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South West Qld Local Government Association Media Release

6 July, 2018
For immediate release

The South West Queensland Local Government Association (SWQLGA) is researching ways in which to arrest population decline in the south west.

SWQLGA member councils – Balonne, Bulloo, Maranoa, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie – met in Charleville yesterday to discuss how to entice and keep families to the region.

Association Chairman Richard Marsh said declining population was an issue all six member councils were experiencing.

“This is an issue we need to address and the SWQLGA will write to the relevant State and Federal Ministers outlining the population decline in rural and remote communities and seek a population campaign for rural and remote communities to embrace new settlement,” he said.

“There were a number of ways we can boost our population discussed including concessional taxation to draw workers to our region and settlement of immigrants or refugees.

“We hope that by diversifying the economies of our member regions that we can draw workers and their families to the south west.”

Bulloo Shire Mayor John Ferguson revealed it was difficult for Bulloo to get skilled workers who want to stay in the region.

“It is hard to get people to stop and consider living in our towns when they have an option to fly in, work here and then return to places like Toowoomba,” he said.

“Bulloo Shire Council decided to package employment with Bulloo to encourage families to come and work in the shire to support our shire.

“If we can get them to move to our towns it helps our schools and businesses, but we need to find a way to get this to happen.”

Cr Ferguson put forward a case for altering the remote and rural tax zone to provide an incentive to bring people to the bush.

“The Income Tax Zone Rebate needs to be reviewed to be available to those LGAs in remote areas. At the moment it covers areas up around Cairns and along the eastern seaboard, but I don’t see those areas as remote,” he said.

“If it was reviewed it could provide incentive to people to come and work in our regions and this would help keep our towns sustainable.

“We pay higher prices for services out here and this sort of incentive is needed to get people here and to keep them living here.”

Cr Ferguson said Bulloo was also investigating ways of bringing immigrant or refugee families to help boost population.

“If we can get some skilled immigrants or refugee families in our towns this would certainly go some way toward keeping our towns alive,” he said.

Media Contact: Richard Marsh on 0409 692 299 or John (Tractor) Ferguson on 0427 418 438.




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