LGAQ's Mark Jamieson.
LGAQ's Mark Jamieson. Patrick Woods

The $608 million battleplan to shore up jobs in Queensland

COUNCILS  across Queensland have devised a job-creating Covid-19 battleplan in a move to encourage the State Government to help provide local jobs amid the current health crisis.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier this month that councils would not be eligible for the JobKeeper program, saying help for councils was a task that would fall to states and territories instead.

The JobKeeper program allows some businesses to apply for funding to help pay workers while suffering a downturn.
It's a move expected to save six million Australian jobs.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, local councils employ 190,000 people nationally.

Bundaberg Regional Council is the region's largest employer, with around 900 staff on its books.

Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson said the $608 million Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities - which has been put to the State Government for consideration - would create more than 14,000 jobs statewide to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and its subsequent impact on employment.

The plan includes initiatives such as:

• Jobs recovery package: A $200 million statewide job creation program modelled on the successful Works for Queensland initiative to support more than 8000 jobs, with $100 million earmarked for the state's southeast.

• Green army: A 3000-strong workforce focused on protecting and improving the environment across the state for the benefit of critical sectors such as agriculture and tourism.

• Local government apprenticeship and traineeship guarantee: Providing 800 new or displaced workers with a guaranteed pathway to gain critical experience and skills.

"Funding this package will enable local governments to kickstart hundreds of community-building programs to create jobs and provide essential local economic stimulus in our communities," Mr Jamieson said.

He said councils stood ready to partner with the state to roll out stimulus measures that would create jobs in just months.

LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam said Queensland's local communities needed all the help they could get.

"Councils across the state continue to answer the call in the best way they can, leading local disaster responses and providing rates and fee relief where possible," he said.