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A great day for Tasmanian roads.



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Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team Media Release Abetz Calvert Watson Colbeck Barnett

A Great Day For Tasmanian Roads

Tasmania’s local road network is the real winner from the Federal Liberal Government’s $1.2 billion decision to extend the Roads to Recovery programme for another four years, Special Minister of State and Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said today.

The highly successful program of direct funding to local governments has previously won praise from Tasmanian councils for helping to address the serious backlog of repair and maintenance to the local road network.

“Roads to Recovery has been the biggest commitment by any Australian Government to fixing our nation’s local roads network,” Senator Abetz said.

“Local councils in Tasmania have so far received more than $29 million in funding through Roads to Recovery, and have used it to catch up on important road works.

Some examples of Tasmanian local councils using their Roads to Recovery allocations: • Launceston City Council - upgrading intersection of Bathurst Street with William St for local access and pedestrian safety,$778,175

• Dorset Council - sealing of gravel section Gillespies Road to Lavender Farm, $230,000. • Circular Head Council - upgrading and sealing the regionally significant Arthur River Road, $858,803 • Southern Midlands Council - constructing and sealing presently unsealed

Woodsdale Road from Tasman Highway to Whitefoord, $2.07 million • Meander Valley Council - new concrete bridge needed, due to flooding, over Meander River in township, $195,000 • Huon Valley Council - new kerbs and drainage to improve safety in Dover’s

Main Street, $45,000

“Today’s decision means that our local councils in Tasmania will be able to fund more projects like these, with enormous benefits for everyone who travels on our roads, particularly our tourists,” Senator Abetz said.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Senate team have been working hard on behalf of Tasmanian local councils to achieve an extension of Roads to Recovery, so today’s announcement is very welcome.”

Senator Abetz said that five Team tours to towns and regions across Tasmania since the introduction of the program in 2001 had left the Liberal Senate Team in no doubt of the value of Roads To Recovery.

“The message was clear from our consultations with councils across Tasmania: Roads to Recovery is working, but there’s more to be done - please do everything you can to keep it going!” Senator Abetz said.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Senate team also passes on its congratulations to the Local Government Association for its professional presentation in Canberra about the benefits of extending the program.

“It was disappointing to note that whilst the Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team attended this important information session - not one Tasmanian Labor Senator thought our regional road network important enough to do so.

Senator Abetz said the $1.2 billion extended programme will also help councils work together to build new transport infrastructure through a new strategic component of the program.

“Under the extended programme, $100 million a year will be provided to councils to build local land transport infrastructure projects of strategic regional importance, such as tourist ‘trails’, or roads to assist new industry developments.

“The remainder of the funding, $200 million a year, will continue to be allocated to councils for local roads by formula, as at present.

“Tasmania also stands to benefit from the Government’s decision to boost transport funding in regional and outer metropolitan areas by $810 million over the three years from 2006-07. The Government will pay for the extra funding by winding up the Fuel Sales Grants Scheme.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team will be working hard to secure our fair share of the extra funding, which recognises that areas such as ours need more and better transport infrastructure.

“In contrast, the Labor Party is planning to close the Fuel Sales Grants Scheme and spend the money on its election promises in Sydney and Melbourne.”

“They do not understand what we need in Tasmania and don’t care - they are focused solely on winning votes in Sydney and Melbourne,” Senator Abetz said.

Ends Thursday 22 January 2004

Media Enquiries Simeon Duncan (Senator Abetz’s office) 0419 518 554