A national, integrated approach to water security, regional roads, waste and coastal inundation is essential if any proposed solutions are to succeed, Queensland councils say.
Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) acting CEO Glen Beckett has welcomed the national priorities outlined by Infrastructure Australia for 2020, released today.
Mr Beckett said Queensland councils were keenly aware of the challenges facing their communities, with water security, coastal inundation, the state of the regional road network and rapidly evolving issues in dealing with waste.
But he said local government could not overcome these obstacles alone. He urged all levels of government to work together.
“A water pipe bursts every 80 minutes in rural Queensland due to ageing infrastructure while about 10 per cent of water provided is lost through leaks,” Mr Beckett said.
“Drought continues to have a devastating impact, with 41 council areas and four part-council areas drought declared as of December, ravaging more than two-thirds of the state’s land area.
“Improved preparedness for and resilience to drought must also be part of the national move towards greater climate resilience, as must dealing with coastal hazard threats caused by rising sea levels.”
Councils have called for the Commonwealth to back a national water security strategy at the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting and to allocate $200 million over four years in a Local Government Climate Change Fund to implement vital coastal hazard mitigation works.
Local government is also facing challenges in dealing with waste.
“Councils have been doing considerable heavy lifting when it comes to managing waste across Queensland’s diverse communities,” Mr Beckett said.
“National leadership is needed to strengthen Australia’s circular waste economy, encourage local markets and to seize the opportunities that will emerge in a zero waste future.
“This must be underpinned by embracing new resource recovery infrastructure and upgrading existing infrastructure like material recovery facilities of regional significance across Australia.