Investing in a strong future for Western Queensland
The importance of working together to secure a strong future for Western Queensland topped the agenda at the inaugural assembly of the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils (WQAC), as Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz and Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud addressed the inaugural assembly of the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils.
Mr Buchholz said the Australian Government was committed to working with all levels of government to continue delivering on its significant investment in transport infrastructure across Western Queensland.
“We are continuing to roll out projects right across Western Queensland as part of our record $100 billion infrastructure investment pipeline, which is creating jobs and stimulating regional economies while delivering the infrastructure needed to get people home sooner and safer,” Mr Buchholz said.
“This includes Roads of Strategic Importance upgrades that will cut business costs to support Western Queensland’s future prosperity. These upgrades include the Townsville to Roma, Mt Isa to Rocky, Cairns to Northern Territory border and Tennant Creek to Townsville corridors.
“Having worked in the freight industry for a number of years, I know how essential safe and efficient road networks are for our regional producers to get their products to market and entire communities to stay connected with jobs, services and each other.
“I also know how vital it is to work with and back our local councils to help achieve this, which is why we recently announced a new $500 million Australian Government Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program.
“This funding will allow local councils to deliver priority road and community infrastructure projects in their areas to improve road safety, bolster the resilience of our local road networks and keep people in jobs and local construction businesses running during COVID-19.
“Whether you are a truckie hauling local goods across long interstate journeys or a family taking a quick trip to the local shops, our priority is clear – we want to see all Australians using our roads get home safely at the end of each day.
“This means continuing to work closely with all levels of government, particularly local councils and organisations such as WQAC, to deliver on our investments and secure a safer, stronger future for Western Queensland.”
Mr Littleproud said the Government’s commitment to standing side by side with Western Queensland communities extended to support for emergency responses such as to drought and flood.
“Speaking with the councils highlighted how communities right across Queensland continue to demonstrate amazing spirit and resilience as they support each other through drought, the recent bushfires and now the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Standing together is important now more than ever and these communities can rest assured the Government continues to have their back, with money already flowing through investments such as our $8 billion drought support package.
“This includes our Drought Communities Programme Extension, which has provided a total of $32 million in much-needed financial assistance across 16 Western Queensland councils to deliver local projects that will boost local employment and procurement, keep money flowing through businesses and address community needs.
“We have a long-running commitment to supporting local governments, recognising the important role they play in delivering vital services and ensuring quality of life for Australian communities.
“That is why we once again pre-paid $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grants to all councils across the country, allowing them to spend the grants according to local priorities at a time it’s needed most – helping them manage the cumulative impacts of drought, bushfires and now the COVID-19 crisis.
“We will continue to work closely with our local councils to ensure projects under all of these initiatives continue to get underway and supporting communities. Together, we will overcome the current unprecedented challenges to ensure Western Queensland bounces back stronger than ever.”
Mr Buchholz – Scott O’Connell | 0413 424 384
Mr Littleproud – Doug Ferguson | 0455 448 985