Senate passes $42b stimulus package

The Senate has passed the $42 billion stimulus package, including $900 million for the Murray-Darling basin. Photo: iStock.

By Staff Writer

The Rudd Government’s $42 billion stimulus package has passed the Senate after South Australian Independent Senator Nick Xenophon secured $900 million in extra funding for the Murray-Darling basin.

The funding includes an extra $500 million over three years for water buybacks, $200 million for stormwater harvesting and $200 million to assist local communities in water management.

As a result, the Federal Government was forced to reduce cash bonuses by $50. Single-income families and workers earning less than $80,000 will now receive $900, those earning between $80,000 and $90,000 will receive $600.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed the Senate passing of the six bill package. ALGA president Geoff Lake said changes to the stimulus packaged also allowed councils to submit new projects for the expanded strategic projects component of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program.

“It is particularly pleasing that the money initially proposed for spending at the local level has been expanded following negotiations between the Government and cross-bench senators,” Cr Lake said.

“Councils welcome the decision by the Government to reopen applications. This move will allow councils which did not apply under the original $50 million fund to now apply for the expanded $550 million program.

“We congratulate the Government for responding to the feedback received from local government and we also thank Senator Bob Brown for advocating for this change.”

The RLCIP has already recieved 344 submissions, seeking more than $1.2 billion for local community projects.

The Federal Government has given local government the opportunity to submit new or revised applications for the Regional and Local Commmunity Infrastructure Program – Strategic Project by 4pm AEDST, Friday 6 March 2009.

Successful applicants must be prepared to roll out projects within six months of signing a contract.

For more informations visit the Department of Infrastructure website.

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