Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard spoke at the forum. Photo: Claudia Baxter
Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard spoke at the forum. Photo: Claudia Baxter

Future plans on agenda at south west forum

INNOVATION, entrepreneurship, skills and economic recovery were the focus of the fourth Darling Downs and South West Queensland Regional Community Forum held in Goondiwindi earlier this month.

The forum was hosted by the State Assistant Minister Jennifer Howard, who said the forums were part of the government's ongoing commitment to regional communities.

"Regional Queenslanders are front of mind as we as we put in place our $6 billion plan for Queensland jobs, with employment creation and investment our top priorities," Ms Howard said.

"This forum keeps the focus on the Darling Downs and South West Queensland region as it manages and recovers from the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic."

Ms Howard was joined by Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

Mr Bailey said the economic impacts from the pandemic were being felt across the world, the nation and Queensland.

"It's not over yet but we have a strong pipeline of investment in transport and roads projects to keep people working across the state," he said.

"A cornerstone of that plan for economic recovery is more than $1 billion in new and accelerated roads funding announced since COVID-19 hit.

"The $1 billion will support more than 1,000 new jobs, seal key outback freight routes, accelerate shovel-ready projects and deliver road projects."

Mr Hinchliffe said Queenslanders were well aware of the health plan to get through the pandemic and that the economic plan was built on creating and supporting jobs and workforces.

"In 2016 we put in place what has become our $600 million Works for Queensland program, which has already fed into almost 20,000 jobs in remote and regional Queensland.

"On top of that, in July we announced another $200 million for the COVID Works for Queensland program as part of Queensland's plan to continue to support our councils and their workforces.

"Projects you can expect to get underway shortly from the COVID round include water infrastructure and security in Thargomindah, Hungerford and Goondiwindi.

"Importantly, Toowoomba Regional Council received $2.87 million for water projects to cater for residential growth in the Highfields area - the first time this Council has received Works for Queensland funding."

For more information about Queensland's economic recovery strategy, visit