The Toowoomba Region is one of Queensland’s most vibrant and diverse regional communities. The area is experiencing unprecedented growth, with the current rate of development testament to the region’s potential.
We are fortunate that the Federal Government is a significant investor in our Region through their assistance with local projects.
Construction of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, a $1.6 billion project is set to cement Toowoomba’s vision of becoming a nationally recognised intermodal transport hub. The Federal Government’s continuing commitment to the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Project is also creating excitement in our Region.
Our task, as a local government, is to provide the community’s essential services that set the environment for our community to prosper in an economically responsible manner. Council believes that further investment by the Federal Government is vital to cater for our future growth and seize the wealth of opportunity before us.
The priority projects included in this submission will enhance Toowoomba’s social and economic strength and improve the lifestyle of our community as it moves into an exciting new chapter:
- Bowenville Moola and Dalby Nungil Stages (Maranoa)
- Continuation of East Creek Masterplan - Upgrade of Neil Street Culvert (Groom)
- Perseverance Raw Water Main Renewal (Maranoa)
- Railway Parklands Stage 2 (Groom)
- Escarpment Trails and Tourism (Groom).
Council also supports the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) objective of ensuring local government’s sustainability through:
- 1% taxation guarantee for local government (all electorates)
- Constitutional recognition of local government (all electorates).
The population of South East Queensland (SEQ) is the home of one in seven Australians and our Region craves better connectivity to this growing area. For this reason, our Council is supportive of the SEQ Council of Mayor’s strategy that brings together all levels to find new funding options for economic and social infrastructure to service the growing region. Council considers the best opportunity to fund the future infrastructure that will assist connectivity is through the:
- SEQ City Deal (all electorates in South East Queensland)
Toowoomba Regional Council looks forward to working with the forty-sixth Parliament of Australia to make the Toowoomba Region an even better place to live, work and play.
- Paul Antonio, Mayor - Toowoomba Regional Council
High priority projects
Total project estimate: $24 million
Greater access for Higher Productivity Vehicles (HPVs) has been a high priority for government, industry, freight operators and end users of freight services because of the productivity gains and cost savings they generate.
However, many freight journeys commence or end on local roads and an inability to operate HPVs for the entire journey from origin to destination can substantially reduce the productivity gains, which would otherwise be achieved.
Through the First and Last Mile Project undertaken by Toowoomba Regional Council, Western Downs Regional Council and LGAQ, several key heavy vehicle freight routes have been identified as having constraints due to the ‘first and last mile’ aspects of the journey on the local road network.
Toowoomba Regional Council is seeking support from the Federal government for a key freight route, the Bowenville-Moola Road and Dalby-Nungil Road. These roads of regional significance provide strategic industry access to seven cattle feedlots and four piggery operations. New investment in these key freight routes will strengthen the economic growth of key industries in the Toowoomba and Western Downs Regions.
Currently, HPV access these two roads under permit arrangements only. In order for Performance-Based Standard 3 (PBS 3) heavy vehicles to have ‘as of right access’, the roads need to be upgraded to an acceptable standard. This investment would see road safety upgrading to nearly 25km of roads including the widening of narrow sections and curves, rehabilitation of rough sections, intersection improvements and improvements to the approaches to Myall Creek.
Investment in this key freight route would strengthen the economic growth of key industries in the Toowoomba and Western Downs Regions and provide broader support to the continued development of the State.
Continuation of East Creek Masterplan Flood Mitigation Projects
Total project estimate: $12 million
Toowoomba Regional Council is determined to build flood immunity in our Region and requests support for the upgrade of Neil Street culvert.
In 2013, the East Creek Masterplan was completed. The Masterplan includes upgrading of road crossings and channels as well as various options for detention measures. It also considers planning aspects such as land acquisition that can reduce the likelihood and consequences of flooding. One of the significant projects north of the Toowoomba CBD identified in the East Creek Masterplan was the Neil Street Culvert Upgrade project.
The upgrade of the Neil Street Culvert will include:
- an intersection upgrade of Neil Street and New England Highway (Chalk Drive);
- replacement and upgrade existing box culverts to improve flood mitigation;
- improvements to traffic configuration of intersection; and improved connectivity of pedestrian and cycleway networks.
This Neil Street culvert upgrade will provide maximum benefit for flood mitigation on this important waterway.
