Bundy council responds to State Government’s COVID-19 package
THE State Government’s Economic Recovery Strategy will have significant impact for local governments, but Bundaberg Regional Council has yet to determine the direct impact on the region once it has been passed in the parliament.
Queensland Government’s COVID-19 economic response includes $400 million for a roads upgrade package, $100 million for regional infrastructure, and an additional $200 million for the Works for Queensland scheme, which already funded councils to build projects as a way of protecting and increasing regional employment.
Burnett MP Stephen Bennett said the funding package will be debated in parliament on Thursday, but said he was still reading the information he had about it, which was“quite complicated”.
He so far supported it in principle but said there still needed to be scrutiny into the financial details.
“We don’t want to see taxpayers’ money and borrowed money wasted, and that’s the problem with some government stimulus,” Mr Bennett said.
“Sometimes it’s not as good as it can be but in essence what I heard read out today (Tuesday) pretty much was following where we were going and what we’ve been calling for.”
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said he welcomed any extra funding that was given to local governments.
“This is the first assistance from state or federal government to local councils during the coronavirus pandemic,” Cr Dempsey said.
“We thank Local Government Association of Queensland for their advocacy and look forward to a similar package of assistance from the Federal Government in coming weeks.”
The advocacy that Cr Dempsey referred to was part of the LGAQ’s statewide “battleplan” it had been lobbying for.
Bundaberg Regional Council’s own project wishlist it included as part of the plan requested streetscape improvements in front of the rum distillery, funding for an Anzac Park water recreation facility, and for high speed internet.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government had listened to the LGAQ and to Queensland’s mayors, and said the package was about getting people into jobs quickly, while also supporting the tourism and local manufacturing sectors.
“Queenslanders work best when we work together, and today is sending a very strong message to Queenslanders that we are all here for you,” she said.
“We are going to get through this.
“We have done a terrific job in combating the virus. We have kept our numbers incredibly low.
“But we have to listen to health advice in terms of lifting our restrictions to go through the path of recovery. Now is really important that we all work together.”