September 18, 2019
South Burnett Regional Council will lodge its third application to the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) in a bid to get the Federal Government to contribute to Kingaroy’s $8 million streetscape project.
Mayor Keith Campbell told the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Meet’n’Greet on Tuesday night that Council will resubmit an amended bid in October.
Two previous BBRF bids have failed but the Mayor said Council had recently taken advice on how to submit an application that would align more strongly with the fund’s criteria.
He hoped this would produce a better outcome the third time around.
The Mayor said Council had now set aside $4 million for the project however, the opportunity to double that funding with a matching contribution from the Federal Government was something it could not pass up.
Mayor Campbell said he wanted to assure the KCCI that while progress on the CBD upgrade had been slow to date, it had not been shelved.
The project will upgrade ageing underground infrastructure in Kingaroy’s CBD, as well as above-ground parking, traffic flows and street architecture in an area roughly bounded by Kingaroy, Haly, Youngman and Alford streets.
The push to streamline and modernise the town’s CBD was first announced in June 2017.
Later that year, Council engaged consultants to help develop concepts for the project, and those initial plans were presented to Kingaroy residents and businesses in March 2018.
The Council then submitted a funding proposal to the BBRF seeking a 50 per cent co-contribution.
But matters ground to a halt in July 2018 when Council’s funding submission was declined.
Two months later, Council announced it would press on by setting aside $2 million a year from its 2018-19 and 2019-20 Budgets to build a $4 million “war chest” for the upgrade while it further refined its plans.
It also announced it would defer starting any work on the upgrade until it had secured extra funding.
This was because BBRF only funded “shovel ready” projects, which would make any work Council carried out in advance of receiving funding ineligible.
Council resubmitted its proposal to BBRF late last year and found out in March its second submission had also been rejected.
Mayor Campbell said at the time he was disappointed, but remained committed to securing additional funding whether that came from BBRF or other sources.
In August this year, the Council lodged a funding application with the State Government’s Building Our Regions (BOR) program to co-fund a $680,000 upgrade to Kingaroy’s Alford Street car park, along with a new $800,000 Liquid Waste Disposal facility that will be built near the Stuart River Rural Fire Brigade’s shed.
The outcome of that funding submission has not yet been announced, but if it is successful the Alford Street car park will be removed from the Kingaroy upgrade project.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, KCCI president Rob Fitz-Herbert thanked the Mayor for the update and said he shared the hope Council could be “third time lucky” on its Federal funding submission.
“Kingaroy looks tired and the CBD desperately needs upgrading,” Mr Fitz-Herbert said.
“So the quicker this can happen, the better.”