Under the backdrop of the worst economic disaster in a generation, Queensland’s ongoing recovery efforts from the 2019 bushfires continue with a $36.8 million investment to support the state’s most heavily bushfire-impacted communities.
The Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) will administer the $36.8 million Local Economic Recovery Fund, which is jointly delivered by the Australian and Queensland Governments on a 50/50 basis through Category D of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Councils and state agencies within 13 local government areas can apply for up to $5 million in funding, including Bundaberg, Gladstone, Gympie, Ipswich, Livingstone, Lockyer Valley, Mareeba, Noosa, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the bushfires of 2019 had a devastating and ongoing impact on many Queenslanders.
“This bushfire recovery funding is about ensuring the recovery of the most heavily impacted communities can continue, especially in light of the COVID-19 situation,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Today’s announcement is part of the Commonwealth’s $448.5 million commitment to fund recovery projects around Australia so towns and regions can get back on their feet following last summer’s fires.
“The allocation to Queensland will see more than $36 million shared between projects in the 13 most heavily impacted local government areas, supporting their local economic recovery.
“This joint funding is for projects that support local and regional recovery, with funding allocated based on community needs.
“That could be economic or social, in relation to the rebuilding of infrastructure, or to do with the natural environment,” he said.
“Local councils will have a key role in putting the right projects forward and I encourage communities to engage with their local council on recovery priorities.”
Queensland Treasurer and Minister responsible for the QRA Cameron Dick said the Local Economic Recovery Fund would prove crucial in helping Queensland bounce back from one of its toughest ever periods.
“The crippling economic effects we’re now seeing as a result of COVID-19 have only added more stress to parts of our state that were already pushed to the limits,” Mr Dick said.
“Battling severe bushfires in 2019, and drought for an extended period before that, these affected regions were hurting long before the current pandemic arrived.
“That’s why we’re getting this funding out the door fast, to create more work in communities as we Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.
“Our government is focused on delivering its economic recovery plan for Queensland, and this funding partnership with the Commonwealth will be a real boost to our ongoing efforts.
“Every project backed through this fund will help Queensland businesses, workers and families,” he said.
“So whether an eligible council or state agency is looking to build or strengthen infrastructure, deliver local support services or host community activities and events, I encourage them to submit an expression of interest.”
For more information on the Local Economic Recovery Fund, including details on how to apply, visit qra.qld.gov.au/LER.
Expressions of interest can be made until 7 September 2020.