State Budget boosts local jobs

Article image - State Budget boosts local jobs

The Palaszczuk Government has announced the 2017-18 State Budget is giving regional Queensland a major boost with $200 million over two years earmarked for the Works for Queensland program.

Local councils have warmly welcomed the funding for the highly successful job-creating program, which is part of a total $400 million in new investment for local governments.

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) said the continuation of the Works for Queensland program would create thousands of jobs across local communities and kick-start hundreds of infrastructure projects.

LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said the move was especially pleasing because it topped the list of Budget proposals the LGAQ submitted to Treasurer Curtis Pitt several weeks ago.

Other successful funding bids for the LGAQ include: more funding to strengthen community infrastructure against natural disasters, the expansion of a program to help ensure local communities are resilient to climate change and a major boost to funding for infrastructure and economic development programs in indigenous communities.

Mr Hallam said another big win for indigenous local governments was the restoration of funding for the State Government Financial Aid program which had been cut under the previous Newman government.

“That rights an historical wrong. All up, this is a Budget that is well-considered and well-targeted to helping those regional communities that need it most.’’

He said extending the Works for Queensland program would ensure local councils were able to continue being a key driver of job creation in Queensland.

The Works for Queensland program has already allowed councils to embark on more than 720 infrastructure projects, supporting nearly 6,000 jobs.

“Our Budget submission was targeted at building on the success stories that Works for Queensland has produced and supporting local governments as ideal partners with the State Government in the challenging task of job creation.

“As the level of government closest to the community, strong local employers and reliable drivers of regional economies, councils are best placed to deliver initiatives aimed at bolstering local jobs growth, designing smart cities, improving water and wastewater services and pursuing economic development opportunities.”