Cr Schefe calls for change
IN A RECENT Local Government Association of Queensland Water and Sewerage Advisory Group meeting, chairman and Maranoa councillor David Schefe raised the issues of funding.
A collection of councillors and executive staff in the water and sewerage space from around Queensland came together on Thursday, March 29, to discuss issues and plans for water and sewerage with Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham.
"What is worrying councils across Queensland is the fact that we have this infrastructure cliff,” Cr Schefe said.
"A lot of infrastructure in Australia, particularly in Queensland, went in around the same time and it is all going to reach its end of life very close together.”
The two main issues Cr Schefe and the advisory group raised with Mr Lynham included overall funding for water and sewerage and funding streams.
"Funding for the last financial year 2017-18 budget was in order about $570million from state to local government,” he said.
"In State Government's forward estimates at the moment they are thinking about dropping it back to around $330-340 million but local government want it to remain around the $500million mark and therefore LGAQ are trying to lobby against this drop.”
The other initiative LGAQ is pushing for is separate funding streams.
"At the moment if you want to put up for a sewerage project you are in the same funding stream as someone who might be building a library or footpaths,” Cr Schefe said.
"We are proposing that essential services that people need opposed to the projects people would like to have but can live without have separate funding streams so we don't have to compete against each other for it.”
Cr Schefe said at the moment funding for water and sewerage was year by year, putting immense pressure on councils to have projects completed in short amounts of time and suppliers being in high demand.
"However if we had funding that was spread over five years, for example, and we are willing to work in with three or four other councils to deliver our proposed project, we are going to get a cheaper price from the supplier because they have guaranteed work for five years,” he said.
"That means that the dollars they are spending will go further and we could create more jobs.”