Councils to receive extra federal funds for infrastructure
THE federal government has announced $1.8 billion in new and rescheduled funding to help councils across Australia build infrastructure, and local governments in the Geelong region will ask the community what it should be spent on.
The $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program is based on the 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.
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.
The federal government has also brought forward $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant payment. Locally, this means that in this financial year, there will be an additional $38,179 for the Borough of Queenscliffe, $1,051,060 for Surf Coast Shire, $1,703,200 for Colac Otway Shire, $1,333,655 for Golden Plains Shire and $2,183,504 for the City of Greater Geelong.
Surf Coast Shire council general manager of governance and infrastructure Anne Howard said the shire was pleased about the announcement.
“Council has been actively listening to communities across the shire through place-based community meetings and these conversations will help inform Council when it considers projects for this funding.”
Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said the almost $2.2 million allocated to the city would provide an important boost to employment in the local construction industry and help the council to deliver important community infrastructure earlier than planned.
“We will now look into the funding criteria and seek to prioritise projects that have been highlighted by the community but couldn’t be delivered in the 2020-21 Council Budget.”
G21 chief executive officer Elaine Carbines said her organisation floated the idea in March to the federal government during a G21 delegation’s trip to Canberra of infrastructure funding direct to local governments as an effective means of getting a much-needed injection of funds on-the-ground to worthy projects swiftly and effectively.
“At that stage we could see the economic impacts of COVID-19 beginning to bight on jobs and knew it would only get worse.
“The aim was to create or retain jobs within local government and the private sector while benefiting local communities in a very tangible way.
“It’s great to see G21’s suggestion has been taken up!”
Victorian Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson said the package funding would not only support jobs, construction businesses and the economy across these electorates, it would also improve local roads and provide for new and upgraded amenities to help communities stay connected.
“I will be working closely with local governments in these electorates to make sure projects get under way to support jobs and businesses as soon as possible.”