LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has announced her support for the LGAQ’s jobs battleplan. Photo: Patrick Woods
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has announced her support for the LGAQ’s jobs battleplan. Photo: Patrick Woods

Councils gain ally in coronavirus jobs battle plan

THE LNP has backed a council "battle plan" to create more than 14,000 jobs across Queensland amid a health and economic crisis.

The Local Government Association of Queensland released its $608 million plan to revitalise projects across the state, including the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions.

In an email to each Queensland mayor, opposition leader Deb Frecklington announced her support for the plan on Tuesday afternoon.

"If the LNP is elected at the next state election we will implement the plan," Ms Frecklington wrote in a letter to Mackay Regional Council mayor Greg Williamson.

"We can't let a health crisis become an economic crisis as well. We are also mindful that the regions in particular are going it tough.

"Local decision making is crucially important to help local economies recover and we will partner with you to support shovel-ready projects and initiatives in your community."

The jobs battle plan for Queensland

Councils need to 'chip in' for battle plan

$608 million battle plan to create 14,000 jobs amid pandemic

LGAQ president Mark Jamieson said he was heartened by positive conversations with the Labor Government. Photo: John McCutcheon
LGAQ president Mark Jamieson said he was heartened by positive conversations with the Labor Government. Photo: John McCutcheon

The battle plan could find bipartisan support, as LGAQ president Mark Jamieson said he was heartened by positive conversations with the Labor Government.

"At the end of the day, this is about what is in the best interests of communities right across Queensland and it is great to see this being recognised by both major parties," the Sunshine Coast Council mayor said.

Once approved, Cr Jamieson said the economic relief would be immediate.

"This $608 million package of initiatives will enable councils to kickstart hundreds of community-building projects to create jobs and ensure money starts flowing to local businesses," he said.

"If funded, many councils could start creating jobs within weeks."

The LGAQ plan includes a $200 million new capital works plan, funding for a 3000-strong "green army" to protect and improve the environment for the tourism and agricultural industries, and training for 800 displaced workers through local government apprenticeships and traineeships.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe did not confirm if the government would also support the council battleplan.

"(But) we are working very closely with the LGAQ to identify specific projects in councils across the State so jobs can continue to be supported during this pandemic," he said.

"We are also exploring several options to give councils the confidence to keep staff in employment, including redeployment."

Mr Hinchliffe said relaxing reporting requirements projects in the Works for Queensland program and reducing the information needed when applying for grants would also assist councils during the crisis.