The Federal Government will provide $1.8 billion in grants for local government road and community projects across Australia.
The support package was designed to 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.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said local governments were playing a critical role in responding to the impacts of COVID‑19.
“Our funding boost will help councils accelerate priority projects that will employ locally and support local business and also stimulate our economy,” the Prime Minister said.
“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.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, 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.”
Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, 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 Coalition 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.”
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.
The Tasmanian Government said the Federal grant aligned with the its $150 million No Interest Loan Scheme, which opened in April 2020, to enable councils to develop or upgrade local government infrastructure and to manage impacts of Covid-19.
For more information, and for allocations under the Financial Assistance Grant and Local Road and Community Infrastructure programs, click here.