We in local government have always known the difference we make to local communities, not just in providing the services and infrastructure they need, but also the jobs they need. Many councils across this state are their community’s main employer.
The latest LGAQ 2020 Annual Workforce Census is evidence of just how important a role you play in supporting and creating jobs. The census confirms that as COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the labour market this year, local government as an employer remained stable and even recorded an overall increase in employment numbers for the year.
This included an increase in full-time employees engaged as a result of stimulus and other community service activities performed by councils. The results show we are back to 2012 employment levels with 41,934 Queenslanders employed by councils across the state.
This is off the back of Works for Queensland funding as well as the additional COVID-19 stimulus funding secured by councils from both the State and Federal governments. It is fitting that these figures are available this week after Treasurer Cameron Dick handed down his first State Budget on Tuesday. That Budget contained continuing funding for Works for Queensland and the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme as well as funding for a stimulus program to address areas of high unemployment and disadvantage in South East Queensland.
We will always welcome funding for these crucial programs.
Works for Queensland has been one of the most successful job-creation partnerships between the State and councils. As the President Mayor Mark Jamieson said in his Budget reply statement on Tuesday afternoon, we will continue advocating to ensure this program is permanently and continuously funded at $100 million a year to ensure it can continue to create and support much-needed jobs across the state.
We will also continue to advocate for $50 million a year in ongoing stimulus funding for SEQ councils and for an increase to the TIDS funding so this program keeps pace with growth.
Finally, we again thank Deputy Premier Steven Miles for moving swiftly to amend the Local Government Act to once again ensure Mayoral vacancies that occur within the first 12 months of the term are filled via a by-election with councils to have the a choice as to whether councillor vacancies should be filled via a by-election or by the appointment of the runner up.
These amendments were passed by Parliament on Wednesday night, serendipitously, as Mayors and CEOS met with the Deputy Premier, Treasurer and their fellow Cabinet Ministers at Parliament.
Thank you to everyone who attended.