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Councils devise COVID-19 battleplan

COVID-19 battleplan
The Local Government Association of Queensland has released a COVID-19 battleplan for Queensland’s local communities.

Councils across Queensland have devised a job-creating COVID-19 battleplan to create thousands of jobs and protect local communities amid the evolving public health crisis.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey, who serves on the Local Government Association of Queensland policy executive, said the $608 million Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities would create more than 14,000 jobs statewide to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 battleplan has been submitted to the State Government for consideration. It includes job-creating initiatives such as:

  • Jobs recovery package: A $200 million statewide job creation program modelled on the successful Works for Queensland initiative to support more than 8000 jobs.
  • Green Army: A 3000-strong workforce focused on protecting and improving the environment across the state for the benefit of critical sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
  • Local Government Apprenticeship and Traineeship Guarantee: Providing 800 new or displaced workers with a guaranteed pathway to gain critical experience and skills.

“Funding this package will enable local governments to kickstart hundreds of community-building programs to create jobs and provide essential local economic stimulus in our communities,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Councils stand ready to partner with the State Government to roll out a range of stimulus measures that would enable crucial jobs to be created within months.

“Councils are already on the frontline and have been doing what they can to support vulnerable households and businesses through a wide range of initiatives, such as not pursuing outstanding rates, waiving certain fees and charges and accelerating payments to local suppliers to keep money circulating in the community.”

Mayor Dempsey said Councils are playing an important role in the local disaster responses, maintaining essential public health services like safe drinking water and rubbish collection.

“At the same time, we are working hard to sustain our 40,000-strong local government workforce across the state – all critical to supporting local economies and communities,” he said.

“The Commonwealth, the level of government best resourced to ensure local government is properly funded to meet demand during this crisis, has knocked back a request to include councils in its JobKeeper program and, in doing so, has made our task that much harder.

“Councils are now seeking to work with the State to fill some of that gap.”

Mayor Dempsey said Councils can play a crucial role in supporting a community-led recovery.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“We are putting on the table real options that can be implemented straight away.

“Real options that will provide value, hope and opportunity for many who have been hurt badly during this pandemic.

“We must look ahead to the next phase in this crisis, but we cannot do it alone.

“By working together, the State and councils can ensure Queenslanders weather this COVID-19 storm and emerge from it in the strongest position possible.”

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