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Additional $26m local roads funding for South Australian councils.

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I am pleased to announce increased local roads funding for South Australian councils. Beginning in 2004-05, the Australian Government will provide an additional $26.25 million over three years to address the State’s current disadvantage in local road funding.

The decision secures an extra $4.25 million in 2004-05, $9 million in 2005-06 and $13 million in 2006-07 for 73 councils throughout the State.

This funding is in addition to the $106 million in 2003-04 provided as Financial Assistance Grants to local government in South Australia (of which $25.5 million was specifically allocated to local roads). It is also on top of the $100 million which South Australian councils have been allocated under the $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme.

The allocation of an extra $26.25 million for local roads is excellent news for communities throughout South Australia and particularly for people living in regional South Australia.

Local roads provide basic access from farms, factories and homes to schools, hospitals, work, shopping and to families and friends. They are vital feeder roads to the economically significant arterials and highways funded by federal and state governments, so are important to overall transport efficiency.

The decision to give South Australian councils additional local roads funding over three years aligns the State’s share in Local Government Financial Assistance Grants to the State’s share under the Roads to Recovery Programme, the other federal assistance package to councils for roads construction.

The decision provided an interim response to the Hawker Inquiry into local government finances by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration.

The committee recognised ‘the disadvantages to South Australian councils under the local roads component of Financial Assistance Grants’, which has been addressed by today’s action.

The Government’s formal response to the Committee’s recommendations, will provide a longer-term solution to the South Australian local road-funding situation.

The Federal Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Senator Ian Campbell will discuss arrangements for the new funding with the Local Government Association of South Australia.

The decision announced today is for additional funding in South Australia and has no implications for funding of local roads by councils in other states.

15 March 2004