Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Councils welcome overhaul of Far North plan

Deputy Premier and Minister for Planning, Steven Miles has announced the Far North Queensland Regional Plan will be updated, followed by all Regional Plans over the next three years.

Minister Miles said good planning would deliver more jobs in more industries, better services and protect “the Queensland lifestyle”.

“Regional plans set the long-term direction for how our regions will grow and respond to change over time,” Mr Miles said.

“They advance diverse regional economies and support a broad range of industries, including manufacturing and knowledge-based industries creating new jobs in our regions.

“They also help plan for the right infrastructure to cater for the population growth, including housing supply, schools and roads.”

Mr Miles said much had happened since the Far North Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031 was implemented.

“Our successful health response to the pandemic and great lifestyle has seen Far North Queensland become an even more attractive place to live, work and raise a family,” he said.

“Population forecasts from 2009 are outdated. In the 2006 census 122,731 lived in the greater Cairns region (SA4), that grew to 253,748 at the 2021 census.

“Updating the regional plan to reflect the latest forecasts is crucial to provide the basis for identifying improved opportunities for economic development and liveability across the Far North.

“This informs important levers such as the planning and delivery of infrastructure and services, and connections across council areas.” 

Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford said the Queensland Government had listened to local governments, stakeholders and the community.

“Mayors, councils and councillors, as well as various advocacy bodies in Far North Queensland have requested a review of the FNQ Regional Plan as a priority,” Mr Crawford said.

“We have listened to those requests and are moving forward for the benefit of Far North Queensland communities. 

“Through a new Far North Queensland Regional Plan, we will be able to address issues that are specific to the region.

“By involving the councils, community and industry in updating the plan, we will be bringing the Far North closer together for a brighter and more sustainable future.”

Douglas Shire Mayor and Chair of the FNQ Regional Organisation of Councils, Michael Kerr, welcomed the review of the Regional Plan.

“Our region has gone through enormous change since the current Regional Plan was implemented 13 years ago,” Mayor Kerr said.

“Reviewing and updating the Regional Plan is vitally important for the local councils and our communities as we plan for future growth.

“The Far North is no longer a well-kept secret and, as we see more people from throughout Queensland, interstate and overseas wanting to call the region home, we need to make sure we are well prepared to cater for them in terms of infrastructure and employment opportunities.” 

In Far North Queensland, the updated plan will be developed in conjunction with the Far North Queensland Regional Infrastructure Plan, that will be underpinned by a regional economic strategy to consider and prioritise significant infrastructure needs.  

The Deputy Premier said Regional Infrastructure Plans reflect a place-based approach to better align regional infrastructure with regional priorities, recognising the important role infrastructure plays in catalysing regional economic recovery, resilience, growth and liveability.

“This is about getting it right now to ensure that a liveable and prosperous regional future is secured for generations to come,” he said.

For more information go to Regional Plans.

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