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Battleplan will Create Jobs and New Tourism Offerings for Somerset

SOMERSET Regional Council has identified dozens of projects ready to deliver under Local Government Association of Queensland’s job-creating $608 million Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities.

Published: 16th May 2020

SOMERSET Regional Council has identified dozens of projects it stands ready to deliver under the Local Government Association of Queensland’s job-creating $608 million Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities.

Councils across Queensland have been compiling their local battleplans in a bid to secure critical economic stimulus from the State Government to help their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said Council had dozens of shovel-ready projects including major road infrastructure improvement projects, which – if funded – would create more than 100 full time jobs through construction phases and generate millions more into the regional economy.

“Our council prides itself on delivering a road network that supports our rural industries, increases productivity and above all else, is safe,” Cr Lehmann said.

“One of the key shovel ready projects we have put forward is to improve the safety and productivity link of Lowood Minden Road in south east Queensland.

“This project alone is estimated to cost just over $10million but Council is ready and willing to commit millions to seeing this project completed.”

Cr Lehmann said the road between Lowood and Minden was one of regional significance.

“The $10.2 million construction activity associated with developing the project is expected to support a total of $15.9 million in output for businesses in the Somerset area, of which $9.1million will be supported directly through construction phased activity,” he said. 

“This level of business activity is estimated to support, including direct and flow-on impacts, $8 million in Gross Regional Product (GPD) for the regional economy and 41 jobs paying $4 million in wages and salaries.”

Council has also put forward the development of an economic development response plan to develop and fast-track implementation of a regional economic strategy to support local business and tourism operators hurting from COVID.

“Our community relies heavily on visitors to the region and with the travel restrictions implemented across the country, these industries came to a screaming halt,” Cr Lehmann said.

“We need to be at the ready to help our key industries recover and give small businesses and the community the boost they need.

“We can be doing this work now and setting ourselves up for a better future.”

Other battleplan ready projects for Somerset include:

  • Strengthening 17 timber concrete hybrid bridges to support rural industries
  • Drought Solutions – Lowood to Fernvale Recycled Water Pipeline
  • Job Recovery – Creation of 30 plus trainee roles to facilitate new generation of skilled workers and tradespeople  
  • Nature Centre at Kilcoy – Unique and exciting tourism and learning experience

Local Government Association of Queensland President Mayor Mark Jamieson said councils stood at the ready to help Queensland meet the challenges of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 with the LGAQ’s battleplan to create more than 14,000 jobs.

Key initiatives to be funded under the battleplan include:

  • Jobs Recovery Package: A $200 million statewide job creation program modelled on the successful Works for Queensland initiative to support more than 8,000 jobs, with $100 million earmarked for the state’s southeast.
  • Green Army: A 3,000-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.

“The battleplan’s programs will provide a critical boost to the construction, tourism, small business and agricultural sectors,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“They will provide apprenticeships and traineeships for those looking to enter the workforce for the first time or to retrain. They will create work for local businesses, contractors and labourers.

“They will ensure Queensland communities not only weather the COVID-19 storm but emerge from it stronger than before.”

Mayor Jamieson welcomed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s public commitment to working with the Association and its member councils to identify shovel-ready projects across the state to aid the economic recovery.

He also reiterated his thanks to Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington for her support for the LGAQ’s $608 million Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities.

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