Federal Nationals Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has announced $23 million for council works under the Commonwealth’s popular and long-running Roads to Recovery program.

Mr Hartsuyker said that since it started in 2000, Roads to Recovery had become an ever-more important addition to many other forms of road funding, especially for rural and regional councils.

Funding was doubled in 2015 and the annual allocation nationally is now up again, from $350 million to $400 million.

From next financial year to 2023/24 Bellingen Shire Council will receive $2.4 million. Coffs Harbour will get $5.5 million. Kempsey Shire Council will have $4.6 million. Nambucca Shire’s share is $3 million while Port Macquarie will be funded for $7.3 million.

“When allocations under this scheme — championed by John Anderson when he was Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of The Nationals — was due to end in 2004 I was among those who pressed hard for it to be continued, because it had become such an important source of funding for councils,” Mr Hartsuyker said. “The special beauty of the program, from both the Commonwealth and council point of view, is that this is funding that results from direct discussion between these tiers of government.”

Since 2013-14, when the Nationals in Government restored it as a high priority, until 2021-22, it will have committed $4.8 billion to the councils that own and maintain over 640,000 kilometres of local roads. Maintaining and improving this network is a crucial service for rural, regional, and remote Australians.