City Deal could fast track high speed rail to Brisbane
THE Toowoomba to Brisbane fast rail network could become a reality sooner rather than later if the Federal Government signs on to a City Deal proposed by the South East Queensland Council of Mayors.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor, and deputy chair of COMSEQ, Paul Antonio said a potential deal would focus on connecting the whole of the southeast Queensland region to fast rail.
"The biggest issue for southeast Queensland is connectivity," Cr Antonio said.
"How good would it be if the region came together to work with the State and Federal Governments to give the whole area of southeast Queensland a far better transport network.
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"I speak specifically about a fast rail passenger service, that would be good for this area."
A City Deal would lead to more funding to southeast Queensland and greater collaboration between all levels of government and private enterprises to deliver key projects.
City Deals are already in place in Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney and the deals lock in funding for 15 to 20 years, taking politics out the funding model.
Cr Antonio said he decided to work collectively with the COMSEQ for a deal for the entire region instead of trying to get an individual deal for Toowoomba as there was a greater bargaining power through COMSEQ.
"We represent one in seven Australians, which means as a lobby group... (other levels of government) take a fair bit of notice," he said.
The City Deal plan for southeast Queensland was first proposed in 2016 and was taken to the Federal Government in April this year.
This week COMSEQ chair Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad met with industry groups to get their support for the proposal.
"This is going to be the most significant City Deal," she said.
"What we are really aiming to try and achieve through this collaborative City Deal process is to take the region ... to the next level economically."
Cr Quirk told the Courier Mail he wanted a network where it took 45 minutes to get from one end of the region to another.
"There's no definite time frame (on the plan)," Cr Antonio said.
"At least we've begun the discussion."
COMSEQ is made up of all councils north of Logan to the Sunshine Coast and west to Toowoomba.