Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox with Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe who was in Airlie Beach to discuss funding for COVID Works for Queensland projects.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox with Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe who was in Airlie Beach to discuss funding for COVID Works for Queensland projects.

Job-creating projects on cards after $2.72M given to region

MORE than 100 jobs are expected to be created from new projects in the region after Whitsunday Regional Council was granted $2.72 million to support coronavirus recovery.

The council was allocated the funding through the COVID Works for Queensland program and now it is being decided exactly how those funds will be used, based on the wishlist the council has submitted.

Upgrades to the Whitsunday Coast Airport roof, Bowen pool and a new playground in Cannonvale are some of the projects the council discussed with Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe, who visited the Whitsundays yesterday.

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Mayor Andrew Willcox said the council was focusing on using the funds to renew existing structures, rather than establish brand new ones.

"Because of the situation with COVID, we as a council have to pull our belt in," Cr Willcox said.

"It (the funding) has come at a great time because it's come before we hand down our budget."

Cr Willcox said he was not certain about the exact number of jobs to be created by the projects, but he expected it would be more than 100, covering areas such as construction.

Employing local residents was a priority, with Cr Willcox saying the projects would have an immediate effect as the funding was designed for projects that could be completed within 12 months.

"The community will see that economic impact straight away," he said.

"The whole region needs to share the love and see the benefit."

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe at Cannonvale Beach.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe at Cannonvale Beach.

Cr Willcox said the coronavirus situation was still fluid and implored residents to remain diligent while thanking them for all their efforts so far.

"We don't want to have a second wave or a relapse," he said.

"We've had no community transmission and we need to keep it like that.

"Easing restrictions has come off the back of what the community has contributed and achieving what we've done."

Mr Hinchliffe said it was important to meet with the council and discuss how the two levels of government could work together so the community could unite and recover through the pandemic.

"The pandemic is having widespread impact across the world, and these have been incredibly tough times for our communities as well as for the councils," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"Our councils are continuing to do an outstanding job by delivering services and infrastructure for their regions, towns and cities.

"Whitsunday Regional Council has been allocated $2.72 million through the COVID Works for Queensland program and it will go a long way to helping the community bounce back."

The funding builds on the $600 million Works for Queensland program, through which Whitsunday Regional Council has received $12.04 million, helping deliver 37 projects that have supported or created 398 local jobs so far.

Across the region, upgrades to footpaths and cycle paths, construction of playgrounds and BBQ areas, and the installation of solar power for council-owned buildings have been funded through the program.


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