Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Morrison Government has responded to calls for assistance by councils in North and North West Queensland by committing more than $70 million for road and community projects to support local jobs and businesses and boost local economies struggling under the effects of COVID-19.

North Queensland-based Senator, Susan McDonald, said the package was part of a nationwide $1.8 billion commitment which included the establishment of a new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program and the bringing forward of $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant (FAGs) payment.

The new Program is based on the successful Roads to Recovery program and will enable local councils to deliver priority projects with a focus on upgrades and maintenance to local roads and community infrastructure.

Senator McDonald has spoken to Northern councils from Cairns to Charters Towers and out to Winton and said FAGs grants were by far the most popular topic of discussion as smaller councils battled shrinking rates bases and increasing costs.

“Every single job we support makes a huge difference in our local communities, now and as we navigate out of the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.

“Not only will this package support jobs, construction businesses and the economy throughout the North and West, it will improve our local roads and provide for new and upgraded amenities to help communities stay connected.

“I will be working closely with all councils to make sure projects get under way to support jobs and businesses as soon as possible.”

Local road projects to be delivered under the Program include but are not limited to constructing or improving bridges and tunnels, street lighting, and heavy vehicle facilities such as rest areas.

A broad range of community infrastructure projects will be eligible including new or upgraded bicycle and walking paths, community facilities, and picnic shelters and barbeque facilities at parks.

Guidelines for the Program will be provided directly to local governments by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

Allocations under the Financial Assistance Grant and Local Road and Community Infrastructure programs can be found at https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/lrci.