Road funding must remain, federal MP Tony Pasin says
The Member for Barker has warned the federal government against abolishing several important programs in a review of infrastructure spending.
Funding which could help build a new heavy vehicle bypass around Murray Bridge is at risk of being cut before the project can begin, the district’s federal MP says.
Opposition MP Tony Pasin has warned the federal government against cutting the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program as part of a review of infrastructure spending.
The program provided Murray Bridge with $2.5 million worth of funding for upgrades along Hindmarsh Road, Maurice Roads and Cypress Terrace in 2015.
The council is now looking at shifting heavy vehicles further away from residential areas.
Several other federal programs were also at risk of being cut, Mr Pasin said.
“If the Albanese government is looking for savings with their independent review into road funding, they are looking in the wrong places and should categorically rule out terminating these programs that literally save lives,” he said.
He also criticised the government’s failure to increase its financial assistance grants to local governments in this year’s budget.
The Australian Local Government Association has been campaigning for the grants to increase, from 0.5 to 1 per cent of federal tax revenue, to help councils maintain their road networks, among other projects.
ALGA president Linda Scott said the government needed to make good on a pre-election promise to increase funding to local government.
“Councils only collect 3.5% of national taxation and are heavily reliant on funding from other levels of government,” she said ahead of the budget.
“This is making it harder for us to provide the local facilities and services our communities rely on.”
Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said earlier this month that the review of $120 billion worth of infrastructure spending was needed to ensure value for money for taxpayers, and certainty for the construction industry.
She accused the previous Coalition government of clogging the infrastructure pipeline with “press release projects” which had been announced but never delivered.
The infrastructure review is due for completion around the end of July.
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