Package to address regional unemployment welcomed
A $200 million funding package announced by the Palaszczuk Government as part of its Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review is set to support local councils undertaking job-creating, maintenance or minor infrastructure projects in regional Queensland.
The LGAQ has welcomed the announcement, saying it was delighted that the State had listened to its appeal to establish the program in response to high levels of unemployment currently being experienced by many Queensland communities.
LGAQ President Mayor Mark Jamieson said that the Works for Queensland program would provide an immediate shot in the arm for regional Queensland economies feeling the pinch of joblessness.
“Creating immediate new job opportunities in regions recording high levels of unemployment is an important way of ensuring we continue to prioritise the liveability of our local communities,” he said.
“The LGAQ’s submission to the Government on this issue highlighted unemployment rates of 13.2 percent, and youth unemployment rates as high as 30 percent in Queensland labour force regions this year,” he said.
The $200 million program is set to be funded from the State Infrastructure Fund and focus only on communities in need outside of South East Queensland.
Mayor Jamieson said that there was still work to be done to ensure SEQ councils were able to address pockets of joblessness in their own backyards.
“We know that the issue of unemployment does not necessarily stop at neatly defined local government borders.”
“This is an issue which is being felt in local Queensland communities right across the board.”
The Works for Queensland program, combined with funding measures announced in the 2016 State Budget has meant that the LGAQ has been successful in securing an additional $400 million in funds for Queensland councils this year.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006