Drought Communities Program Workshop at Roads Congress

There are now 81 councils eligible to receive funding under the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program (DCP), including 40 councils in New South Wales, 22 in Queensland, 2 in Victoria and 17 in South Australia.

The program provides grants of up to $1 million for drought-affected councils to spend on locally identified projects aimed at stimulating the local economy and maintaining jobs.

There is a real desire by the Commonwealth to see DCP funds spent immediately but discussions with eligible councils have highlighted concerns around the tight time frames for spending the funds (by 30 June 2019), especially in light of councils’ needs to comply with established procurement and tender processes, the importance of consulting with communities on projects and an overwhelming desire by councils to spend the money wisely and with maximum impact for local employment.

This is clearly a challenging brief for many councils, and a genuine opportunity at the same time.

I believe there is value in DCP councils sharing their experiences in how to deal with the rapid procurement and administrative challenges, to discuss their ideas for projects and how to keep the vast majority of expenditure local, if not all of it.

It is an ideal opportunity to learn and leverage off each other.
I have therefore asked that a DCP Workshop be held as part of the upcoming National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Alice Springs.

Almost 20 of the 81 DCP councils are already attending the congress and are eligible to participate.

The ALGA Secretariat will be in touch with the other 61 DCP councils regarding attending the workshop, their experiences relating to the program and the benefits of sharing information and action plans.

The Workshop has been tentatively scheduled for 7:30 am to 9:30 am (including breakfast) on the morning of Thursday 22 November, which will allow attendees time to catch outgoing flights leaving late morning/early afternoon.

Councils interested in attending the congress and the DCP Workshop should contact Jill Brown, ALGA’s Director of National Events, on (02) 6122 9436 or email jill.brown[@]alga.asn.au as soon as practicable.
In the interim, our thoughts and best wishes remain with all drought affected communities and their councils.