Price tag for transport solutions too high for council
April 15, 2008 12:00am
NEW Deputy Mayor Graham Quirk has admitted he doesn't know where the council will get the money to fund its multibillion-dollar road projects.
The co-ordinator of the new Brisbane infrastructure unit said he was exploring a range of funding options, which could include seeking more state and federal funding, setting up public-private partnerships or decentralisation.
"Council in the end cannot afford to undertake all these tasks," Cr Quirk said. "We've got a heck of a lot more pressure on us in terms of what we need to do to deliver outcomes.
"So my main job is to drive a lot of the projects and it's going to be a financial strain, but we can't afford not to do it."
Major projects to be managed by the unit include $100 million for better bikeways, the Hale St link bridge â€“ with a price tag to council of more than $500 million â€“ and the North South Bypass Tunnel and Northern Link, which are yet to be costed.
Brisbane City Council has an annual budget of $2 billion, and while a rate rise is tipped for the June budget, Cr Quirk said the infrastructure unit would also have to serve as a lobbying body.
"We are the centre of the region and we've got to have some recognition that the brunt of the growth in southeast Queensland is going to focus on Brisbane City," he said.
"So we'll be doing at a national and state level what we can to secure the resources necessary to get things done.
"There's already some pretty good signs of co-operation with the state, for example, the airport link. The State Government clearly saw the need for that as well and have taken over the lion share of that project."
The Federal Government also has promised to assist, allocating $500 million to the Northern Link project, but Cr Quirk said additional infrastructure funding would require the council to make better use of its assets.
"Our task here internally will be to look at ways and means to be able to create financing and that's going to require stepping outside the square," Cr Quirk said. "One of the great opportunities the former administration didn't take up was doing a multi-storey on top of Garden City bus depot.
"At the time, I wanted to use it as a regionalisation of council officers away from CBD space."
Council has more than 3000 officers working in CBD offices, with a combined rent of almost $13 million a year