By Steven Miles MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
It’s fair to say that while 2020 presented many unprecedented challenges, it also showed we have the ability to overcome any difficulties when we work together for our communities. Side by side, we are keeping every town, city and region in Queensland safe from the pandemic and largely untouched compared with the rest of the world. Much of this success is a direct result of the exceptional leadership shown by Queensland’s mayors and hardworking councils. You deserve the gratitude of all Queenslanders in helping the State Government put the health of Queenslanders above all else when it mattered most. Having led Queensland’s health response, I’m now excited to work with you on Queensland’s economic recovery.
I want to make sure our regions are growing and that we continue the strong relationships we have built with Mayors during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s those strong relationships that put Queensland in a good position to respond to the pandemic. I want to make sure that Queensland continues to make the most of its potential to build industry confidence, generate jobs and economic growth and maximise the potential of our great regions. We know how important local governments are in economic recovery. That’s why the Palaszczuk Government has appointed Nikki Boyd as Assistant Minister for Local Government. I know Nikki is passionate, hard-working, an excellent choice for the role and will represent the government well in working with you.
I also know Damien Walker, the Director-General of the newly formed Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, will be outstanding in the position. He has many years’ experience working with regional communities, particularly in relation to regional tourism as well as being the Government champion for Kowanyama. It’s vital we have greater diversity on our councils to truly reflect the communities they represent. Women currently only make up 37 percent of councillors and 27 percent of mayors in Queensland. That’s why we’ve has recently launched the ‘Women Leading in Local Government’ program. The program is designed to support women councillors to lead their communities confidently and courageously through challenging times.
I’m looking forward to seeing this program kick-off. At the election, we committed to continue to deliver the government's signature Works for Queensland program. We will continue to create jobs and deliver infrastructure where they are most needed through a further $400 million over six years. We have also committed $200 million over six years to support South East Queensland councils, through a new community stimulus program. Together we can make a real difference by strengthening local economies, creating jobs, attracting visitors, and driving population growth in communities throughout Queensland. No doubt we have a lot of work to do to recover from 2020, but the future looks bright as we face it together. I am excited to be on this journey with you as we work together for the benefit of all Queenslanders.