Truss stands firm on Roads to Recovery


Government plans to send Roads to Recovery bill back to the Senate to vote on.

Truss stands firm on Roads to Recovery
Warren Truss wants the Senate to pass the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill in its current form.

 

The political stalemate on the Roads to Recovery program is set to continue, with the Federal Government refusing to accept amendments to a bill to extend the scheme.

The Government pulled the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill from debate in the Senate earlier this month when it realised the Opposition had the numbers to make significant amendments to it.

The Bill must pass to extend the Roads to Recovery scheme, which provides federal funding to local governments to maintain their road networks. The program expired on June 30.

The Opposition now intends on introducing a private member’s bill when Parliament resumes in late August to guarantee the future of the program, but infrastructure minister Warren Truss wants the Senate to pass Government’s bill in its current form.  

"There is no valid reason for Opposition members in the Senate to delay passage of the Bill with a range of extraneous measures, putting the delivery of $2.1 billion of road funding to local councils at risk," Truss says.

"The Australian Government will work to bring the Bill again to the Senate late in August, giving the Senate another chance to do the right thing by local councils.

"We hope that the Senate will pass this very simple legislation and extend the Roads to Recovery Program for another five years, locking in billions of dollars of road funding for local councils and their communities."

Truss says the Opposition’s proposed amendments, which include conditions on approving infrastructure projects, will add eight pages to the 23-page bill and result in "needless bureaucracy and red tape".

"The Labor Party has proposed pages and pages and pages of amendments, many of them not even related to Roads to Recovery, that are unacceptable to the Government," he says.

"There is no capacity for us to make Roads to Recovery payments to councils unless the legislation goes through the Parliament."

Labor wants to amend the Bill to require cost benefit analyses to be made publicly available for transport infrastructure projects and for the Government to consult Infrastructure Australia if a project costs $100 million or more.

Opposition spokesman on transport Anthony Albanese says he will introduce a private member’s bill next month to provide funding certainty for the Roads to Recovery program.

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