Total project estimate: $78 million
The Perseverance Trunk Main is a gravity-fed, pre-stressed concrete trunk water main that was constructed in 1968, with an approximate length of just under 28 kilometres from the Pechey balance reservoirs to the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and with nominal diameter (DN) of 675 mm.
The Perseverance Trunk Main has experienced a significant increase in burst rate over the past 3 years and this has increased further in the last 18 months. Of further concern, a recent burst was so severe in its consequence it nearly emptied the Pechey reservoirs leading to a significant network supply risk.
The “Condition and performance report – Perseverance Trunk Main” (September 2018), prepared by an engineering consultancy company confirms the (declining) performance of the Perseverance Trunk Main. The report compares the Perseverance Trunk Main to similar infrastructure in the wider Council network infrastructure, confirms its failure rate, and estimates the financial impact of future bursts.
The condition and performance analysis provided a strong case for an upgrade. Options have been assessed to rehabilitate the Perseverance Trunk Main through replacement, upsizing and relining approaches. Recognising the benefit of lining in this particular case, upgrading to address demand shortfalls and options to replace the main on a like for like or upsized basis have been recommended. The first 11.3km of the main from Pechey reservoir down is under relatively low pressure. Expenditure to replace this section could be deferred until Perseverance Trunk Main augmentation program.
Upsizing the new Perseverance Trunk Main and existing Cressbrook Trunk Main will also lead to upgrades at Mt Kynoch WTP. A previous Council study into Mt Kynoch WTP loading and upgrade options (2014) confirmed an extension to treatment capacity would be required by 2020.
Upsizing the main to DN 750mm pipe, in line with recent upgrades to the Perseverance raw water main, and replacing the entire length of main from the Pechey balance reservoirs to the Mt Kynoch WTP is estimated to cost $78 million.
Total project estimate: $30 million
The Toowoomba Railway Parklands Project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that will transform Toowoomba, unlike anything we have seen in the past 100 years.
The 50 hectare parcel of land, bound by Russell, Neil, Campbell, Ruthven, Bridge and Mort Streets, has been identified as an opportunity to invigorate business investment, employment opportunities and boost the housing sector within an under-utilised area of the Central Business District.
The delivery of high-quality public infrastructure with strong 'destination' appeal will act as a significant catalyst to stimulate further business investment, create in excess of 3000 additional jobs, and deliver inner city living that will improve housing choice and stimulate local development.
The first stage of development of the Railway Parklands Priority Development Area incorporates the restoration of the 120-year-old Railway Goods Shed. This work is underway and will be completed by mid-2019.
Stage 2 will see the commencement of parkland development to the north of the Goods Shed and will include:
- Re-alignment of the historic rail track to the Goods Shed and incorporating bespoke carriages to activate the space and support events
- 'Lazy River' immersive water play body and pop jet plaza including public access to Gowrie Creek
- Adventure playground, a regional multi-age facility
- Landmark element and a light beacon
- Parkland pavilions
- Active transport corridors connecting the parklands and surrounding neighbourhoods into the Central Business District and broader green infrastructure network.
Toowoomba Regional Council is seeking support from the Federal Government for Stage 2 that will see the commencement of parkland development to the north of the Goods Shed.
Total project estimate: $25.7 million
Electorate: Groom, Wright
The Toowoomba Regional Council is seeking support from the Federal Government to initiate three significant nature-based tourism and trails projects that will unlock the potential of Toowoomba City’s escarpment parks.
Escarpment Trails Implementation Plan (with Lockyer Valley Regional Council)
Total project estimate: $7.2million
The Destination Toowoomba: Escarpment Tourism – a Summit Project will unlock the potential of nature-based, outdoor recreation facilities and increase sports tourism opportunities across the Toowoomba escarpment parks with a number of multi-purpose facilities.
The project aims to build Toowoomba’s tourism potential and expand on its profile as the Garden City. The project will improve recreational facilities in the parks to help draw more people to the region. New lookouts will be built that maximise the brilliant vistas from the range and across the Lockyer Valley. Multi-use concrete paths, suitable for bikes, prams and wheelchairs, and more nature trails will also be created, while way-finding and interpretive signage, and enhancements to visitor facilities, will significantly improve park accessibility.
