News that the PM is considering a billion dollar plus economic stimulus plan to ensure fire impacted regions do not go into recession with the compounding impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19), is being welcomed by Livingstone Shire Council.
Mayor Bill Ludwig, in his capacity as Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) said the possibility of a rural road construction lead economic recovery plan has moved another step closer with the foreshadowed billion dollar stimulus announcement.
“Council responded quickly to the announcement, identifying road projects that were shovel ready for immediate construction should funding be made available,” Mayor Ludwig said.
“If this funding becomes available it will come on top of the Federal Government’s grant to LSC last year of $21.6M to upgrade and fully seal approximately 40kms of currently unsealed gravel sections of Stanage Bay Road to b-double standard. This project is now well advanced and is ready to begin rolling out by July this year.
“Combined with the foreshadowed stimulus package this could see the total value of rural road projects underway across Livingstone Shire top $30M before September this year.
“I would like to commend Michelle Landry for her prompt action in contacting us, and Council’s Infrastructure Department for compiling the list of potential candidate roads for consideration from our priority construction list as well as the roads put forward recently by Rural Fire Brigades.
“Creating the jobs and economic stimulus needed to replace lost primary production capacity has been identified as being of paramount importance and a key element to getting Livingstone Shire’s economy back on track following the recent Cobraball fire event.
“In the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Marcia, Livingstone secured $39 million of Federal and State extraordinary funding to develop our ‘world-class’ foreshore.
“This funding not only reinvigorated our tourism industry, but it also created the construction jobs to provide the immediate economic stimulus we needed at the time.
“The primary criteria to secure immediate funding now is for projects to be ‘shovel ready’ and because Livingstone has been very pro-active, we are in an excellent position to ensure any available funding can start flowing as quickly as possible.”
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the silver lining in crises such as these, highlight the goodwill and coordinated efforts across communities, industry and government to rebuilding a more resilient Australian tourism sector.
"The Federal Government is doing their part in supporting local communities impacted by bushfires including a $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund, an initial $76 million tourism recovery package and $10 million in Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants,” Ms Landry said.
"I have also been in contact with all local councils in Capricornia for an update on shovel-ready projects in their respective areas.
"The Federal Government is working on a targeted, responsible and scalable series of measures that are designed to keep business in business and Australians in jobs. A package of measures can be expected to be announced in the next couple of weeks, well before the Budget.”