‘Battleplan’ for 14,000 new jobs amid COVID-19 downturn
MORE than 14,000 new jobs would be created under a $608 million "battleplan" to fight the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 from the Cape to Coolangatta.
The Palaszczuk Government has been asked to fund the multi-pronged plan drawn up by councils from across the state to create jobs, provide economic stimulus in their cities and towns and help them provide some relief to ratepayers.
It 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.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has asked the State for the money as Queensland councils experience devastating losses, including one western Queensland council that's lost $1 million in "grey nomad" camping fees, which is more than it collects in rates in a year.
"This battleplan is not a handout for councils but rather a hand up for communities and a bridge to better times," LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said.
Half of the $200 million capital works program to build and improve roads, bridges, parks and water infrastructure would be spent in the southeast, while bushfire mitigation to get the state ready for the next fire season would form an integral part of the Green Army's work.
And apprenticeships and traineeships on offer would be across all trades, allowing hundreds of people who've lost their jobs in the coronavirus downturn to re-skill and find a new career.
Mr Hallam said jobs could be on offer within months if the Palaszczuk Government gave the green light.
"It is fast and furious but also local and logical at the same time. It will complement the good work already being done by the State," he said.
"Queensland councils are ready, willing and able to play their part.
"They have the ideas and projects to make a flying start.
"Councils have a critical contribution to make in the economic recovery of their communities, as well as the recovery of the state and the nation."
LGAQ president Mark Jamieson said local governments had been left devastated by a federal government decision to leave them out of the JobKeeper program and continued to lobby for more federal Financial Assistance Grant money.
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Originally published as 'Battleplan' for 14,000 new jobs amid COVID-19 downturn