Picnic Point Regional Park – Masterplan
Total project estimate: $15.5 million
The iconic Picnic Point Parklands is the centrepiece of Toowoomba Region’s iconic Destination Toowoomba - Escarpment Tourism initiative and will unlock the potential of the nature-based, outdoor recreation facilities across Toowoomba's escarpment parks. Investment will occur across multiple projects including: - construction of new and upgraded multi-use and dedicated trails eg Redwood, Jubilee, Glen Lomond (Toowoomba Escarpment parks) - construction of multiple end-of-trip amenities, significant pathway and car park upgrades with particular focus on achieving opportunities for those with a disability, iconic lookouts, international and local mountain bike event attraction, sophisticated way-finding and interpretative signage, visitor facilities such as seating, picnic facilities, play facilities and a future environmental and cultural learning centre.
Bridge Street Quarry Gardens Project (Stage 1 – Safety Upgrade)
Total project estimate: $3 million
The development of the Bridge Street Quarry Gardens Project provides the Region with an opportunity to develop a world-class eco-tourism attraction that complements Toowoomba’s reputation as ‘the Garden City’.
Stage one: Make safe by rehabilitating the site to provide a safe and environmentally sustainable green space, and increase connectivity to Jubilee Park.
Electorate: All electorates
A campaign led by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is calling for a fixed 1% share of Commonwealth taxation revenue to enable long term financial planning and certainty.
Local government currently receives just over half a percent (0.55%) of the Federal Government’s total taxation revenue.
This will reverse the 20-year erosion of Federal support, and allow local governments to better deliver services and maintain essential infrastructure for their communities.
In total local government raises 3% of all the taxation revenue in Australia and are required to manage 33% of public assets. In comparison, the Federal Government collects 80% of taxes and manages 11% of public assets.
Electorate: All electorates
Toowoomba Regional Council supports the ALGA position for a referendum on “financial” recognition of local government through the amendment of Section 96 of the Constitution.
If passed, the amendment would enable the Commonwealth to continue to provide direct funding to local government for vital community services and infrastructure, something governments have been doing for more than a decade.
Adequate resourcing of local councils to meet the needs of their communities is in everyone’s interest. The only way to resolve the uncertainty surrounding this funding is through a referendum.
Toowoomba Regional Council joins the ALGA in requesting that the Federal Government support a referendum to recognise local government in the Australian Constitution.
Total project estimate: TBC
Electorate: Several South East Queensland Federal electorates
The SEQ Council of Mayors has been investigating the application of the City Deal model in SEQ since 2013, as a way to ensure the long-term and coordinated delivery of infrastructure and supporting programs across the region.
For some time, the SEQ Council of Mayors has known that previous funding methods were no longer keeping pace with the anticipated population growth in SEQ – particularly in relation to infrastructure delivery. Therefore, a new and innovative funding model is required that brings all levels of government together through a long-term funding commitment to deliver an agreed set of economic, social and environmental outcomes.
Without a pipeline of infrastructure delivery in the coming decades, SEQ’s major road corridors will come under increasing pressure – creating traffic gridlock and significantly limiting the competitiveness of the region.
TransformingSEQ, released on 12 February 2019, is the joint pitch by the Queensland Government and the South East Queensland Council of Mayors to the Commonwealth Government for an SEQ City Deal.
TransformingSEQ identifies six “domains” for an SEQ City Deal: Connecting Infrastructure, Housing and Planning, Jobs and Skills, Digital, Liveability and Sustainability, Governance and Leadership. Within these six domains, TransformingSEQ identifies 35 “opportunities” that could be considered in negotiations for a City Deal, including six “transformational opportunities” for the region.
Of the 35 projects, identified the following project that would directly impact the Toowoomba Region:
- Warrego Highway Upgrade Projects – Ipswich to Toowoomba
- Bus Rapid Transit – Ipswich to Toowoomba
- Faster Rail - Ipswich to Toowoomba
Toowoomba Regional Council seeks a commitment from the Federal Government to continue negotiating an SEQ City Deal.
Total project estimate: $28 million
Council requests $28 million to support the Highfields/Gowrie Growth Area Connection Project. The project involves the construction of a new link bridge providing a transport connection between Mort Street and Old Goombungee Road and safety improvements.
Council’s strategic planning provides for significant growth (a further 9000 residents over the next 20 years and 4000 new dwellings) in the northern communities of Toowoomba which includes the Highfields, Gowrie Junction and Meringandan areas. Such growth is expected to generate 40,000 additional vehicle trips per day on the transport network.
Of these, 30,000 will travel between these northern communities and key destinations in the Central Business District, the Toowoomba Enterprise Hub (TEH), and to other destinations (both within and outside the region) via the State-controlled transport network which includes the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC).
