Integrating Regional and Infrastructure Planning: Lessons From South East Queensland, Australia

Integrating Regional and Infrastructure Planning: Lessons From South East Queensland, Australia

Michael Regan (Bond University, Australia) and Bhishna Bajracharya (Bond University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-775-6.ch018
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Abstract

Economic and social infrastructure provision presents a conundrum for urban planners, especially in high growth regional economies experiencing strong population growth, increasing demand for infrastructure services and limits to the state’s capacity to sustain long-term investment strategies. This chapter considers the South East Queensland (SEQ) regional economy and the policy decisions taken in recent years to embed and integrate both regional planning and regional infrastructure investment strategies through statutory SEQ Regional Plan and SEQ Infrastructure Plans and Programs. This case study examines the benefits from this integrated approach, as well as the challenges facing the region. Some of the benefits of the integrated approach include land use transport integration, strategic approach to infrastructure provision, alignment of infrastructure planning with budgetary processes, and greater certainty for investments in the regional economy. The challenges for integrated planning are also numerous, and include: ensuing close co-operation between three levels of government and private sector, reconciling long term infrastructure planning with short term political imperatives, managing future uncertainty and financing future investments in land use and infrastructure.
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Introduction

Economic and social infrastructure provision presents a conundrum for urban planners especially in high growth regional economies experiencing strong population growth, increasing demand for infrastructure services and limits to the state’s capacity to sustain long-term investment strategies. A central question here is whether the state should take a supply-led approach to infrastructure provision that is carefully integrated with long-term planning objectives, or whether it adopts a demand response strategy that involves medium-term planning and demand management to resolve short-term supply problems. A complicating factor here is the important role that infrastructure plays in regional economies. The evidence suggests that investment is a key driver of regional economic development and makes an important contribution to output capacity, growth, productivity, private costs, incomes and the spatial distribution of industry. Investment in social infrastructure assists human capital development and quality of life. It is against this background that we consider the South East Queensland regional economy (SEQRE) and the policy decisions taken in recent years to embed and integrate both regional planning and regional infrastructure investment strategies through the statutory SEQ Regional Plan 2005-2026 (SEQRP) and SEQ Infrastructure Plan and Program 2008-2026 (SEQIPP). A long-term fiscal policy approach is addressing long-term infrastructure service needs within a comprehensive and embedded approach to planning.

The main objective of the chapter is to evaluate the integrated planning approach in South East Queensland. The chapter first provides an overview of the South East Queensland regional economy, followed by the critique of the SEQRP and annual SEQIPP. The chapter delves into several issues such as: land use; transport integration; alignment of regional planning and strategic infrastructure planning; and links between infrastructure, economic and urban development. The chapter highlights both the strengths of the integrated approach taken by the Queensland Government, as well as the planning challenges facing the region.

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