Critical funding announced for drought affected councils

Published Saturday, 26 September, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Jackie Trad

Projects fast-tracked to help drought hit councils

Longreach: Queensland councils dealing with crippling drought have receive a major boost with the injection of almost $12.5 million in grants for shovel ready projects that will support around 260 jobs in towns and regions doing it tough.

While in Longreach attending The Sunday Mail Bush Forum, Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said the Queensland Government were taking action to support Queenslanders with 26 drought declared councils given a desperately needed boost to begin 36 community projects.

“I am announcing these projects ahead of schedule, as I know towns and communities can’t wait," Ms Trad said.

"These successful projects are ready to go, these are infrastructure projects which will employ local people and help towns battle the economic blight of drought."

Councils estimate the projects will create almost 160 construction jobs and more than 100 on going jobs.

In Longreach, the council will receive a $140,000 subsidy for a tourism development at Mt Slocombe. ‘Hospitable Heartland’ is a natural attraction that supports the Yaraka Community to attract visitors. The project will provide better access to the site, an area for caravans and upgrades to the BBQ area and picnic shelter.

Cloncurry receives $200,000 to refurbish amenities and kiosk extension at the Cloncurry Recreational Grounds.

Winton, sees a subsidy of $1.2 million that will add to the funding for the reconstruction of the fire damaged Waltzing Matilda Centre. The new $18 million iconic building will provide 50 jobs during construction and 18 on going jobs in Winton as well as significant additional employment for local businesses servicing the tourism industry.

The Waltzing Matilda Centre attracted over 18,000 visitors last financial year adding over $2,160,000 to the local economy.

Other successful projects which will support job creation, retention of council employees and provide work for local contracting companies include:

• Town centre rejuvenation and beautification in Alpha, Stonehenge, St George and Windorah

• Upgrading community hubs including the Biloela Civic Centre, the Boulia Community Hall, Stanthorpe civic centre upgrade, Allora Community Hall and a new amenities block for the Blackall Racecourse Complex

• Recreation ground upgrades for Cloncurry, Quilpie, Hughenden

• Tourism project for Birdsville

• Swimming pool upgrades at Jericho, Barcaldine, St George

• Water supply projects in Injune, Moura, Murgon, Croydon Shire and Doomadgee

• Refurbishment of the Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Cherbourg

Parts of the Longreach Regional Council area have been drought declared for two years. Surrounding councils have been drought declared since January 2014 or earlier.

Across Queensland, just over $28 million was provided in Drought Relief Assistance Scheme in 2014-2015 with just over $2.7 million paid out in this financial year.

“The outlook for the coming summer continues to indicate dry conditions for most of Queensland,” Ms Trad said.

“We are supporting communities with these vital local initiatives. These projects mean local jobs and local spending which will help maintain vibrant towns and support economic development during these very tough times.”

The 2015-16 Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program emphasises job creation, contributing to building safe, caring and connected communities, and protecting natural and built environments.

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Media Contact: Deputy Premier’s Office 0488 996 667