Parkes Shire to receive infrastructure boost

Minister for Local Government Mark Coulton and Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack announcing the initiative.
Minister for Local Government Mark Coulton and Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack announcing the initiative.

Parkes Shire Council will receive $1,337,613 in extra infrastructure funding, Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has announced.

The funding comes under the new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program and is part of the Federal Government's broader $1.8 billion boost to Local Government Areas (LGA) across Australia.

The package will support local jobs and businesses and will boost local economies struggling under the effects of COVID-19 and will enable councils to deliver priority projects with a focus on local road and community infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.

It also includes the bringing forward of $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grants payment.

Mr McCormack said the 12 councils in the Riverina electorate would receive a total of $13.8 million.

The formula for the new LRCI funding to LGAs is based on 20 per cent of each LGA's Roads to Recovery Funding over the five years from 2019-20 to 2023-24.

Mr McCormack, who is the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said supporting councils to improve local roads and community infrastructure would have lasting economic and social benefits for communities, particularly those in the regions.

"This package will improve road safety and bolster the resilience of our local road networks, which will get Australians home sooner and safer, no matter where they live," Mr McCormack said.

"Projects could include constructing or improving bridges, street lighting and heavy vehicle facilities such as rest areas or weigh stations.

"Providing support for social infrastructure projects such as new or upgraded bicycle and walking paths, community halls, picnic shelters and barbecue facilities at parks, will help communities, especially those in regional and remote areas, stay connected.

"Local Government is at the forefront of service delivery. Our councils know their communities best and are generally able to deploy workforces quickly which keeps money flowing through their local area."

Parkes Mayor, Councillor Ken Keith OAM said the cash boost was "absolutely fabulous".

"We are delighted to receive this additional funding from the Federal Government through our local Member, Michael McCormack," Cr Keith said.

"And we are delighted the Federal Government is using Local Government to provide stimulus to the economy, it's a very safe way of doing it."

Cr Keith said there were a few road and community projects "in the wind" which could be funded through the new program.

"We have several projects which are shovel ready and council will decide which ones to prioritise," Cr Keith said.

Grant guidelines for the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program will be provided directly to local governments by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.