Councils mixed on stingy budget

By Paul Hemsley
The associations are unanimously in favour of 'Roads to Recovery' and 'Federal Assistance Grants', but simultaneously “disappointed” that funding for other programs were cut to return Australia to surplus.
President of the Australian Local Government Association and Mayor of North Sydney Genia McCaffery said she was happy the government will return the budget to surplus because local communities will get investment.
“Within a tight budget, local government needs additional funding from the Federal Government but we recognise it’s tight and at least some of these important programs are being maintained,” Ms McCaffery said.
Ms McCaffery said councils have done well in previous budgets for infrastructure funding, but “unfortunately that’s not happening this year, but we will push for it and lobby and work with the government”.
“Infrastructure and roads are showing significant shortfalls at maintaining them at the level needed, we just have to keep pushing the government for more,” Ms. McCaffery said.
President of the Shires Association of NSW Bruce Miller said the Federal Budget “does not particularly offer much specifically for Local Government”.
Mr Miller said his council was pleased with positive initiatives including mental health, transport and regional development.
According to Mr Miller, $289 million will be given to assist NSW councils maintain and upgrade local roads, but “merely” maintaining existing funding levels falling well short of making a “decent dent” on the $6.3 billion infrastructure backlog that councils face.
President of the Local Government Association of NSW, Cr Keith Rhoades said NSW councils face an infrastructure backlog of $6.3 billion that grows by around $500 million each year.
According to Mr Rhoades, NSW is the only state to implement rate pegging, so councils in the state are under significant financial pressure.
“Councils also require a fairer share of Commonwealth tax revenue through increased Financial Assistance Grants, roads and other special purpose payments,” Mr Rhoades said.

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0 thoughts on “Councils mixed on stingy budget

  1. The impact of the budget on roads is very concerning but councils are exploring a number of solutions successfully. One of these is PolyCom Stabilising Aid, a road construction product that lengthens the life of unsealed roads, thereby reducing the amount of costly maintenance. It’s cheaper than many alternatives, is easy to use and withstands traffic damage and water erosion. This is crucial considering the heavy rain affecting much of the country. PolyCom can also be used in material under a sealed road, maintaining a stable sub-base for a longer lasting road. It’s also used for patching. Sourcing and moving material for road construction is incredibly expensive but poor quality in-situ material with PolyCom added brings that material up to spec and saves money. Councils should be commended on their research into products like PolyCom. They are always looking for new alternatives.

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