Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Vice President Felicity-Ann Lewis has applauded the Australian Government for recognising the needs of councils by extending the Roads to Recovery (R2R) program to provide direct funding for local roads for a further five years beyond 2014, when the program was due to finish.
“Last year, ALGA launched a national campaign to secure ongoing federal funding to assist councils to maintain local roads and address an estimated shortfall of $1.2 billion in their investment. I am pleased to say that the Australian Government has listened to local government’s concerns and extended the program until 2019,” Mayor Lewis said.
“Local communities across the country will benefit from the Government’s commitment to provide $350 million a year for five years from 2014 to 2019 under the R2R program, ensuring the maintenance of our local roads, which make up more than 80 per cent of our national road system.”
The Government has also announced that it will be providing blackspot funding of $60 million a year for five years from 2014-19 and, in addition, the Government will provide $20 million a year over seven years from 2012-13 for heavy vehicle safety, including more rest stops for truck drivers. Both of these initiatives are vital to help achieve the target of a 30% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on our roads by 2020.
Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) to local governments will also be maintained in real terms, with the Government deciding to bring forward the first two quarterly payments of the 2012-13 FAGs into 2011-12. This funding is very important to assist councils to deliver their services, maintain local roads and upgrade local community services, and early payment will assist councils to manage their cash flow and be appreciated by those councils continuing to recover from natural disasters in recent years.
“I acknowledge and commend the Government’s commitment to ongoing funding for local governments, as continued investment in infrastructure at the local level is essential,” Mayor Lewis said.
“It’s the local facilities and services that local governments provide, such as parks, main streets, libraries and civic spaces that make a real difference in peoples’ lives and taxpayers have a right to see some of their tax dollars invested in these important areas."
For more on ALGA visit: www.alga.asn.au