The Sunshine Coast Blue Heart initiative is set for a major funding boost as part of a newly minted South East Queensland City Deal, signed today by three tiers of government.
Years in the making, the SEQ City Deal was signed today in Brisbane by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Lord Mayor Adrian Schinner, with all three levels of government committing to work together to plan and deliver enhanced investment for the region.
This agreement establishes governance arrangements for collaboration between governments, and includes projects across 11 local government areas that Deal partners will jointly fund and deliver.
A $35.3 million investment in the Blue Heart is one of the projects listed, consisting of a $5 million from the Australian Government, $15 million from Queensland Government and $5.3 million from the Sunshine Coast Council and $10 million from the private sector.
The investment expands the existing Blue Heart initiative which commenced in 2016 and was aimed at improving the Maroochy River Catchment by establishing wetlands, enhancing protection from flooding and providing recreational parklands.
Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said “expanding the Blue Heart initiative would help deliver effective land and water management.
“The Federal Government is pleased to back this innovative project that aims for sustainable and adaptive management of the Maroochy River catchment.”
Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien welcomed the SEQ City Deal and said support for the Blue Heart recognised the environmental value of the Sunshine Coast.
“City Deals are about the future, not the past,” said Mr O’Brien.
“This initiative will support improved management of the Maroochy River floodplain. I’m keen to see this funding go towards projects such as conservation parks for endangered species.
“I will also encourage Deal partners to consider investment through the City Deal in canoe trails along the Maroochy River and also walking trails, maybe even cycling trails.”
With the SEQ City Deal now signed, the next step is to plan for implementation.
“It’s in the implementation plan that we get down to the nuts and bolts,” said Mr O’Brien.
“Federal Government support for City Deals always comes with expectations, and the Blue Heart is no exception.”
Minister Fletcher pointed to the importance of protecting property rights, as an example.
“We expect participation in the Blue Heart to be voluntary and not mandatory,” said Minister Fletcher.
“It should be about providing more choice, not less.
“We want landowners to have access to new revenue streams, the community to enjoy new recreational assets, and the floodplains to be well managed into the future.
“But if landowners aren’t interested in Blue Heart opportunities, they should be free to use their land for other commercial or private purposes.”
The SEQ City Deal was signed in Brisbane today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.
For further information about the SEQ City Deal, visit <www.infrastructure.gov.au/city-deals/SEQ. >
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