Our State and Federal Governments have done a sterling job to date in protecting the Australian population from the ravages of the Coronavirus as swiftly and as best they can.
The focus now must equally turn to the economy and providing stimulus to both protect and create jobs and to help mitigate the impacts of this evolving pandemic.
Councils stand at the ready to deliver that stimulus to communities across the state and the country.
This is classic Keynesian Economics. This economic theory saved us in part from the Great Depression. It is tried and true. Spend big and fast on local infrastructure to boost employment and keep money circulating in local communities.
The beauty of such stimulus programs is that all the money is spent quickly. Nothing is stashed away as can happen with personal stimulus cash payments to citizens who can choose to save the money instead.
Just as importantly, delivering stimulus to councils means urgently required civil works can be delivered.
There is not a local road in Australia that could not do with some special maintenance.
Every project councils can deliver will improve the liveability of local communities. It will be money well spent
The LGAQ is calling on the Commonwealth to immediately lift Financial Assistance Grant payments to councils to one per cent of total taxation or alternatively, to bring forward a one-off capital works or infrastructure maintenance projects for councils to the same value, but in bite size lots of between $1 million and $5 million, money that can be out the door and spent within six to nine months.
Councils have the ability to get the rubber on the road very quickly. We are shovel ready and we have a proud history of delivery.
We likewise ask the Queensland Government to double the Works for Queensland program, including a special one-off allocation for Southeast Queensland councils to inject momentum back into local economies.
This needs to happen and it needs to happen quickly. This money must go out the door by May to fund projects that can be completed later this year.
The LGAQ calls on Canberra and 1 William St to move quickly.
Councils are part of the solution to the serious economic challenges ahead.