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The Southern Downs Regional Council has identified a number of ‘advocacy priorities and projects’ for the region in the upcoming State Government Election.
A council statement issued last week says that the “recent announcement of State Government Elections on 25 November 2017 provides council with the opportunity to inform the candidates for the Southern Downs region of the priorities and projects that council has identified as significant to the region’s residents”.
Mayor Tracy Dobie said that State Election is “a good time to remind the candidates of the importance of regional areas”.
“The Southern Downs remains an important hub for agriculture and transport into South-East Queensland,” she said.
“We want to make sure that our voice is heard as policy is developed by the next State Government for the next four years.”
Some of the top priorities include …
Road Safety – Highway Taskforce
The Cunningham and New England Highways between Yamanto in Queensland and Bolivia Hill in NSW, which traverse three local government areas, are managed by the states,” the statement said.
“Council has identified that a consistent approach be adopted for the adequate delivery of services to the road user.”
Upgrade and maintenance of rail links
“Investment in food processing, intensive agriculture, manufacturing, transport and logistics as well as employment being generated through new aged care facilities and retail development means that the Southern Downs economy requires the support of upgraded rail infrastructure.
“As the Inland Rail will now not play a role in the Southern Downs region, council is keen to see the existing rail infrastructure upgraded to accommodate future growth.
“Council has real concerns that there is a possibility that the State Government will lower maintenance standards and potentially discontinue the operation of State Rail Freight Routes in South Western Queensland.
“To do so would detrimentally impact the economic growth and employment within the region.
“Council is seeking a commitment from the State Government that it will maintain and continue the operation of State Rail Freight Routes in South Western Queensland.”
Other priorities include …
* Continue lobbying State Government agencies and departments that own or manage land in the region to inform them of the Invasive Pest Control Scheme
* Development of and investment in State Government research centres that support the agricultural and agribusiness sector
* Additional funding for rabbit and dog fencing
* Subsidised public bus services to Warwick from Brisbane
* Urban water security for Stanthorpe
* Cluster fencing around Morgan Park raceway to reduce the potential of an accident involving kangaroos
* Sewer solutions for Allora
* Funding for maintenance upgrades of historical buildings
* Funding for fire trail maintenance
* Streetscape plans for Warwick and Stanthorpe
* Funding for the upgrade of heavy vehicle access roads
* Warwick heavy vehicle by-pass to improve travel efficiency for heavy vehicles along the New England and Cunningham Highways
* Hydro-generation at Connolly Dam and Storm King Dam
* All weather facility for the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society
* Funding for a campaign to attract more people to the Southern Downs to fill in excess of 700 jobs in the region over the next few years
* A clear direction on the future of the TAFE facility in Warwick

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