Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) this week approved changes and an extension to a policy that is designed to offer incentives for establishing business activity in designated townships across the region.

Council’s December Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday (December 17) approved a Planning and Development Committee recommendation that is designed to encourage business and industry development applications that are eligible for Council discounts under the Temporary Economic Development Incentives for District Townships policy.

TRC Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Chris Tait said the minor changes would ensure the policy continued to offer an incentive to boost growth across the region’s towns.

The revised policy excludes previous rural zones and applies to designated areas at Yarraman, Goombungee, Crows Nest, Hampton, Meringandan, Gowrie Junction, Kingsthorpe, Oakey, Jondaryan, Cecil Plains, Top Camp, Vale View, Wyreema, Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby, Clifton, Pittsworth, Millmerran, Gowrie Mountain, Kulpi and Haden.

Cr Tait said Council had reviewed the policy to ensure it explicitly applied to a range of business, industry, essential services (including vets and medical care services) and residential applications, especially retirement accommodation and residential care facilities.

“Council has decided to extend the policy to June 30, 2022,” Cr Tait said.

“Council will offer up to $1 million per financial year for the incentives program in a bid to drive development across our regional townships.

“Health services are not only the largest employer across the entire region, but often a major, if not the leading employer in our towns.

“Council feels it is timely and appropriate to extend these incentives to help people stay in their home districts where possible and promote an incentive for developments across the prescribed business and industry categories.

“There has been strong growth in residential care services and social assistance services across the region in recent years and Council is keen to see a greater uptake of this incentive policy to meet this demand and to cater for other business activity.”

Since 2015, the policy has assisted 34 developments in regional townships, for a total of $1.8 million in discounts.