Federal boost for local government
The Federal Government today announced a $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local governments across Australia.
The package will help local councils support jobs and businesses by delivering priority projects focused on infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.
The new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program and the bringing forward of $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant payment will also help communities battling the effects of COVID-19.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said local governments were playing a critical role in responding to the impacts of COVID‑19.
“Our funding boost will help councils accelerate priority projects that will employ locally and support local business and also stimulating our economy.
“We know this is going to be vital support, particularly for councils that have faced the combined impacts of drought, bushfires and now COVID-19.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said supporting councils to improve local roads and community infrastructure would have lasting economic and social benefits for communities, particularly those in the regions.
WALGA President, Mayor Tracey Roberts, who is also Vice President of the ALGA, said the injection of $73m into projects in WA along with the early release of 50% of Financial Assistant Grants would benefit all local communities.
“Local Governments in WA have not had the financial support such as State employment assistance packages or capped utility prices that have been provided in other states.
“Consequently while the Federal funding package is a national initiative, it will be especially appreciated by WA councils and their communities.”
Local Government Professionals Australia President, Mark Crawley, welcomed the local stimulus package, saying, “Councils, particularly in regional and remote areas, rely heavily on funding support from the Commonwealth and this year they are facing even greater financial pressures and funding constraints.”
Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Mark Coulton said investing in infrastructure and jobs was crucial to helping regional communities rebound from COVID-19.
“The package takes Commonwealth investment in local governments through the Financial Assistance Grant program to $2.5 billion this financial year, with a further $1.2 billion being distributed through other programs to deliver infrastructure, and provide relief from drought and bushfires.”