Council’s Sustainable Transport Strategy identifies a need for a transport network link between Old Goombungee Road and Mort Street to provide alternative access to the northern communities of Highfields, Gowrie Junction and Meringandan to Toowoomba City, the TEH and the State-controlled transport network including the TSRC.
The Highfields/Gowrie Growth Areas Connection Project involves the construction of a new link bridge providing a transport connection between Mort Street and Old Goombungee Road and safety improvements.
It is worth noting that there is a consensus with the Department of Transport and Main Roads that the project provides benefits to both the local and state road networks.
In 2018, a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry on Regional Development and Decentralisation took evidence in Toowoomba about opportunities to relocate Federal Departments or sections of Federal Departments to regional centres.
The Toowoomba Regional Council supports the Federal Government in this initiative and urges strong consideration of Toowoomba Region for any departmental relocations.
Total project estimate: $138 million
Cooby Dam upgrade requires a spillway width increase from 69 metres to 100 metres and a dam crest level increase from 5.9 metres to RL492.5 at a cost of $36.5 million. The upgrade is required to meet the requirement of the State’s Dam Safety Regulator for the dams to safely pass 100% of the Acceptable Flood Capacity (AFC).
Cressbrook Dam Spillway Upgrade requires a spillway width increase from 20.3 metres to 65.0 metres and a dam crest level increase by 2.4m to RL292.4 at a cost of $102 million. The upgrade is required to meet the requirement of the State’s Dam Safety Regulator for the dams to safely pass 100% of the Acceptable Flood Capacity (AFC).
Cressbrook Dam and Cooby Dam are two of three surface storages that are the primary supply of water to Toowoomba. Toowoomba Regional Council seeks the State Government’s commitment to funding assistance for the upgrade of Cressbrook Dam and Cooby Dam spillways.
With an estimated cost exceeding $138 million (2016 estimate) ($182 million - 2025 forecast), the upgrades to Cooby Spillway and Cressbrook Spillway could be combined into the one project. The cost of these spillway upgrades, which are both required in a similar timeframe, places an untenable strain and impact on the Council’s financial resources.
Currently, no funding assistance is available to the Council for the works. Council’s full funding of the works will have a detrimental impact on Council’s ten-year capital works program and credit rating as determined by Queensland Treasury Corporation.
Total project estimate: $9.8 million
Onsite septic tanks or household treatment plants treat sewage in Crows Nest (population approximately 1,800). The effluent from these onsite systems is collected by the Common Effluent Drainage (CED) sewerage system and transported to effluent lagoons where final treatment occurs.
Discharge from the effluent lagoons irrigates the adjacent golf course. There is an excessive volume of solids in the network due to ineffective onsite treatment and the system has a significant infiltration rate during wet weather events. The slope and diameter of the reticulation mains are insufficient to cater to the volumes of solids and wet weather infiltration.
With the effluent lagoons at capacity, there is a risk to public health and water quality concerns. Further, Crows Nest and the sewerage collection and treatment infrastructure is located within the catchment of the major Toowoomba water supply storages – Cressbrook Dam.
Council has investigated and assessed options to provide sewerage services to Crows Nest that meet required standards of service. The recommended strategy is the staged implementation of a conventional gravity network, with the initial focus on treatment and those areas that have a history of pipe blockages and wet weather overflows.
Electorate: Groom, Maranoa
At its meeting on the 19th March 2019, Toowoomba Regional Council agreed to begin discussions over long-term options to enhance water security in Toowoomba and the surrounding regions.
Council has been working on a future water source for our region for quite some time but felt it pertinent in the current drought to move this motion to inform our community and assist in Council’s journey of seeking support from both the State and Federal Governments.
Toowoomba Region’s full drought status was declared on 1 March 2014. The severity of the current drought is reflected in the Region’s low dam levels and stressed groundwater supplies.
Historical data from the Bureau of Meteorology and Council’s own modelling against the Millennium Drought is being used in planning to ensure secure water supply during a period where there is little to no guarantee of water supplies being replenished in the near future. The community are also contributing by reducing their water use according to the water restriction system, one of Council’s mechanisms, currently in place.
Whilst the Wivenhoe Pipeline provides the community reassurance that water supply is secure in the medium term there are other alternatives that could be employed to enhance the region’s water security. Importantly the issue of water security is an issue impacting many local government areas across the state and Australia. This motion therefore reaffirms
Council’s commitment to seek support and partnerships from government, industry and the community to ensure that water security is enhanced for the many generations to come.