Fresh $100m grant round for QLD small business, plus $10m interstate flight boost
16 June 2020, Written by David Simmons
The next phase of the Queensland Government's economic recovery plan has been unveiled, and small businesses, the tourism and arts industries and more are set to receive some stimulus.
More than $300 million will be pumped into a variety of sectors as part of the next phase in the Queensland Government's 'Unite and Recover' program, designed to restore and create jobs.
"In the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, it's imperative that we prepare Queensland for the difficult road ahead and plot a definitive, responsible and comprehensive plan for our economic recovery," says Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"Today's new package of measures shows that our focus continues to be Queensland jobs and a plan for our economy.
"Every job matters and we stand shoulder to shoulder with our workers, businesses and industries on the road ahead."
Additional $100 million in small business grants
Queensland small businesses impacted by COVID-19 will be able to tap into a new $100 million funding round.
Grants of up to $10,000 will be made available from next month to help small businesses survive and grow their staffing levels.
The additional funding comes after the State's first round of small business grants were "snapped up within days".
"Our small business community has spoken, and we have listened and responded as part of the second stage of our Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan," Palaszczuk said.
"Round one of the Small Business grants received an overwhelming response.
"In the second round, we are prioritising regional areas and allocating half of the funding to support small businesses in regional Queensland."
Small businesses, including those who had expressed interest in the first round of grants, are encourage to apply from 1 July.
Airlines and national parks supported ahead of tourism revitalisation
As Queensland gears up for the pencilled in 10 July border reopening date the tourism industry will be supported by the State Government.
The State has committed an extra $10 million to airline route support for interstate flights, designed to encourage the domestic tourism spend across the State and bring back airline capacity faster than it would have otherwise.
It comes on top of $5 million already committed to 16 airports to help airlines to secure intrastate flights.
"The combined $15 million program will give even greater scope to negotiate with airlines to open up the state and bring more tourists to our regions," Palaszczuk said.
"Airports and aviation are crucial to our regional economies as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"More flights will help to further revive our tourism industry, support hundreds of thousands of jobs and pump millions of dollars into local businesses."
National parks will also receive $8.93 million under a works and jobs boost to provide visitor infrastructure upgrades and enhancements.
"Before COVID-19, one in 10 Queenslanders were employed in tourism," says Tourism Minister Kate Jones.
"We want to continue getting people back to work. More direct flights will help us do that."
$22.5 million for creative industries
A new 'Arts and Cultural Recovery Package', worth $22.5 million, will help support the recovery of the sector hard hit by COVID-19 restrictions.
The package includes $11.3 million to offset revenue losses in music and performing arts venues.
The package will also support COVID-safe cultural experiences for Queensland audiences, and brings the total dedicated by the QLD Government to the arts sector to $42.5 million.
"The funding will boost jobs through the creation of a pipeline of live and local music and other performing arts experiences, including a focus on our independent artists who have been particularly impacted during this time, says Palaszczuk.
"Importantly it ensures the activation of our venues and helps the arts sector move past the economic impacts of COVID-19.
"Our arts, cultural and creative sector has shown ingenuity and hope, so we're continuing to support them in finding new ways to connect and inspire us."
Indigenous creatives will also be supported by this funding program, with the Government supporting the distribution of First Nations arts product through a digital marketplace, expanded sale channels and investment in the growth of the Indigenous Arts Centre network.
Agriculture, construction and resources industries to receive a boost
As part of the latest economic recovery measures the State's agricultural, construction and energy sectors will also receive funding for growth.
More than $12 million will be delivered to the agricultural sector designed to create new technologies, sponsor e-commerce platforms, and to explore potential tourism opportunities.
The Queensland Government will also commit $10 million to promote exploration activity for new economy minerals for emerging technologies.
Renewable energy is also at the forefront of the stimulus package, with the Government investing $17 million in a state-of-the-art renewable energy training facility in Brisbane to teach workers about solar and other renewables.
The State Government has also reaffirmed its commitments to the $15,000 first home owner grants program, plus for those building a new home in a regional location an additional $5,000 grant will be made available.
Additionally, the Government has committed to a further $100 million 'Housing Construction Works for Tradies' program, with new social housing to be built across Queensland.
Updated at 12:01pm AEST on 16 June 2020.
Author: David Simmons