New Works for Queensland fund means no more croc swim risks

Queensland local governments welcome $200m Works for Queensland boost

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The construction of a splash park so children don't have to risk swimming with crocodiles to keep cool is among the 520 projects that will be built thanks to $200 million announced in the state government's COVID Works for Queensland program.

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Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher with Barcaldine Regional Council mayor Sean Dillon after inspecting a number of prior Works for Queensland projects in the community recently. Picture supplied.

Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher with Barcaldine Regional Council mayor Sean Dillon after inspecting a number of prior Works for Queensland projects in the community recently. Picture supplied.

The construction of a splash park so children don't have to risk swimming with crocodiles to keep cool is among the 520 projects that will be built thanks to $200 million announced in the state government's COVID Works for Queensland program.

The funding, which takes in every local government in the state, will see everything from upgrades to airport terminals in Rockhampton and Aurukun to refurbishments at the Birdsville Tourist Park undertaken with the money.

The money is boosting council budgets across the state, and the employment prospects for their communities, supporting or creating more than 4600 jobs.

"In Wujal Wujal, the construction of a splash park will mean children no longer have to take risks to keep cool with crocodiles in the Bloomfield River," Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson said.

"Outback and adventure tourism will build its ever-growing offering with Barcaldine Regional Council to use some of its funding allocation to develop the Barcy Red, an exciting new adventure for motorbike enthusiasts.

"This, combined with upgrades to rodeo grounds at Croydon, refurbishment of the Winton Showgrounds and a range of tourism projects planned by the Balonne Shire Council, will help further entice tourists to visit western Queensland.

"A new shade structure and disability chairlift for the Tambo Aquatic Centre will mean better access and amenity for residents, while at the Cassowary Coast, local artists and contractors will give the water and sewer facilities a new life and renewed vibrance through the installation of public art."

Cr Jamieson welcomed the funding announcement, saying it followed LGAQ's request for a $200 million extension of the successful Works for Queensland program in the association's Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities, launched in a bid for councils to help their communities weather the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We know this program works. That is why we asked the government to consider allocating the money, with the funding to flow to all 77 councils," Cr Jamieson said.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the programs were specifically designed to help councils get their communities back on their feet as quickly as possible and minimise any long-term effects of the global coronavirus pandemic, which was impacting economies around the world.

"The long-term economic benefits these projects will deliver is a fantastic outcome and will go a long way to helping Queensland unite and recover," he said. "This initiative builds on the wonderfully successful $600 million Works for Queensland program that has already created or supported more than 19,000 jobs throughout regional Queensland."

Projects are required to be completed by June 2021.

Cr Jamieson said the local government sector also looked forward to partnering with the state government on other Battleplan measures to continue the state's economic recovery.

Among the COVID recovery initiatives announced in recent weeks are the $500m federal Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program; the $1.5 billion shovel-ready Regional Economic Enabling Fund that is delivering a sealed Torrens Creek-Aramac Road among other things; the state's Building our Regions program approving 48 construction and planning projects for 39 councils, including a tourist lookout at Barcaldine; and $200m in state road funding projects, although much of it will bypass the state's south west.

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