- Road funding
- New fund to build better regions
Opportunity knocks this week with two Government announcements that are significant for the local government sector. The first relates to road funding and the second to the new Building Better Regions Fund.
The Government has responded to Infrastructure Australia’s 15-year Plan; it has supported 69 of the 78 recommendations made by Infrastructure Australia and confirmed that the 15-year plan will guide key infrastructure policy directions.
One of the supported recommendations complements ALGA’s call for a targeted investment program to remove first and last mile constraints across the freight network, with the Government committing to work with state, territory and local governments to identify first and last mile priorities for investment. The Government will also seek further analysis on the need for a specific grant program to remove first and last mile network constraints.
This is a win for local government and ALGA's advocacy this year. ALGA has been asking for a program directed at regional road projects, funded at $200 million per annum for five years, to ensure that freight connectivity issues and first and last mile issues are addressed to improve national productivity. Let's hope the Government agrees to fund our Freight Strategy as one of a range of options to address this important issue.
I was also pleased to read the Government’s acknowledgement of the importance of Roads to Recovery and the Black Spot Programme to its policy objectives and outcomes, and the role that councils play in the effective delivery of these outcomes.
ALGA will continue to advocate on your behalf to secure and expand on these valuable programs.
The second notable announcement was from Senator the Hon Fiona Nash – whose portfolio includes local government and territories – of the guidelines for the new Building Better Regions Fund.
The Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) will invest $297.7 million over four years into regional community and infrastructure projects with the objective of creating jobs, driving economic growth and building stronger regional communities. The BBRF replaces the National Stronger Regions Fund and refocuses funding towards regional areas.
Councils applying for projects in regional, rural and remote communities located outside the major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra will be eligible for funding. Go to www.business.gov.au/bbrf to determine if your project is located in an eligible area.
Mayor David O’Loughlin