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More bushfire recovery funding for Qld communities

Eight Queensland councils and one state agency will share in $10.7 million of additional funding in the latest round of support aimed at assisting economic and social recovery in communities impacted by the 2019 Queensland Bushfires.

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud announced 21 projects in the final round of the $36.8 million Local Economic Recovery Program (LER), jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

“A number of Queensland communities were severely impacted by the 2019 bushfires and that was compounded even further by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The tourism, agricultural and small business sectors have not only had to respond to the bushfires and COVID-19, but many have battled drought over a long period of time as well.

“The Australian and Queensland Governments have vowed to support these communities on their recovery journey and we are pleased to provide this funding, which will offer a welcomed economic boost and improve resilience.

“Bundaberg, Gladstone, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Somerset and Toowoomba councils, and the Department of Environment and Science, have identified key priorities for their communities and are delivering a broad range of economic, resilience, built environment and natural environment initiatives.

“Today’s announcement brings the total projects approved under the $36.8 million Queensland LER program to 48,” he said.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), Steven Miles, said the projects included a range of activities in national and recreational parks, improvements to key infrastructure including bridge replacements and the engagement of local community members to deliver resilience activities.

“The Queensland Government remains committed to our economic recovery plan for Queensland and this additional $10.7 million supports recovery efforts and provides an economic stimulus in these council areas,” Mr Miles said.

“A range of initiatives have been approved that will not only deliver long-term resilience but will also help to create jobs.

“Somerset Regional Council’s bushfire resilience initiative is a great example as it will provide the opportunity for up to 44 people to gain skills working on bushfire recovery and resilience activities during six-month deployments.

“The Department of Environment and Science has had seven projects approved to upgrade, enhance or further protect national and recreational parks, while Scenic Rim Regional Council will refurbish the Tambourine Mountain Library, enabling mental and allied health services to be delivered to the community.

“We know from experience that each and every community faces different challenges and has different priorities on their recovery journeys and we are pleased to provide support for that.

“The $36.8 million Local Economic Recovery Program for Queensland has now been fully expended and we look forward to seeing these projects delivered,” he said.

The LER Program was open to councils 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 QRA on behalf of the Australian and Queensland Governments.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $448.5 million to support bushfire recovery earlier this year, 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.

Learn more about QLD LER projects on the QRA website.