In a landmark win for local communities and Australia’s 537 local governments, Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King announced Roads to Recovery funding will be doubled from $500 million to $1 billion per year through phased increases over the forward Federal Budget estimates.
Also announced by Minister King – in her response to the Government’s Infrastructure Investment Program Review – was a $40 million per year increase in the Black Spot Program, and a new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program.
ALGA President Councillor Linda Scott said: “Following ALGA’s strong advocacy and leadership, we are delighted to welcome this major funding increase that will benefit all communities across Australia.
“For several years, ALGA has consistently advocated for more Roads to Recovery funding that will deliver safer and more productive roads,” Cr Scott said.
“New independent research published last week highlighted a $1 billion per year local road maintenance shortfall across the country.
“In the last year alone, 46 disasters were declared across Australia, covering more than 300 different council areas, which has significantly impacted on the state of our local roads. Minister King’s commitment to doubling Roads to Recovery funding will help reduce our roads maintenance gap, delivering road safety and productivity benefits to every community.
“It’s fantastic to see the Government recognising the importance of our local infrastructure, and the key role it plays in building more resilient and connected communities.”
Cr Scott said the $40 million per year increase to Black Spot Program would be welcomed by councils and will help save lives.
“Councils maintain more than 75 percent of Australia’s roads and this expansion of the Black Spot Program will support us to reduce Australia’s unacceptably high national road toll,” Cr Scott said.
Cr Scott also welcomed a new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program, which would incorporate the existing Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity and Bridges Renewal Programs, with funding gradually increasing from $150 million to $200 million per year.
“As local road managers, councils play an important role supporting the efficient movement of freight around our nation,” Cr Scott said.
“This new and expanded program will support us to improve our local roads and infrastructure that are crucial to increasing national productivity, while also improving road safety for all users.
“We thank Minister King for her strong support and commitment to our sector and our communities; and look forward to working with the Government to ensure this new funding is efficiently rolled out.”