Councils devise battleplan to create jobs amid COVID-19 shutdown

Published: 20th April 2020

Councils across Queensland have devised a job-creating COVID-19 battleplan to create thousands of jobs and protect local communities from the Cape to the Coast amid the evolving public health crisis.

Local Government Association of Queensland President Mark Jamieson said the $608 million Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities – which has been put to the State Government for consideration – would create more than 14,000 jobs statewide to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and the national public health directions and ensure the state can build back, better.

The Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities includes job-creating initiatives such as:

  • Jobs Recovery Package: A $200 million statewide job creation program modelled on the successful Works for Queensland initiative to support more than 8,000 jobs, with $100 million earmarked for the state’s southeast.
  • Green Army: A 3,000-strong workforce focused on protecting and improving the environment across the state for the benefit of critical sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
  • Local Government Apprenticeship and Traineeship Guarantee: Providing 800 new or displaced workers with a guaranteed pathway to gain critical experience and skills.

“Funding this package will enable local governments to kickstart hundreds of community-building programs to create jobs and provide essential local economic stimulus in our communities,” Mayor Jamieson said.

Mayor Jamieson said councils stood ready to partner with the Palaszczuk Government to roll out a range of stimulus measures that would enable crucial jobs to be created within months.

“Councils are already on the frontline and have been doing what they can to support vulnerable households and businesses through a wide range of initiatives, such as not pursuing outstanding rates, waiving certain fees and charges and accelerating payments to local suppliers to keep money circulating in the community,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Councils are playing an important role in the local disaster responses, maintaining essential public health services like safe drinking water and rubbish collection. At the same time, they are working hard to sustain their 40,000-strong local government workforce – all critical to supporting local economies and communities.

“The Commonwealth, the level of government best resourced to ensure local government is properly funded to meet demand during this crisis, has knocked back a request to include councils in its JobKeeper program and, in doing so, has made our task that much harder.

“Councils are now seeking to work with the State to fill some of that gap.

“We believe there is a crucial role councils can play in supporting a community-led recovery. Councils can ensure economic stimulus gets to where it is most needed to enable us to get through this crisis and come through the other side, stronger than before.

“We have already shown how effective local government can be as a job generator when we partner with the State through the successful Works for Queensland program.

“We are putting on the table real options that can be implemented straight away.

“Real options that will provide value, hope and opportunity for many who have been hurt badly during this pandemic.

“We must look ahead to the next phase in this crisis, but we cannot do it alone.

“By working together, the State and councils can ensure Queenslanders weather this COVID-19 storm and emerge from it in the strongest position possible.”

Mayor Jamieson said the LGAQ would continue to lobby the Commonwealth to play its part through initiatives like boosting Financial Assistance Grants by $2 billion nationally.

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Vogler, Media Executive
Local Government Association of Queensland