Councils to be inundated by roads cash flood


Grant of $500 million shared with community projects, with more coming

Councils to be inundated by roads cash flood
David O’Loughlin

 

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has hailed the federal government’s $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program and the bringing forward of $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant (FAG) payment.

The cash should go a long way to alleviating road maintenance backlogs that affect heavy vehicle access on regional roads.

"The pre-payment of $1.3 billion is equivalent to two quarters (50 per cent) of the 2020-21 FAG payments," ALGA president David O’Loughlin says.

"The $500 million LRCI Program represents the largest single injection of Covid-19 assistance for councils thus far – not to overlook the various stimulus measures and jobs support programs announced by state governments over the past month.

"Earlier this week, for instance, the Queensland state government announced a $200 million local government jobs support program.

"Further south, the Victorian state government said it was putting nearly $50 million towards shovel-ready infrastructure projects.

"The NSW government has announced the greatest range of support funding, ranging from council childcare support to showgrounds upgrade funding.

"Ready-to-go projects will be the focus of the new LRCI Program, which will be administered along the lines of the successful Roads to Recovery program."


Read how ALGA responded to truck curfew raising, here


Prime minister Scott Morrison announced the move aimed at tackling the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Our funding boost will help councils accelerate priority projects that will employ locally and support local business and also stimulating our economy," Morrison says.

"These projects will cut travel times, make our communities safer and upgrade the facilities we all enjoy while also getting more people into jobs.

"We know this is going to be vital support, particularly for councils that have faced the combined impacts of drought, bushfires and now Covid -19."

Transport and regional development minister Michael McCormack says supporting councils to improve local roads and community infrastructure would have lasting economic and social benefits for communities, particularly those in the regions.

"This package will improve road safety and bolster the resilience of our local road networks, which will get Australians home sooner and safer, no matter where they live," McCormack adds.

"Projects could include constructing or improving bridges and tunnels, street lighting and heavy vehicle facilities such as rest areas."

Guidelines for the LRCI Program will be provided directly to local governments by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

Council allocations can be found here.

 

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