Agriculturally rich councils join to form lobby group

A NEW group of agriculturally-rich councils representing south-west Queensland will be headed by the mayor of Toowoomba.

Ten Queensland councils from Toowoomba westwards and south to the South Australian border will combine their forces to lobby the State and Federal Governments.

South-west Queensland Mayors (from left) Goondiwindi Regional Council Graeme Scheu, Maranoa Regional Council Robert Loughnan, Murweh Shire Council Denis Cook, Bulloo Shire Council John Ferguson , Paroo Shire Council Lindsay Godfrey, Toowoomba Regional Council Paul Antonio, Quilpie Shire Council Stuart Mackenzie, Balonne Shire Council Donna Stewart, Southern Downs Regional Council Peter Blundell and Western Downs Regional Council Ray Brown who will form the new Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors meet before the LGAQ Annual Conference in Toowoomba, Monday, October 19, 2015. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle
South-west Queensland Mayors (from left) Goondiwindi Regional Council Graeme Scheu, Maranoa Regional Council Robert Loughnan, Murweh Shire Council Denis Cook, Bulloo Shire Council John Ferguson , Paroo Shire Council Lindsay Godfrey, Toowoomba Regional Council Paul Antonio, Quilpie Shire Council Stuart Mackenzie, Balonne Shire Council Donna Stewart, Southern Downs Regional Council Peter Blundell and Western Downs Regional Council Ray Brown who will form the new Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors meet before the LGAQ Annual Conference in Toowoomba, Monday, October 19, 2015. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle Kevin Farmer

The Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors will be comprised of the Toowoomba, Goondiwindi, Quilpie, Western Downs, Balonne, Bulloo, Southern Downs, Murweh, Maranoa and Paroo councils.

Mayors from each council negotiated the deal today ahead of the 119th Local Government Association of Queensland's annual conference which will kick off in Neil St tomorrow.

The new group will cover about 25% of the land mass of Queensland and boasts about a quarter of Queensland's beef cattle.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio speaking before the LGAQ Annual Conference in Toowoomba.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio speaking before the LGAQ Annual Conference in Toowoomba. Kevin Farmer

About 80% of the state's grain and pulse is produced in those areas.

Cr Antonio said the job of the group would be to lobby the State and Federal Governments for a better deal for infrastructure.

"We have to make absolutely sure that we have the capacity to produce everything we possibly can and get it to the port (Port of Brisbane) as efficiently as possible," he said.

"The rail lines are an issue and we're now working on the issue of the rail siding at Oakey Abattoir, together with upgrading the tunnels on the way to Brisbane."

Cr Antonio said the regions had inappropriate infrastructure given their importance to the Queensland economy.



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