$36 million for Indigenous councils

By Angela Dorizas

Queensland’s most remote Indigenous councils are set to receive an extra $36 million in State Government funding to improve service delivery and employment opportunities within their communities.

The funding was announced on Wednesday by Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Desley Boyle.

“Funding of more than $36 million will go to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councils so they can get on with the job of local government,” Ms Boyle said in a statement.

“This funding helps support their day-to-day administration, their recreational programs, health initiatives and other services as well as local employment.”

Ms Boyle said Indigenous councils had, for a number of reasons, been unable to rely on rates as a generator of revenue, so the State Government had stepped in to offer support.

“The State Government Financial Aid (SGFA) program helps them ensure there is no shortfall and residents get access to services,” she said.

The $36 million funding boost will be provided under the SGFA program and the Revenue Replacement Program.

Ms Boyle said the funding would support around 260 local jobs and the valuable work councils were already engaged in.

North Peninsula Area Regional Council and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council were singled out for their achievements following difficult amalgamations.

“I make special mention of Mayor Joseph Elu and his councillors at Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council,” Ms Boyle said.

“Comprised of five former councils, the Northern Peninsula Area has been one of Queensland’s hardest amalgamations but the Mayor, his councillors and council staff have put their shoulders to the wheel and gotten on with the job of building a much stronger regional council that is working for the entire region.

“I also commend Mayor Fred Gela and his councillors at the Torres Strait Island Regional Council for their hard work in amalgamating 15 councils into the new regional entity.”

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