The Federal Nationals in Government will deliver a $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local councils.
The package of support 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.
Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Nationals Leader 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.
“This package will improve road safety and bolster the resilience of our local road networks, which will get Australians home sooner and safer, no matter where they live,” Mr McCormack said.
“Projects could include constructing or improving bridges and tunnels, street lighting and heavy vehicle facilities such as rest areas.
“Providing support for social infrastructure projects such as new or upgraded bicycle and walking paths, community facilities, picnic shelters and barbeque facilities at parks, will help communities, especially those in regional and remote areas, stay connected.”
Federal Nationals Member for Parkes and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton said investing in infrastructure and jobs was crucial to helping regional communities rebound from COVID-19.
“Our package enables councils to continue their proven track record of partnering with the Nationals in Government to deliver opportunities for locals to be employed and businesses to benefit by providing materials and services,” Mr Coulton said.
“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.”
Local councils play a critical role in responding to the impacts of COVID 19, and this funding boost will help them accelerate priority projects that will employ locally, support local business and stimulate the economy.
These projects will cut travel times, make our communities safer and upgrade the facilities we all enjoy while also getting more people into jobs. 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.
Guidelines for the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program will be provided directly to local governments by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
Allocations under the Financial Assistance Grant and Local Road and Community Infrastructure programs can be found at https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/lrci.