Critical on-the-ground improvements for Queensland communities have been left out of the State Government’s royalties carve up.
Local Government Association of Queensland President Mark Jamieson said while councils welcomed the State Budget spend on First Nations housing and grants, safe and reliable drinking water, biosecurity and funding to reform and improve their integrity framework, they will be let-down to see that critical support for Works for Queensland, roads and other programs have been left out.
“In times like these when the cost of living is such a concern for communities, it is the Works for Queensland program that is helping improve liveability by delivering parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, airport upgrades, road improvements and arts and culture precincts,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Works for Queensland is also creating thousands of jobs and thus providing employment to ease those cost of living pressures.
“Just 10 days’ worth of the State Government’s $5.7 billion extra progressive coal royalties earnings would have covered these community priorities but they have instead been ignored.
“Cost of living is critical, but so too is liveability. One does not have to come at the expense of the other.
“They will be let-down to see that critical extra support for Works for Queensland, roads and other programs has been left out.”
Mayor Jamieson said Works for Queensland has cemented itself as one of the most successful job-creation programs established by the State Government in partnership with local government, creating and supporting more than 21,000 jobs and enabling more than 2000 community projects.
“Without liveability, towns and regions will struggle to attract and hold workers and their families, including in the regions where these royalties were dug out of the ground in the first place,” he said.
“These jobs and projects have helped keep skilled and experienced workers and their families in the regions, something we need now more than ever.
“We will continue to argue for this funding because of the real difference it makes in our towns and regions – jobs for the people who live there and facilities that add to their quality of life – until it is properly and permanently funded.”
Mayor Jamieson said regional roads funding received a tiny top up – the first since 2015 – but was going backwards in real terms.
“TIDS – The Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme – is saving lives by helping build safer roads across regional Queensland,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This year, like every other year, we’ve asked that this program be properly funded, topped up and indexed annually at $100 million to make an even stronger contribution to lowering the road trauma felt by too many families. Building roads is expensive, and $70 million a year does not buy as much bitumen as it did in 2015.”
Mayor Jamieson said the LGAQ would continue to pursue increases for Works for Queensland, TIDS and the SEQ Community Stimulus Program, as well as the need to re-establish funding for building a pipeline of works, like the previous Maturing Infrastructure Pipeline Program, that would help deliver project planning that would drive the best possible value for money for councils and the State Government.
The Budget also contains youth crime measures and the LGAQ will be seeking more information for members, and with significant amounts of funding directed to the Olympics and Paralympics, the LGAQ will continue advocating for regional benefits from the event, as per a motion passed at the 2021 LGAQ Annual Conference.
“Youth crime is impacting local communities right across Queensland. LGAQ will be seeking more detail about the youth crime announcements in the budget. We believe that increased support for diversionary programs, early intervention and rehabilitation are all critical in preventing crime and keeping Queenslanders safe,” he said.
The LGAQ welcomed other funding including:
- An additional $6.9 million over four years and $1.8 million in ongoing funding to reform the Office of the Independent Assessor, implementing recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry last year. While this funding is welcome, we want to see legislative reforms in the Parliament as quickly as possible.
- $32.4 million over five years and $6.4 million a year ongoing to implement the Government response to the Commission of Inquiry Relating to the Crime and Corruption Commission and other reforms to enhance the operations of the Crime and Corruption Commission.
- $128.3 million to deliver the Second Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan (2024-2027) and $77 million to deliver additional social housing, expanding the QuickStarts program in First Nations communities.
- The top up to the new Indigenous Council Funding Program – which combines State Government Financial Aid, Revenue Replacement Program and Indigenous Economic Development Grant – with the extra, one-off, $25.8 million funding increase for the 2023-24 financial year, taking the total funding pool to $69.85 million, but it should be locked in, indexed and every year.
- $2.6 million towards a new and separate program to ensure access to safe and reliable drinking water, with rapid and detailed assessments of drinking water and water security risks for regional and remote communities.
- And a boost in biosecurity funding, with $21.7 million over five years and $2.8 million ongoing for preparedness for plant pests and diseases and other funding including $22 million over five years and $2.5 million per year ongoing to address increasing risks, including foot-and-mouth and lumpy skin disease and investment in innovative rapid detection tools for emergency animal disease incursion.
For more information, please contact:
Dan Knowles, Media Advisor