3 February 2009

Fact Sheet - 2009 Updated Economic and Fiscal Outlook


Repairing Regional Roads and Funding for Community Infrastructure

There is a backlog of road maintenance projects on Australia's national highways.

The Government will invest $150 million in 2008-09 to help the States and Territories fund additional regional road maintenance projects across Australia. This funding will be conditional upon States and Territories signing up to the $22.3 billion Nation Building Program for 2009-10 to 2013-14.

The Government will also invest an additional $500 million over two years commencing immediately to help local councils fund critical community infrastructure projects across Australia through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program – Strategic Projects. This program funds local government community infrastructure projects such as town halls, libraries, community centres and sport centres.

Questions and Answers - Reparing Regional Roads

Why do we need this program?

  • Adequate road maintenance can ensure there are fewer and less significant problems and make the roads last longer which ultimately costs us less money.
  • Sub-standard sections of road not only pose safety risks, they have major implications for economic efficiency, as speed limits and weight loadings on bridges have to be reduced and vehicle operating costs increase.

Which projects (jurisdictions) will receive this funding?

  • This funding will be allocated across all States and Territories.
    • The majority of the funding will go towards projects in the States and Territories that have the largest backlogs of maintenance projects.
    • The States and Territories with the largest backlogs are: Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Questions and Answers - Funding for Community Infrastructure

Why do we need this program?

  • Quality community infrastructure is critical to improving social inclusion, liveability and economic growth for communities. The availability of community infrastructure has a direct impact on the capacity of communities, urban and regional, to attract and retain population and services, and promote economic activity.
  • The Government has identified that local councils face an enormous underspend in local community infrastructure, and local government will not be able to address this shortage without assistance from the Australian Government.
  • Much of Australia's community infrastructure was built in the 1950s and 1960s and is in urgent need of renewal. Since those times, Australia's population has grown and the ongoing provision of community infrastructure has generally not kept up with demand. Councils containing areas with particularly high population growth and areas suffering economic and social disadvantage are among those that have a high unmet demand from their communities.
  • The Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program – Strategic Projects is a part of the Government's response to the global financial crisis and will assist with promoting economic recovery in Australia's regions while providing targeted and measurable support to local communities in a sustained, transparent and accountable manner.

What will be funded?

  • Funding will be provided to local councils for new and enhanced large scale community infrastructure projects such as town halls, libraries, community centres and sport centres.

How will the funding be allocated?

  • Due to the overwhelming number of submissions received for the RLCIP Strategic Projects fund, the Government has decided to increase the number of local government community infrastructure projects to be funded from these applications.
  • In the selection of projects for funding, preference will be given to projects which:
    • are able to be commenced with 6 months of signing a Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth;
    • can be substantially progressed by the end of 2010.