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The ancestor of every action is a thought
Ralph Waldo Emerson
City Deals

Each level of government professes its desire to achieve sustainable economic growth and improve liveability. Yet there appears to be a need to actually get each level of government to make a deal between them to be focussed and efficient in achieving it; but only in select cities, Townsville, Launceston and western Sydney.

This United Kingdom inspired ‘City Deals’ is a process the federal government is sparingly using to ideally capitalise on the opportunities in cities.

What a telling (but not surprising) admission; governments are not capitalising on opportunities of every city and region in Australia, nor are they efficient in achieving sustainable economic growth. To address it a deal has to be worked out between them to do the thing they all profess a strong desire for. Interesting to see how long this deal takes to be struck. It was reported in July that the Townsville City Deal should hopefully be struck by December. Assuming they mean this year, that’s 6 months to agree working efficiently together for the betterment of a city!

I suppose the squabbling over Rookwood weir is arguably a local example of how well the federal and state government are working together to capitalise on the opportunities more water storage on the Fitzroy offers. How long will a deal take to be struck between federal and state government on this?

City Deals UK will not necessarily be the exact model Australia will follow. Part of the UK model allowed for devolution of power to the local authorities to make broader decisions outside their traditional limitations on local projects that would improve liveability and drive sustainable economic growth then receive direct funding to make it happen.

Local governments in Australia are not recognised in the constitution. Thus (in most cases) can’t receive money direct from the federal government; having to go through the state.

How can a non-constitutionally recognised poorer partner to a (city) deal have much influence?

Unless a city or region has gained state and federal government favour like Townsville, with each committing $100M plus to a new stadium, and/or has significant voter clout (South East Queensland), other local governments are going to find it difficult to strike a City Deal for their regions; yet we all should be getting the benefits of a collaborative sustainable economic development focus anyway.

(Council of Mayors SEQ has received state government money to investigate how the ‘City Deals’ approach can be applied in SEQ).


Local governments need to be constitutionally recognised; this would help give CQ much needed clout, clout to help negotiate our own community driven City Deals and much more.

Will any of the minor parties in the senate push for local government constitutional recognition in their negotiations with the government?



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