'We are worse off': Councils fight for fair share of funding
NEIGHBOURING councils are standing united in fight for a 'fair share' of state government funding designed to stimulate jobs, with one mayor claiming the exclusion was "unacceptable" as her region was worse off than those included.
Somerset Regional Council mayor Graeme Lehmann said he would support a motion from Scenic Rim Regional Council at the Local Government Association of Queensland Annual Conference in Cairns in October for a share of funding from the State Government's Works for Queensland program.
Over 60 Queensland councils shared in $200 million in the last round of funding for the program but Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim councils are not eligible for the funding.
"Works for Queensland is an effective jobs and economic growth initiative from the government, which is seeing millions poured into nearby regional councils such as South Burnett and Southern Downs," Cr Lehmann said.
"Almost all Queensland regional councils are supported by Works for Queensland, however the Somerset, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley communities are not eligible for funding.
"Somerset Regional Council is proud to support our colleagues at Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley in seeking LGAQ support to extend the coverage area of the Works for Queensland program."
Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan said being excluded from the program "based on geography" was not acceptable.
"We are a regional council, however we are not considered eligible in this funding opportunity," she said.
"The funding is to assist regional councils, like ours, to stimulate jobs in their region.
"There are 22 councils with lower unemployment than our region who are funded through this program and while I do not begrudge their support, I will not accept our exclusion.
"A more sensible and balanced approach to this funding needs to be adopted so communities like the Lockyer can benefit during difficult times.
"In order to achieve better outcomes for regions like ours, the government will need to listen and do the right thing. Surely it cannot be that hard?"