Local Government gets 2015–16 funding boost
15 June 2015
Local councils will remain a focus of the Australian Government with extended funding set to be available in 2015–16 through the Bridges Renewal, National Stronger Regions and Roads to Recovery programmes.
Speaking at the opening of the annual Australian Local Government Association conference in Canberra, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the second round of funding from the Coalition's $300 million Bridges Renewal Programme opens for proposals on 1 July 2015.
“This programme gives councils the support they need to deliver better transport links for their communities and industries, and Round Two will be restricted to local government, with up to $100 million to be made available for local bridge upgrade projects,” Mr Truss said.
“In 2015–16 the Australian Government is giving councils around the nation $700 million to spend on local road projects under the $2.1 billion Roads to Recovery Programme. This is a double payment, giving local councils the funding to fix even more local roads.
“The $500 million Black Spot Programme will also deliver important road safety upgrades to communities across Australia. The Australian Government has announced an additional $200 million over two years covering 2015–16 and 2016–17 for the programme, almost tripling our original commitment.
“We've also provided an additional $200 million to continue the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme.
“The National Stronger Regions Fund will deliver $1 billion in funding for priority infrastructure projects over the next five years. Round Two is currently open and accepting applications until July 31.
“These programmes, along with other initiatives such as the $229 million National Highway Upgrade Programme and the $333 million drought relief package, will ensure councils have access to the funding they need to build the infrastructure they require.
“The Australian Government will also continue its support of local governments via the Financial Assistance Grant programme, which will provide an estimated $9.45 billion to all councils across the forward estimates. The funds will be untied, so local government can spend their full allocation on their own local priorities.”
Mr Truss said that as the closest tier of government to Australians, local governments played a critical role in maintaining and developing the nation's social and economic fabric.
“That's why we are continuing to increase funding to councils—we understand that local communities are the backbone of Australia, and local governments are key to those communities' ongoing growth and prosperity,” he said.