Call to manage population growth

QUEENSLAND councils have called for urgent state government action to manage the state’s huge rate of population growth, following community polling and a special public inquiry on the issue.

Local Government Association of Queensland president Paul Bell says the community opinion survey backs the report, which makes 18 recommendations on the development of a policy to manage population growth and encourage a more even distribution of new residents across regional Queensland.

The inquiry was conducted by an expert panel chaired by Demography professor Peter McDonald of the Australian National University.

Cr Bell said yesterday that the inquiry’s final report had now been adopted by the LGQAQ executive, which was now calling on the state government to develop a population policy before the next state election.

The inquiry report recommended a policy to explain the Queensland government’s “vision on the way in which Queensland will grow in an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable manner.”

It also called for:

 a comprehensive review of labour market demand by industry, strategies for responding to this and training initiatives;

 a State Migration Plan targeting the skills needed for sustainable economic development;

 a regular state estimate of households under housing stress by income category;

 government intervention in the property market in high priority areas to ensure the supply of land for development through housing, land and infrastructure development;

 federal, state and local government housing initiatives to mitigate market failure in providing a necessary range of affordable housing types;

 better reporting of land and housing supply and prices to enable better public and private responses in areas facing rapid growth;

 incentives to encourage regional job creation, including lower rates of payroll tax in regions; and

 infrastructure provision in advance to allow rapid development, among other initiatives.

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