$4.6b bonanza: Projects that will deliver 29k jobs
Queensland's country communities, towns and industries have been ignored for too long, local councils say and will demand both Labor and the LNP sign up to their Bush Compact demanding changes and jobs for the regions.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) says Brisbane-based bureaucrats too often draft rules that hurt country areas.
"Queensland is the country's most decentralised state, so not every decision made with the stroke of a pen at 1 William Street is going to suit every community," LGAQ chief executive officer Greg Hallam said.
"These communities have their own unique challenges. They are the powerhouses of the state when it comes to industries like agriculture and resources.
"The compact is designed to ensure the unique challenges faced by rural and remote communities are front of mind for both Cabinet and the public service when creating policy and making decisions."
They have drawn up a list of projects that could create almost 29,000 jobs and add $4.6bn to the state economy.
On top of that are individual council hit lists with projects ranging from a kidney transplant centre in Cairns to a flood levee to protect homes and schools in Rockhampton to a plea from Gladstone for heavy vehicle road upgrades that could top $400m.
Townsville's minerals and manufacturing blueprint alone offers 14,990 construction, 5923 ongoing and 44,623 indirect jobs from projects that include Big Rocks Weir, CopperString 2.0, Hells Gate and Burdekin Falls dam works and agricultural diversification programs.
Councils are also calling for an annual State of our Bush Communities report card - an independent assessment of government programs and service delivery to rural and remote communities, as well as $100m to fix the water pipes that are bursting every 80 minutes across rural Queensland and continuing the successful Works for Queensland and Building our Regions schemes.
"Right now Queensland communities are looking for leadership and hope. They want a plan to create and support jobs and stimulate the economy as we face the worst economic crisis in generations. Queensland councils, as the level of government closest to the community, have developed a roadmap of catalytic projects spanning the state to do just that.
"These projects combined have the ability to create thousands of jobs across the state and to generate billions in economic benefit," Mr Hallam said.
"The LGAQ's state election priorities alone, including continuing the Works for Queensland program, have the ability to create and support about 29,000 jobs and generate more than $4.6bn in economic activity. Now it is up to Queensland's political leaders to back these projects and give local communities the support they need.
In northwest Queensland, each local adds $176,000 a year to the national economy from sectors including mining, agriculture and tourism that had continued through COVID, compared with $66,000 elsewhere in Queensland, Carpentaria Mayor Jack Bawden said.
"This is about building on what already exists, what already has been done or what already has been identified. The state would be in a pretty poor position right now without us, imagine what we could do with real, sustained investment."
Originally published as $4.6b bonanza: The projects that will deliver 29k jobs