Leaders from North West Queensland have welcomed some good news from the 2020 State Budget, but highlight the missed opportunities to invest in the North West as the State continues to face COVID-19 impacts and budget restoration.

The nine mayors of North West Queensland (NWQROC) have welcome commitments re-announced as part of the Budget that benefit the region and commend the Queensland Government for its support and approach during the pandemic.  

NWQROC Chair, Cr Jack Bawden said: “2020 has been a challenge for all levels of government, business and communities, but we’ve been most fortunate to remain COVID-19 free and keep up the hard work that pumps billions into our economy.”

“With this in mind, in the lead up to the State Election this year, NWQROC developed a Strategic Plan to supercharge the North West, the region that helps to supercharge the State, to target investment that will deliver dividends for all of Queensland. 

“Through this Budget and beyond, the State Government had a clear plan given to them and the opportunity to invest in the West to unlock the potential and ‘Grow the Regions’ and ultimately benefit all of Queensland. 

“The Budget has left us bit disappointed in our region with no new investment or programs coming our way.”

“While opportunities have been missed, the Budget does offer some good news for our region including additional funding for the Works for Queensland program announced earlier this year. Works for Queensland is a great program that puts locals in the driver’s seat, more efficiently targeting needs and directly benefiting through jobs, community development and growth.

The Budget also delivers some valuable initiatives in our region including:

  • Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program $720,000 in 2020-21 to protect environmental and Indigenous cultural heritage values in Normanton.
  • Hughenden Water Reservoir Project $948,062 in 2020-21 out of a $2.9 million total spend to construct a new 4.3ML capacity welded steel high level reservoir to improve potable water storage and provide priority water security. 

NWQROC Deputy Chair, Cr Jane McNamara said North West Queensland was critical to the economic success of the state and all levels of government needed to listen to the local to target investment to continue to sustain this contribution.

“Our region punches well above its weight with each hardworking local contributing $176,000 per capita to the national economy - almost three times that of elsewhere in Queensland!” Cr McNamara said.

“To keep this momentum going, we need fair funding in our priority areas of roads, power, water infrastructure, telecommunications and sound policy frameworks to support local populations and business.”

“Infrastructure development is a key focus for the NWQROC and the linchpin to delivering on the Queensland Budget Strategy aim of ‘Growing the Regions’ – that’s not going to happen if you’re not going to invest in it!” she said. 

“While the funding re-announced as part yesterday’s Budget for programs like Works for Queensland are very welcome, we will be advocating hard to ensure other important infrastructure and job creating programs such as the QTRIP receive increased funding in order to support the further development of North West Queensland communities,” Cr McNamara said.

Download NWQROC’s plan to Supercharge the North West post-COVID and long-term: www.nwqroc.com.au/2020stateelection

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Contact: Aleisha Domrow – 0423 116 865