Disaster funding, roads top budget wish list for councils

In a sign of the times, disaster funding is at the top of ALGA’s budget wish list, jostling for attention alongside the usual requests for increased FAGs and money for roads.

Linda Scott
Linda Scott

At the peak of the recent floods disaster earlier this month, ALGA president Linda Scott issued a call for a $200 million disaster mitigation fund and an additional $200 million over four years for a local government climate response partnership.

On the eve of Tuesday’s federal Budget she repeated the plea, saying more than a million properties across 30 local government areas have been identified as being at risk of riverine flooding.

Councils needed mitigation funding to prepare for future disasters and minimise the impact on communities, Cr Scott said.

She said councils across the country have identified “dozens” of mitigation projects that are in need of funding, including a flood levee in Bundagberg that is waiting on a $42 million Commonwealth commitment.

Bundaberg Regional Council is also asking for $800 million from the Water Infrastructure Development Fund or the ERF to reinstate capacity at Paradise Dam after the wall reduced amid safety fears in 2020.

Cr Scott says ALGA wants the budget to come good on a Productivity Commission recommendation for an annual $200 million disaster mitigation investment.

“With millions of properties at risk and so many Australians living in fear, we urgently need more investment in disaster mitigation to break the cycle of increasingly severe natural events,” she told Government News.

Community infrastructure

ALGA is also calling for an extension of the $2.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program.

Cr Scott says the program has already helped deliver important community infrastructure, as well as stimulating economic recovery.

ALGA is asking for a four-year, $500 million per annum extension of the program, which it says is helping create safer, healthier, more productive and more resilient communities.

“We’re urging the government to continue its highly successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program so councils can continue to build the playgrounds, libraries, community centres, sporting facilities and bike paths that our communities want and need,” Cr Scott said.

ALGA is also asking for:

  • An initial injection of FAGS worth $1.3 billion and restoration of the grants to at least one per cent of commonwealth tax revenue
  • $300 million annual increase to the Roads to Recovery program
  • $90 million annual increase in the Black Spot road safety program
  • $200 million a year for affordable housing partnerships
  • $100 million a year for circular waste innovation programs
  • $100 million a year for Closing the Gap Initiatives
  • $100 million a year for a local government health and activity program
  • $120 million a year in post-Covid support the community arts and culture
  • $55 million for better digital connectivity in regional, rural and remote areas

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will deliver the 2022-23 federal budget at 7.30 pm on Tuesday.

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