The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has requested the Queensland Government restore funding to the Works for Queensland program, on behalf of 65 regional councils.
Works for Queensland has been funded at $100 million per year since it was first established in 2016-2017, but the annual commitment will drop to $70 million in 2022/23 and then to $30 million the following financial year – potentially creating 2000 fewer jobs.
LGAQ has provided a Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review (MYFER) submission to the State, requesting the Government commit to continue funding Works for Queensland at $100 million per year going forward.
Queensland councils that gathered in Mackay for the LGAQ’s 125th Annual Conference backed a motion calling for the funding to be restored.
LGAQ President, Mark Jamieson, said now is the time to give regional and rural councils confidence that Works for Queensland will be supported to do the job that it was created to do.
“This great partnership between the State and local councils – which has been applauded across the length and breadth of Queensland – was initiated by the Palaszczuk Government in late 2016 and since then, it has created and supported more than 26,000 jobs and funded more than 2300 projects,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Councils hold grave concerns that an upcoming reduction in Works for Queensland funding in the next State Budget will directly impact local workforces including tradies, artists and small businesses.
“It will mean fewer opportunities to deliver the critical infrastructure and community revitalisation projects that are helping to support our regions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The LGAQ is reinforcing its MYFER submission with a public campaign sharing stories of Works for Queensland funded projects with their significant community impact, along with the hashtag #BackTo100Mill.
Mackay Regional Council Mayor, Greg Williamson, said the State Government’s Works for Queensland program had been an extremely successful initiative for regional Queensland communities.
“We’ve been able to complete a range of job-creating projects aimed at improving liveability for residents in the Mackay region through this funding program,’’ Mayor Williamson said.
“Works for Queensland helps deliver smaller, but nonetheless important, projects that provide benefits for our community and we’d like to see it maintained at the level it has been at historically.”
Councils also voted to call on the State to maintain funding for a similar job-creation program targeting areas of high unemployment and disadvantage in South East Queensland – the SEQ Community Stimulus Package – at $50 million a year going forward.