$608 million battle plan to create 14,000 jobs amid pandemic
MORE than 14,000 new jobs would be created under a $608 million "battleplan" to fight the economic crisis Covid-19 has caused.
The Palaszczuk Government has been asked to fund the multi-million and multi-pronged plan councils from across the state have developed to create jobs, provide economic stimulus in their cities and towns and help them provide some relief to ratepayers.
It includes a $200 million new capital works plan, funding for a 3000-strong "green army" to protect and improve the environment for the tourism and agricultural industries, and training for 800 displaced workers through local government apprenticeships and traineeships.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker, who sits on the LGAQ policy executive, said the plan would help the communities remain "safe and strong" even as council budget bottom lines were hit.
Cr Baker said council workers were on the frontline of the government's response to the pandemic and it was time they received support from the State Government.
"Local government does a large amount of the heavy lifting," she said.
Now more than ever, Cr Baker said residents needed to be confident in councils' ability to provide public health services, including disaster management groups and waste and water services.
Cr Baker said LGAQ was forced to turn to the State Government after being cut out of Federal Government stimulus packages, including the JobKeeper program.
Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson said the package would create more than 14,000 jobs across the state and ensure regions could rebound from the crisis.
If accepted, Cr Jamieson said the stimulus measures could start rolling out within months.
"We have already shown how effective local government can be as a job generator when we partner with the state through the successful Works for Queensland program," the Sunshine Coast Council mayor said.
"(It will) kickstart hundreds of community-building programs to create jobs and provide essential local economic stimulus in our communities.
"Councils can ensure economic stimulus gets to where it is most needed to enable us to get through this crisis and come through the other side, stronger than before."
Cr Baker said jobs created in the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region would play a pivotal role in the state's recovery.
"(And) it's clear to see in regional and rural Queensland the results of coronavirus are much more minimal than out of the southeast corner."
Cr Jamieson said the LGAQ, which represents all 77 Queensland councils, would continue to lobby the Federal Government for local governments to be included in the JobKeeper program and a $2 billion boost to Financial Assistance Grants.
"We must look ahead to the next phase in this crisis, but we cannot do it alone," he said.