Delivering in 2017
One word epitomises the challenges for Queensland councils in 2017: delivery. Deliver this calendar year or lose the extra money that's come our way after much hard work and lobbying.
At the end of 2016, I and others in the LGAQ spelled out just how much extra money we had secured for our members from the State and Federal Government. That figure was $600 million across a myriad of programs, mainly infrastructure focused. Now the pressure is well and truly on to spend it wisely, providing value for money and showing our collective worth.
I'm sure councils are up to the challenge. As an example, this week, Rockhampton Regional Council and Livingstone Shire Council were able to announce with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk what amount of money they would spend on projects under the Government’s $200 million Works for Queensland program.
That get up and go needs to be repeated across the state again and again, all year.
What's at stake, is the continuation (at least for a few years while the political landscape favours us) of that record level of funding. Keep delivering, and Queensland councils have a real chance of keeping the funding ball rolling. Falter and the capital works funding door will slam shut.
Late last year I outlined measures the LGAQ had taken to assist its members secure and deliver the money on offer. I mentioned the work Total Solutions undertook in assisting applications under the Building Our Regions accelerated $70 million program. You can see more information about this here.
The Department of State Development has now extended funding, so all councils can now access 15 hours of free consulting support from Total Solutions to improve the quality of applications under the $70 million accelerated Round 3 of Building Our Regions.
I also mentioned the LGAQ had employed former council CEO Dr Phillip Keirle on a part time contractual basis to assist councils and regional organisations of councils with grant application writing for programs such as Advance Queensland and various Federal Government Smart Cities and digital programs.
Then there is the LGIS, standing ready to assist our members with design, procurement, project management and delivery of all nature of capital works, especially Works For Queensland small capital projects. LGIS have a long and illustrious track record of delivering programs including the Climate Smart, Home Water Wise, SEQ water reduction and leakage management programs, in addition to managing more than $1 billion of natural disaster reconstruction works.
So whilst it's a big challenge and failure to deliver projects on time and budget is not an option, help is at hand.