Bligh’s funds for mining towns welcomed

 Queensland premier Anna Bligh has promised $300 million over three years to make mining towns more ‘livable’.

The announcement, part of the existing Sustainable Resources Communities program, comes ahead of the state election and triples the current funding levels, according to the ABC.

"I know that the local councils of Queensland have got lots of ideas," she said.

"We want to work with them to make them a reality."

Bligh went on to say "we want to invest in the sort of infrastructure that makes them great places to live so people will stay here"

The funding promise came soon after opposition lead Campbell Newman pledged to establish a Royalties for the Regions program which would provide $10 million over four years for a Resources Community Building Fund, according to The Morning Bulletin.

The program is designed to ensure that mining regions received more long term royalty benefits via "better planning and targeted infrastructure investment.

"Our resource community building fund will deliver better social infrastructure – like supplementary health and education facilities, community centres and sporting facilities – to improve liveability, provide a better lifestyle in resource regions for generations of Queenslanders to come," Newman said.

It came as part of an additional $285 million over four years under a Roads to Resources program.

Both schemes were welcomed by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

Michael Roche, CEO of the QRC, said these regions are finally receiving the attention they deserve.

"These are promising days for resource communities after struggling for so long to achieve recognition for their unique socio-economic position in Queensland and for the severe growth pains they are experiencing," he said.

Roche stated that it was a credit to both parties that they were not taking the resource regions for granted.

However he added that "we can’t do an apples versus apples comparison until we receive the promised detailed responses from both parties to our election policy agenda document.

"In the end we will judge the respective Royalties for Regions policies of the major parties on the extent to which they prioritise the delivery of additional resources with a focus on communities that are hosting mining and gas developments and which are experiencing the most severe growth pains from the resources surge."

The election will be held later this month.



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