The Palaszczuk Government’s 2019-20 Budget contains substantial commitments to help regional communities deal with an uncertain economic outlook and maintain jobs, according to the Local Government Association of Queensland.
LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said the continued commitment to the jobs-creating Works for Queensland program, payroll tax relief for regional small businesses and more funding for community and tourism infrastructure would all be welcomed by the State’s 77 local councils.
He said the Government had opted to keep a steady hand on the economic levers of the State at a time when natural disasters and a softening of the economy posed significant fiscal challenges.
“This is a solid Budget that will go some way to ensuring regional communities in Queensland continue to grow,” he said.
“However, with the economy far from powering along, it remains tough in those communities and the LGAQ will be looking to this Government to continue to do its bit to support the State’s heartland.”
“Further regional infrastructure pump priming may be required in the mid-term review or the next State Budget if the national economy continues to weaken.”
“Regional communities also face a looming water infrastructure challenge, both in terms of supply and treatment, and the LGAQ will want to work with the State to ensure access to safe, reliable and affordable water for all Queenslanders, regardless of where they live.”
That said, Mr Hallam welcomed the infrastructure investment focus on regional Queensland, including indigenous communities, and the Government’s decision to add $38 million over the next four years to the Disaster Resilience Fund.
“Councils stand with the State in calling for more commitment from the Federal Government to disaster mitigation funding,” he said.
“It makes no sense to replace a bridge or other asset destroyed by flood with new infrastructure that will be washed away again in the next flood.”
The Government continues to support vital programs like the Queensland Water Regional Alliances program (QWRAP), the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme, the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program, the Coastal Hazard Adaptation program (QCoast2100) and funding for disposing of metal waste in remote indigenous communities.