Councils push feds for more funds in Budget

A large part of local community infrastructure is at risk of disrepair, with an estimated $27 billion of facilities needing significant renewal.

In a budget submission, the Australian Local Government Association has proposed a local government community infrastructure program of $300 million per annum for five years to fund the renewal and maintenance of infrastructure.

The aim also was to stimulate the economy and create about 5000 jobs, particularly in rural and regional communities.

The proposal was developed following findings in the 2015 National State of the Assets: Roads and Community Infrastructure Report  which estimated that 11 per cent – or about $27 billion – of community infrastructure is in poor or very poor condition or beyond rehabilitation.

LOCAL MEMBER: Forde MP Bert van Manen says funding for councils like Logan City is available across a range of infrastructure projects.

LOCAL MEMBER: Forde MP Bert van Manen says funding for councils like Logan City is available across a range of infrastructure projects.

Federal Member for Forde, Bert van Manen, said he understood the push by councils to see more federal funding come their way.

He said the Federal Government provided significant funding contributions to local councils.

“In the 2015-16 financial year Logan City Council has received $5.3 million through the Australian Government’s Financial Assistance Program, as well as a further $4.7 million through the Roads to Recovery Program,’’ he said.

Mr van Manen said councils could apply for grants to assist with important infrastructure projects.

These included the National Stronger Regions Fund which provided grants up to $10 million.

“Applications are currently open for round three of this grant and I strongly encourage local councils to apply,’’ he said.

Local and state governments also could apply through the Bridges Renewal Program, a 50 per cent Federal Government contribution to the total project cost to upgrading local bridges.

Safer Streets grants also were available which provided funding to install security infrastructure including CCTV cameras and better lighting.

Association president Troy Pickard said the Government had to give serious consideration to community infrastructure priorities in the May budget.

"ALGA acknowledges the Government's commitment to restrain expenditure responsibly but these constraints should not be at the expense of support for essential community services or investment in infrastructure and initiatives that are vital to the sustainability of local communities," Mr Pickard said.

"The findings in the 2015 State of the Assets report show that councils do not have the financial resources to bring community infrastructure up to a reasonable condition and are facing the ongoing challenge of a decades-long backlog and under-spend on community infrastructure, which has limited their capacity to develop their communities and contribute to local and regional development.  

"Support in the May budget ...  would help build resilience and increase the overall prosperity of our communities.’’

This story Infrastructure lags, say councils first appeared on Jimboomba Times.