Cairns deserves its share of mining riches: report writer
THE mining boom has ''adversely affected'' the Far North and the State and Federal governments need to come up with a plan to boost the population and the region's economy, the co-author of a new report says.
The Australian Local Government Association released its latest State of the Regions report yesterday, and it showed the region was not recovering from the global financial crisis as quickly as other parts of Australia.
Money spent on new residential housing in the Far North has dropped 51 per cent since 2007 to a projected expenditure of $292 million for 2012, and average household wealth has decreased by almost $100,000 in five years.
The report’s co-author, economist Dr Peter Brain, told The Cairns Post the Far North’s population growth was "slowing very sharply", going from an increase of 3.4 per cent in 2007-08 to a projected surge of just 1.7 per cent in 2011-12.
He said higher levels of government support was needed to ensure mineral wealth was spread to "regions that are adversely affected by the mining boom, such as Cairns" by developing a planning framework.
"If you could get projects up (in the Far North) that actually did something once installed to improve the growth prospects, you have got a win-win," he said.
"During the past 30 years, there has been insufficient investment in regional development in Australia and the findings of the report reinforce the need for a system of dedicated funds to flow into local infrastructure projects."
Cairns Chamber of Commerce president Anthony Mirotsis said there were some "positive opportunities" for the year ahead, but backed Dr Brain’s calls for an independent commission of inquiry into where the benefits of mining royalties were being felt.
He said the Tropical North Queensland Regional Economic Plan had mapped out what was needed to ensure the region’s future viability, but the upper tiers of government had to commit the funding and develop a regional focus to policy.
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
Unfair: Dr Peter Brain said government support was needed to ensure mineral wealth was spread to “regions that are adversely affected by the mining boom, such as Cairns” by developing a planning framework.