1000 jobs created as council hands down $50m COVID package
A MAMMOTH program approved by Western Downs Regional Council will create up to 1000 jobs, generate savings and slash costs to ratepayers.
Standing at George Anderson Park on Tuesday morning, recently re-elected mayor Paul McVeigh announced the historical $50 million Recovery Package, an ambitious plan to drag the Western Downs region out of the economic woes created by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The mayor claimed the stimulus package was the largest spend of any council west of the Toowoomba Range, with some of the projects being jointly funded by state and federal governments.
"It's a $50 million spend to create jobs, to underpin our local economy and really support our local community in these really tough times with COVID-19," Cr McVeigh said.
"This is probably the largest input of funds from any council, certainly west of the range that we're going to put into our communities."
Council will spend over $14.8 million on accelerating major infrastructure projects such as resealing roads and footpath upgrades.
A further $33.5 million will be spent on major projects including upgrades to Lake Broadwater, Thomas Jack Park and mountain bike trails at the Bunya Mountains.
With the coronavirus pandemic creating economic turmoil and shutting down entire industries throughout the past five weeks, the council will ease the financial burden for ratepayers by extending the discount period on all general rates until June 30.
Retail and business operators across the Western Downs will also be eligible for a 50 per cent rate rebate.
Struggling community and sporting groups are also eligible to share in $300,000 hardship and assistance grant for the hardest hit organisations.
Registration fees for desexed dogs will also be waived until 30 June 2021.
Works will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in 12 months.