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Roads to Recovery Bill 2000

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(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Transport and Regional Services,

the Hon John Anderson MP)








1.  The Bill is to appropriate funds for the Roads to Recovery Program announced by the Government which is to provide additional funding for local roads in rural, regional and metropolitan areas.  The funds are to be provided in the form of grants to local government bodies for expenditure on roads.


2.  The Bill provides a mechanism for specifying the funding to be received by each local government body over the life of the program and the conditions on which the funds are provided.  The list attached to this Explanatory Memorandum is the tabled list referred to in the Bill.  This list sets out the local government bodies to be funded and the amounts of grant each is entitled to over the life of the program.




3.  The Bill appropriates the amounts necessary to make the grant payments set out in the attachment which total $1.2 billion over the period 2000-01 to 2004-05.






Clause 1 - Short Title


4.  The Act may be cited as Roads to Recovery Act 2000


Clause 2 - Commencement


5.  The Bill provides for the Act to commence on the day it receives Royal Assent.


Clause 3 - Definitions


6.  The clause defines a funding recipient as a body included in the list that the Minister, under clause 5, is required to publish in the Gazette.  The list will set out each funding recipient and the amount of grant each will be entitled to under the Roads to Recovery Program.  These bodies are generally local government bodies.


7.  The program runs until 30 June 2005 and a funding year is defined as any financial year ending on 30 June 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.  The definition is used in clause 10, which provides for reports to Parliament on the operation of the program in each funding year.


8.  The published list is defined as the list required to be published under clause 5.


9.  A road is defined for the purposes of the Act as including assets associated with the operation of roads such as traffic lights, signs, bridges and tunnels.  The program will also be able to fund expenditure on vehicular ferries and bicycle paths.


10.  Roads expenditure is defined to include expenditure on maintenance and the upgrading of roads as well as construction.


11.  The tabled list is the list attached to this Explanatory Memorandum.  This list sets out the local government bodies that will receive grants and the amounts they are entitled to under the program.


Clause 4 - Object


12.  The object of the Act is to provide additional funding to local governments for expenditure on roads.  The Government will provide $1.2 billion over the life of the program.




Clause 5 - Gazettal of list of funding recipients


13.  This clause requires the Minister to publish in the Gazette , as soon as possible after the commencement of the Act, a list of funding recipients and the amount of grant that each is to receive as set out in the tabled list attached to this Explanatory Memorandum.


Clause 6 - Payments to Funding Recipients


14.  This clause provides that the amount set out in the published list is payable to the local government body (the funding recipient ) concerned.


15.  The Minister is to have the discretion to pay the amount in one or more instalments and the timing of the instalments is also subject to the discretion of the Minister.  It is likely that small local government bodies will receive their full entitlement in one instalment.


16.  This clause also appropriates the funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to make the payments.


17.  The program ends on 30 June 2005 and sub-clause (4) specifies that payments must be made before 1 July 2005.


Clause 7 - Funding Conditions


18.  This clause requires the Minister power to set conditions on the payment of the grants under the program.  These conditions must include the key criteria set out by the Prime Minister in his announcement of the program.  Under these criteria, local government bodies must :


§   use the grants for expenditure on roads;

§   account for their expenditure properly;

§   maintain their existing road expenditures; and

§   give appropriate acknowledgment of the Commonwealth contribution in respect of individual road works.

19.  The Minister may also set conditions on any other matter to do with the payment of the grants.  These conditions are to cover in particular, the requirement to repay grants in the event of a breach of the conditions and the requirement for recipients to comply with administrative guidelines issued under clause 11.


20.  It is expected that these conditions will cover the following administrative aspects of the program:



A local government body is to provide the Minister with a proposal for the expenditure of the grant.  This can be provided once for the whole program, or if desired, an initial proposal for the first half-year of the program followed by a more detailed proposal for the remaining four years.



The conditions will ensure that the Commonwealth receives appropriate recognition for its contribution to the roads concerned.  The conditions will require that the local government body must erect signs acknowledging the Commonwealth funding along the road works being funded from the grants.



The local government body will be required to account for the expenditure of Commonwealth funds by the provision of an audited statement following the close of each financial year in which it receives funding.


The Commonwealth will reserve the power to inspect documents held by a local government body if there is a problem with the audit process in respect of that local government body.


Statement by CEO

In addition to the audited statement, each local government body receiving funding will be required to provide a certificate signed by the chief executive officer stating that it has maintained its level of expenditure on roads, and that all conditions of the grant have been met.


21.  Any conditions determined by the Minister must be notified in the Gazette and any variations or revocations of the conditions must also be notified in the Gazette .  In varying any conditions, the Minister will have to ensure that the compulsory conditions in subclause (2) are maintained.


Clause 8 - Replacement funding recipients


22.  This clause provides that the Minister must nominate one or more replacement bodies for the remaining funding, if a local government body ceases to exist before it has received the full amount payable to it.  This body will generally be the replacement local government body with responsibility for that local government area, or if no such body exists, the State Government in which the funding recipient is located.




Clause 9 - Amounts repayable by funding recipient


23.  This clause inserts a provision that any amounts liable to be repaid may be recovered by the Commonwealth as a debt through the courts or deducted from any future instalments.


Clause 10 - Report to Parliament


24.  This clause requires the Minister to report to Parliament on the operation of the program during a funding year as soon as possible after the completion of that funding year.


Clause 11 - Guidelines


25.  The Minister will have the power to issue guidelines for the administration of the Act.  These will cover such things as forms, timing of payments, specification of signs, etc.


Clause 12 - Delegations


26.  The Minister will have the power to delegate any of his functions under the Bill to a Senior Executive Service officer of the Department.


27.  Any delegate must comply with any directions of the Minister in exercising powers or functions under the Act.


Clause 13 - Regulations


28.  The Bill includes the power for the Governor-General to make regulations prescribing matters required or permitted to be prescribed or necessary or convenient for carrying out or giving effect to the program.





29.  The Attachment to this Memorandum sets out the local government bodies in each State that will be eligible for grants under the program and the amount of their entitlement.  This represents the tabled list referred to in the Bill.