Budget 2020: Commonwealth backs local government to recover and thrive

The Federal Budget has set aside an additional $1 billion to flow through local councils, delivering priorities and creating jobs in local areas as part of Australia’s road to recovery through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program.

This builds on the existing $500 million commitment made in May for LRCI which has already seen more than 1,800 projects approved for funding nation-wide. Other funding commitments re-affirmed include money for the Financial Assistance Grants program, Roads to Recovery funding and the Drought Communities Programme Extension.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Budget confirmed the Liberal and Nationals Government’s commitment to partnering with the local government sector to rebuild the economy.

“Local governments employ around 194,000 people and deliver a wide range of services in the cities, regional towns and remote areas of Australia – that’s why we’re backing local government to help map the economic road back,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Our community-led recovery plan empowers local governments to deliver roads and community infrastructure through investment in shovel-ready projects.

“By investing this extra $1 billion in local priorities under the LRCI Program, we are helping to deliver thousands of local jobs and supporting local businesses.”

Minister for Local Government, Mark Coulton said the Coalition’s support for councils includes both general funding and project-specific to deliver targeted infrastructure outcomes for local communities.

“The longstanding Financial Assistance Grant program provides support to each council to spend on local priorities that will create the biggest boost to jobs and small businesses,” Minister Coulton said.

“This year’s allocation of $2.6 billion is the highest ever under the Financial Assistance Grant program and I also encourage regional councils to take advantage of the Coalition’s $200 million injection into the highly successful Building Better Regions Fund.”

Minister Coulton said councils are an essential partner in delivering the infrastructure and services Australians need to thrive and play a particularly important role in regional areas.

“This Budget will once again draw on the professionalism and expertise of the level of government that is closest to the people it serves, with specific support for local infrastructure, workforce skills and training and recovery from the economic shocks of natural disasters and the pandemic,” Minister Coulton said.

“I continue to convene the Local Government Ministers’ Forum with state and territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association to ensure all levels of government are aware of the impact of COVID-19 on councils and are sharing ideas on how to respond.”

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan said the Budget would provide support for local infrastructure, workforce skills and training and recovery from the economic shocks of natural disasters and the pandemic.

“Backing local government means backing local jobs,” Assistant Minister Hogan said.

“An extra $400 million of funding will support the extension of the Roads to Recovery Program by an additional year, demonstrating our commitment to this vital initiative.

“The Australian Government looks forward to continuing our long and productive relationship with the nation’s local government sector as we work together to chart the economic road back.”

Ends.

Media Contact:

Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860

Minister Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920

Assistant Minister Hogan – Dylan Butcher 0411 822 990