MP says councils need urgent financial support
MEMBER for Gregory Lachlan Millar says the State Government must urgently provide financial reinforcement to West Queensland if it is to survive the back-to-back affects of drought COVID-19.
“We have been crushed by eight years of drought which is still an ongoing reality for us,” Mr Millar said.
“Now our tourism industry has hit a brick wall. Normally, from April to October, tourists flood into western Queensland injecting over $500 million into western economies every year.
“The pandemic has shut the tourism and hospitality industries down. We are facing a tourist drought and I fear it will bring us to our knees.
Mr Millar said tourist attractions and businesses of all sizes were struggling with coronavirus restrictions.
“This has slammed our bush pubs, our cafes, our motels and caravan parks,” he said.
“I am genuinely fearful that we may see a wave of bankruptcies, where people are just forced to surrender after such a long fight to stay afloat through the drought.”
Mr Millar said providing funding to the regional councils would be an efficient way to fortify their economies, and said the Queensland premier should do so. The Gregory electorate comprises nine local government areas, which Mr Millar said “are now at risk of rate defaults”.
“Local government is the biggest government presence in the west,” he said. “They are a major employer and a major contributor to wellbeing in rural and remote parts. They do an amazing job covering huge areas with a very small ratepayer funding base.
“Reinforce the budgets of our western councils so they can continue to assist their communities and employ their staff.”