THE future of mining towns such as Blackwater and Moranbah are up in the air following Premier Campbell Newman’s push to derail the influence of state planning power, the Urban Land Development Authority.
Mr Newman has clashed with the ULDA on several occasions, labelling it “undemocratic”, “unaccountable” and “unelected” most recently.
On Monday, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney confirmed the LNP had started the process of reviewing the authority’s powers.
“As part of its election commitment, the LNP Government has started the process to identify state planning powers that could be transferred to larger local governments,” Mr Seeney said.
“The government believes it is important to shift power back to local government and, where appropriate, give that tier of government the independence to make decisions for their local communities.
“A number of reviews are already underway to make this happen.”
Sections of Blackwater and Moranbah are currently under the control of the ULDA, which was brought in to facilitate the growing and urgent need for affordable housing.
The news of Mr Newman’s push to hand back powers to local governments comes at a time when ULDA projects are well underway in both towns.
Mr Seeney said the LNP saw an ongoing role for the ULDA “or some derivative” in the long term in smaller local governments, but he did not confirm what constituted a smaller or larger local government.
He did promise the ULDA would complete the projects which were already underway, including the Blackwater Urban Development Areas.
The ULDA refused to comment on what the minister said, but it did offer a rundown of the work being completed in Blackwater and Moranbah.
“In Blackwater, for example, work is continuing on Aurora Close – a development of 12 townhouses currently under construction in Arthur St, which will offer the Blackwater community affordable housing options, particularly key workers in the town whose wage levels are generally much less than the resource industry,” a spokesman said.
“The ULDA is also currently assessing an application of a new development in Blackwater which will deliver 171 residential lots to the market.
“The ULDA is also reinvesting $6 million in the resource communities of Blackwater, Moranbah and Roma to provide affordable housing where the supply and cost of housing is making it difficult for local residents on non-mining incomes to rent a home in the community that they live and work in.”