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State Government plans new tolls to help fund infrastructure

CM streets ahead 316 x 237 story image

How Brisbane's future road network links up.

FIRST-home buyers will be given an incentive to live in the regions but could be slugged with new charges if they prefer the southeast corner.

Premier Anna Bligh yesterday detailed the Government's plan to tackle Queensland's rapid growth following this year's population summit.

The centrepiece of the plan is a $4000 boost to the first-home buyers grant for people buying newly constructed houses and apartments in the regions.

However, those who buy in new greenfield development sites in the outer areas of the southeast are faced with paying tolls to get in and out of their homes.

Also, a significant part of the Government's strategy has been focused on Townsville, which has been previously mooted as the state's second capital. The north Queensland city will be the subject of a new regional plan and is likely to be the initial destination for Brisbane-based public servants who are moved under the Government's latest decentralisation strategy.

In total, the Government outlined 22 new initiatives and 25 supporting actions to tackle Queensland's growth.

Ms Bligh said the Government's response to the summit heralded a new era of growth management.

"We think it's worth trying new ideas to encourage more people to look at regional towns and cities where they do want more growth, where they need new workers for big projects," she said.

The first-home buyers' boost will take to $11,000 the grant for those buying new houses outside the southeast.

The Government has budgeted $7.2 million for the boost, meaning it is expecting to fund about 1800 homes a year.

However, the Government flagged the controversial move of funding roads to new developments by tolling residents.

According to the response paper, the Government will "investigate options (such as tolling policies) to fund infrastructure in greenfield sites that are isolated and therefore rely on extremely high levels of state investment".

Such toll roads could be built for new satellite cities planned as part of the Government growth strategy in the Ripley Valley and at Yarrabilba and Flagstone. But the Government insisted its existing policy of maintaining a free road transport option would remain.

Urban Development Institute of Australia chief Brian Stewart was unconcerned about the prospect of more toll roads given the real problem was getting the infrastructure built.

"What is very disappointing is the Government hasn't come up with a solution and all it will do is hold another review."