Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has welcomed a Federal Labor Government commitment to boost local roads and road safety funding, and reform programs to reduce the administrative burden on local councils.
Under the changes, Roads to Recovery funding will rise gradually from $500 million to $1 billion per year, and Black Spot funding will increase from the current annual commitment of $110 million to $150 million per year.
In addition, the Government will merge the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP) and the Bridges Renewal Program (BRP) into a new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program.
The amount of funding for the new program will also gradually increase such that $200 million will be available per year, up from the current $150 million total annual investment in the HVSPP and the BRP.
The changes were recommended by the Infrastructure Investment Program review and the increases in funding will be phased in over the forward estimates to avoid putting pressure on inflation, supply costs and the construction labour market.
These reforms will also help ensure funding is stable, predictable and fair into the future. The Government will be working with local government stakeholders in the lead-up to the Budget to ensure that changes to the programs respond to their feedback and funding gets spent where it is needed more quickly.
Mr Neumann said the additional investment in the Commonwealth’s two flagship local road funding programs, and the new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program would be good news for his electorate and surrounding areas.
“We do most of our driving on local roads, and we have seen the damage done to them by floods and severe weather in recent years,” he said.
“So this extra funding will help Ipswich City Council, Somerset Regional Council and other local councils maintain these roads to improve safety in a way that reduces the burden on them, allowing more money to be spent on infrastructure and less on administration.
“We also recognise that local governments need more funding to manage the rising costs and increased pressure on the road network due to strong population growth, climate change and extreme weather events.
“This investment will support regional communities like ours and help move more local produce from the farm gate to markets.
“Blair is a large outer metro and regional electorate, and I will continue to fight for a fair share for our suburban commuters, truckies, farmers and country roads.
“Just last weekend, I was proud to announce $5 million in Federal funding for Somerset Regional Council’s Fernvale South Productivity Link project, which will deliver significant economic, productivity and safety benefits.”
Mr Neumann was pleased that the Government’s infrastructure review confirmed that the Cunningham Highway – Amberley Interchange upgrade and Warrego Highway – Mount Crosby Road Interchange upgrade planning projects, as well as Brisbane Valley Highway safety upgrades, would go ahead.
“Together with the Queensland Government, I advocated strongly for these critical local projects and I’m delighted that the review has backed them in.”