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$11 million investment to help Queensland communities recover from bushfires

More than $11 million has been approved for a range of projects that will help with the economic and social recovery in Queensland communities that were heavily impacted by last year’s bushfires.

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said 12 projects had been approved in the second round of the $36.8 million Local Economic Recovery Program.

“The Local Economic Recovery (LER) Program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and we are pleased to provide this extraordinary assistance,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The Queensland Bushfires last year had a major impact on many communities throughout Queensland and it was compounded even further by the COVID-19 pandemic so it’s vital we support them through these challenging times.

“The 12 projects have been approved across nine local government areas for a broad range of projects that will inject valuable funding into the regions, while creating jobs, producing enduring benefits and improving future resilience.

“Today’s announcement brings the total projects approved under the LER Program in Queensland to 18, with a total value of over $17 million, with further projects still to be announced,” he said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Steven Miles said the impacted councils had identified priority projects that would contribute to their recovery and longer-term resilience.

“This funding will be used to create jobs and invest in a vast array of projects that would not have been possible without this vital funding,” Mr Miles said.

“The projects approved in this round, include walking trail and fire break upgrades, a FireTech Laboratory in Noosa and upgrading electrical infrastructure to include fire resistant poles.

“Community halls will also be upgraded. These upgrades will help communities connect and socialise, but also mean the halls can be used as places of refuge and recovery hubs during and after a disaster.

“We know from experience that recovery from disasters is most successful when it is locally-led and supported at the state and federal levels and that is exactly what we are doing with this program.

“Queenslanders impacted by last year’s bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic can rest assured we will continue to work with them as they get back on their feet,” he said.

The LER Program was open to local governments and Queensland Government departments and agencies for projects in the Bundaberg, Gladstone, Gympie, Ipswich, Livingstone, Lockyer Valley, Mareeba, Noosa, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba local government areas.

The program is administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) on behalf of the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments.

On 11 May 2020 the Prime Minister announced $448.5 million to support bushfire recovery, with $350 million available for Local Economic Recovery (LER) funding and $98.5 million available for Complementary Projects.

LER funding is being matched by relevant state governments (NSW, VIC, QLD and SA), providing $700 million in total to support community and regional recovery.

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