Mayor acknowledges that councils can't keep putting up rates

MAYOR Gerard O'Connell says councils acknowledge they can't just keep putting up rates to meet funding shortfalls.

"We have to look at more innovative ways to provide the level of service that ratepayers demand," he said.

Mayors, chief executives and the state government are meeting in Townsville on Thursday to discuss financial sustainability in local government.

Cr O'Connell said he'd like state and federal governments to support regions that come up with innovative ideas to create jobs and investment.

"We have put up three projects: the marine precinct at Beaver Rock; Avion, to develop a regional aviation hub and the regional sports precinct," he said.

"The support we're looking for ranges from funding to get approvals through state and federal departments quickly; help to promote projects to businesses around the country; or incentives, such as payroll tax cuts to encourage businesses to set up outside of the congested southeast corner.

"We'd also like the state and federal governments to stop shifting responsibilities and costs on to local government without agreement and adequate funding.

"Councils rely on state or federal government funding so when a funding program, such as the 40% subsidy for water and sewerage infrastructure, is stopped, it can have huge implications for our capital works programs both immediately and long-term as well as how much money a council has to borrow and how much we have to outlay in repayments.

"We'd like the funding to be more regular and on guidelines that can be easily determined and don't change frequently.

"Funding programs should be phased out not just stopped without warning.

Cr O'Connell said he would also highlight incentive programs that should be introduced to spur regional development.



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