Roads and infrastructure program axed

Ratepayers will pay more for local services, and councils will build less community infrastructure, following the Albanese Government’s decision to cut funding for local government in the Federal Budget.

Rick Wilson MP, whose O’Connor electorate has more local government areas (LGAs) than any electorate in Australia, said Labor’s axeing of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (LRCIP) was top-down mismanagement at its worst.

“This program allowed local governments around Australia to decide for themselves what roads and infrastructure were important to them,” Mr Wilson said.

“Funding had been delivered direct from the Federal Government to shires and regional cities, and some fantastic projects delivered.

“Now, the Albanese Government has sent a message that it does not trust local communities to deliver local projects, and the people who live in the 57 regional LGAs of my electorate are set to lose out.”

Shadow Minister for Local Government and Territories Darren Chester said Labor had short-changed Australia’s 537 LGAs, and local communities would pick up the tab.

“As families grapple with the increased cost of living, we can expect less roadworks and community infrastructure to be built and ratepayers will be forced to pay for more services with potential rate rises to fill the gap left by the Federal Budget,” Mr Chester said.

“Labor’s mean-spirited treatment of local government will force councils to bid for reduced funds under competitive programs because the Albanese Government doesn’t trust locals to make good decisions for their communities.

“This ‘Canberra knows best’ attitude is a hallmark of Labor ministers who don’t understand how small communities work.”

Mr Chester said councils across Australia were disappointed with the decision to not provide further rounds of funding for the LRCIP.

“Under LRCIP, the previous Federal Government gave power to local councils to make decisions and build community infrastructure with a guaranteed allocation of funding and we trusted democratically elected councillors to make the right choices for their communities,” he said.

“It allowed local councils to build thousands of community projects that they would never have been able to afford from their existing rate bases. It also meant they could develop a pipeline of community projects and didn’t waste time and resources applying for grant programs which are always over-subscribed.”

Mr Chester said the impact would be more severe in rural, regional and remote areas where Federal Government funding is a higher proportion of council revenue.

“Abandoning further rounds of LRCIP will be devastating for regional councils which depend heavily on the Federal Government for funding local projects,” he said.

“The pressure will fall onto locals with rate increases required to deliver road upgrades and community infrastructure. As building costs increase, councils will be able to build less, and communities will wait years for projects because of this decision.”

Mr Wilson said that during a cost-of-living crisis, rate increases were something that the people of O’Connor could not afford.

“The Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program was an incredibly successful initiative by the former Coalition Government and it will be sorely missed in regional Western Australia,” he said.

“Without this program, WA councils will be unable to deliver the projects that make their communities more liveable.

Among hundreds of projects funded, or partially funded, by the LRCIP across O’Connor when the Coalition was in government were:

  • Albany’s Youth Challenge Park;
  • major irrigation works at Denmark’s McLean Park;
  • upgrades to the Nornalup boat ramp;
  • upgrades to the boardwalk and lookouts at Peaceful Bay;
  • improvements to the Wagin courthouse;
  • a major upgrade to Beverley’s main street (Vincent Street);
  • upgrades to Narrogin’s caravan park;
  • Merredin’s Apex Park redevelopment;
  • Esperance’s lap-swimming pontoon;
  • a modern caravan park at Wiluna;
  • upgrades to infrastructure at Norseman Airstrip;
  • universal access ramps for the Manjimup and Walpole community libraries; and
  • upgrades to the Collie Mineworkers Memorial Swimming Pool.

Media contact: Chris Thomson – (08) 9842 2777; [email protected]

Share this:

Sign in if you'd like new recruits to be credited to you.

Latest

Virtuous circle of initiative in WA's south

Posted by · May 06, 2024 1:34 PM

Six organisations around the state’s south have secured grants to deliver important community projects in the O’Connor electorate of Rick Wilson MP.

Marine park survey launched

Posted by · May 03, 2024 10:30 AM

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP has stepped into the community consultation breach created by WA Labor over the controversial South Coast Marine Park...

Labor's decisions keep hurting farmers

Posted by · April 19, 2024 6:52 PM

Federal Labor should drop its absurd threat to Australia’s live sheep export industry to provide immediate respite and certainty for our farmers.

Labor's Slowing Regions program

Posted by · April 19, 2024 4:46 PM

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP has written to 11 local government authorities from his electorate that have applied for Labor’s so-called Growing Regions...