drew on input from the Central Highlands, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Woorabinda and Banana shire mayors who Mr Seeney said should have control over the strategic direction amid the current mining boom.
"It is part of our commitment for Queenslanders everywhere to have regional plans that recognise the importance of regions to the economy of Queensland ..." Mr Seeney said.
"We want these people and the community in general to tell us what the State Government has to do over the next 20 years, and then we have to try and do it."
Given an 18-month time frame to develop and implement the plan, Mr Seeney said the group of leaders would meet to discuss ideas and present existing literature before the reins went to residents.
"We are a government that is built on economic developments, unashamedly, and we're about driving economic growth," he said.
Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said it was too early to determine the functionality of the statutory planning, but he welcomed the move.