The peak body representing Queensland’s 77 councils is calling on the State and Federal governments to urgently begin rolling out economic stimulus to local government so new and returning mayors can start mitigating the local effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Greg Hallam said councils were asking the Palaszczuk Government to allocate $200 million to a statewide job-creating stimulus package modelled on the successful Works for Queensland program for all Queensland councils.
“But the bulk of the heavy lifting needs to come from the Commonwealth,” Mr Hallam said.
“They, through our income tax and other sources, raise more than 80% of government revenue.
“We are asking the Commonwealth for a $2 billion increase nationally to Federal Financial Assistance Grants to allow councils to sustain their workforces and to create further jobs.
“Queenslanders have had their say and put their faith in the leaders they want to guide them through the next four years and now it is time for the State and Federal governments to enable them to provide the frontline support and capacity to keep local communities focused and functioning.
“The newly elected local councils have a critical role to play in the delivery of essential services and in leading the local emergency response.
“Delivering stimulus programs directly through councils will mean we are able to provide the essential job security we need in the fastest and most effective way by ensuring the money quickly gets to where it needs to go.
“This is the time communities want to see governments working together. Let’s make sure this plan includes the level of government that is closest to where the real impacts are being felt.”
Mr Hallam said councils across Queensland supported 40,000 local jobs and they wanted to make sure that they could continue to do this while also supporting local economies that in turn support hundreds of thousands more.
“Councils want to play their part, but they only raise three per cent of all government revenue,” he said.