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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
    The Honourable Desley Boyle

    The future looks bright in Maranoa-Balonne

    Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
    The Honourable Desley Boyle

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    The future looks bright in Maranoa-Balonne

    The new Maranoa-Balonne Regional Plan will ensure the region keeps pace with economic growth and supports, Local Government Minister Desley Boyle said at the launch in St George today.

    “The long-term future of this region is bright, with energy resources in the Surat Basin area, tourism and grazing industries driving significant growth in the years ahead,” Ms Boyle said.

    “That makes it even more critical to set out a road map for the future that will protect the region’s natural assets and jobs which is exactly what the regional plan set out to do,” she said.

    The plan was the result of more than a year’s consultation between Australian and Queensland Government agencies, local councils, the community and other stakeholders.

    “In 2004, as the Minister responsible for regional planning, I approved the formation of the regional planning committee and chaired its first meetings so it is pleasing to now be able to launch such a significant outcome.

    “This is a plan tailored specifically for this region to deliver for the communities that live, work and play here.

    “By bringing predictability to planning and development, supported by a legal framework, this region will have the tools to ensure a sustainable, liveable and prosperous future for the residents of Maranoa-Balonne.”

    The regional plan focuses on:
    • Meeting growing needs for energy, water and telecommunications infrastructure;
    • Attracting and retaining skilled workers and their families, by providing better training opportunities, and high-quality housing and recreational facilities;
    • Encouraging economic diversity through increased production and new industry opportunities and adapting to climate change and diminishing resources reserves;
    • Providing essential services, including health services to rural and remote centres; and
    • Protecting the biodiversity of the area.

    “It recognises and supports the agricultural sector as a key economic engine in the region and protects agricultural land from inappropriate development . It also supports efforts to strengthen and diversify the region’s agricultural economy,” said the Minister.

    “The Bligh Government is committed to building a green future for Queensland preserving our unique lifestyle and the Balonne-Maranoa Regional Plan ensures important ecological areas are preserved and our precious water resources are used responsibly.

    “The plan also supports the sustainable use of water from the Great Artesian Basin.”

    Ms Boyle said the regional plan would ensure sufficient land was allocated to a diverse range of housing options to suit future changes in demographic patterns.

    For example, Roma would remain the region’s major business centre and, alongside St George, would continue to be a service delivery hub in a significant part of the Queensland Murray Darling Basin.

    Ms Boyle said as well as adopting the plan’s policies, local councils may need to amend their planning schemes to ensure they are aligned with the plan.

    Ms Boyle launched the plan today on behalf of Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

    Ms Boyle thanked stakeholders and RCC members, including the Mayor of Balonne Donna Stewart and the Mayor of Maranoa Rob Loughnan, for their input

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    Media Contacts: Minister Boyle's Office - Liam Ferney 0428 199 933; Minister Hinchliffe’s Office 3224 4600.