Cities snap up designated Coast funds
MILLIONS of federal taxpayer dollars set aside for the Fraser Coast and other regional areas and disadvantaged communities are going to cities such as Brisbane and Melbourne.
About 20% of the money from the first two rounds of the National Stronger Regions Fund has gone to projects in major metropolitan areas instead.
The $1 billion five-year federal program was created to boost economic development.
But ARM Newsdesk analysis has found since the fund began last year, $95 million in the first two rounds of funding has gone to metropolitan areas across Australia.
About 10% of Queensland's funding, or $9.5 million, has gone to four projects around Brisbane.
A project at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane's south received $2.5 million to construct a new logistics centre to assist people with a disability and a project to construct a Ronald McDonald House in South Brisbane received about $5.3 million.
The Brisbane Broncos and Brisbane Lions football clubs have also requested millions of dollars in funding for training facilities in the state's capital.
Through our campaign, Fair Go for the Fraser Coast, The Chronicle is calling for more funds for regional areas.
Queensland received $93 million from the $505 million in the first two rounds of funding.
Of the amount spent in regional areas, Maryborough's RSL received $900,000 for the construction of stage two of the Fraser Coast Military History Trail.
Fraser Coast Regional Council received $325,000 for the Brolga Theatre corporate event services expansion.
Federal Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the Stronger Regions Fund was an election promise the Coalition made in 2013 to strengthen economies in Australia's most disadvantaged communities.
She said more than three quarters of the projects funded in the first two rounds were outside of major city areas.
"Regional centres deserve the same attention as inner CBDs and outer suburbs - and they will receive this through the government's Cities Agenda," she said. Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has slammed the Stronger Regions Fund and said too much federal funding was going to infrastructure projects in the country's south, while the north was getting left behind.
The Regional Australia Institute recently released a report that said 31 of Australia's small cities, including the Fraser Coast, outperformed the major cities' economic growth rate between 2002 and 2010 but received little attention.
The report said the Australian Government should establish a Small City Deals policy that brings all levels of government and stakeholders into one agreement to help drive development.
Senator Nash said this was not a new idea from RAI, but that their input was welcome.
Deputy Premier and Local Government and Planning Minister Jackie Trad said the State Government was supportive of a small city deals policy and that this was something they were exploring through the State Infrastructure Plan.