Qld councils welcome regional homeowner boost

By Rob O’Brien

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) says encouraging first homebuyers into the state’s regions is a good policy for managing population growth.

The Premier Anna Bligh announced the new $3000 boost to the federal grant of $7000 at a lunch hosted by the Property Council of Australia yesterday.

LGAQ president Paul Bell said that it was time that Queensland followed the lead set by other states.
“We’ve been calling on the State Government for a number of years to develop an urgently-needed population policy, but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears until today,” Cr Bell said.

“Other states, notably Victoria and South Australia, have developed policies to manage growth,” he said.

Queensland’s population passed 4.4 million last month and local government leaders have already discussed the possibility of a population cap in the state’s crowded south-east corner.

Mrs Bligh said the cash incentive, which could be made availabe by January 1, would help bolster regional economies.

The LGAQ is in the process of establishing an inquiry into population policy to be held in February and March next year. A final report will be made public in June.

Cr Bell said the association was in discussions with one of the world’s leading urban demographers to chair the inquiry.

Leading urban planning, infrastructure and finance expert, Alan Morton, had already accepted an invitation to be the inquiry’s secretary.

“Our inquiry is aiming to tackle the myriad of problems which will arise as Brisbane, as predicted, more than doubles its size by 2049.

“The inquiry will be seeking a wide range of presentations and submissions, including those of the state government. We are confident we can come up with recommendations on policy options and initiatives worthy of consideration by federal, state and local governments,” Cr Bell said.

The inquiry will be the fourth undertaken by the LGAQ.

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