Roads to Recovery a boost for local economy

Using funds acquired through the Federal Government’s Roads to Recovery initiative, the Shire of Gnowangerup in Western Australia embarked on a project that not only sought to upgrade existing road infrastructure, but boost the local economy.

Located in the heart of the Stirling Ranges, three hours south east of Perth, the Shire has a population of 1,724. It is responsible for a total of 312 kilometres of sealed roads and 883 kilometres of unsealed roads.

The local economy had been suffering due to adverse seasonal conditions including severe frost and drought throughout 2000 and 2001. With sections of the Boxwood/Ongerup Road needing upgrading, Council looked for the best ways to spend the majority of funding within the Shire.

“Over 70 per cent of the grant money received was injected into the local economy by purchasing materials from within the Shire and hiring local contractors, with the remaining 30 per cent spent on materials from outside the Shire,” said Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Ludovico. The result was an injection into the local economy, as well as the sealing of a two kilometre section of the Boxwood/Ongerup Road.

“Gains made by Council through the operation have not only been financial,” Frank Ludovico said. “Council staff involved with the operation were able to gain supervisory experience in a road construction environment and have trained local contractors in road construction techniques.”