Lachlan Shire Council will share in more than $21 million in new funding as part of the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local governments across Australia.
They will receive $2,128,508 through the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program.
Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Local Government Mark Coulton said the package included the establishment of a 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.
The new Program is based on the successful Roads to Recovery program and will enable local councils to deliver priority projects with a focus on upgrades and maintenance to local roads and community infrastructure.
Mr Coulton said accelerating local infrastructure projects was important for supporting jobs and the local economy in the Parkes electorate.
“Every single job we support makes a huge difference in our local communities, now and as we navigate out of the coronavirus pandemic,” he explained.
“Not only will this package support jobs, construction businesses and the economy across the region, it will improve our local roads, and provide for new and upgraded amenities to help communities stay connected.
“I will be working alongside all Parkes electorate councils to make sure projects get underway to support jobs and businesses as soon as possible.”
Local road projects to be delivered under the Program include, but are not limited to, constructing or improving bridges and tunnels, street lighting, and heavy vehicle facilities such as rest areas.
A broad range of community infrastructure projects will be eligible including new or upgraded bicycle and walking paths, community facilities, and picnic shelters and barbeque facilities at parks.
Local Government Professionals Australia welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a major local stimulus package.
“The package provides additional funding support to enable councils to continue delivering opportunities for local jobs and local businesses,” Local Government Professionals Australia Chief Executive, Clare Sullivan, stated.
“The stimulus will see priority local road and community infrastructure projects delivered through local governments creating new jobs and protecting businesses to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Local governments have been continuing to provide essential services and promoting economic activity in their communities throughout the pandemic but without the financial support behind them, so Local Government Professionals Australia welcomes the stimulus announcement.
“But we particularly commend the ability of councils to deliver so efficiently. When the Federal Government was looking for avenues of economic stimulus, local government officers were able to quickly respond with details of a range of capital works projects that could be brought forward and started quickly to create jobs and economic activity in their communities.”
Mr Coulton added that under the Financial Assistance Grant program, more than $55 million in payments had been made to councils in the Parkes electorate this financial year. This pre-payment is part of the $1.3 billion being brought forward from next year’s Financial Assistance Grants to ensure there is untied funding available for local councils as a block payment now, rather than being spread over the next 12 months.
Guidelines for the Program will be provided directly to local governments by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
By Melissa Blewitt.