Fast tracking the road to recovery
From 1 July 2020, local councils will be able to access funding to support delivery of priority local road and community infrastructure projects, under the ‘LRCI Program’.
Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program
As part of the Federal Government’s $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local governments across Australia, on 22 May 2020, the Australian Government announced a new $500 million Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (LRCI Program).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said:
‘Local governments were playing a critical role in responding to the impacts of COVID‑19. Our funding boost will help councils accelerate priority projects that will employ locally and support local business and also stimulating our economy. These projects will cut travel times, make our communities safer and upgrade the facilities we all enjoy while also getting more people into jobs. We know this is going to be vital support, particularly for councils that have faced the combined impacts of drought, bushfires and now COVID-19.’
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said:
‘Supporting councils to improve local roads and community infrastructure would have lasting economic and social benefits for communities, particularly those in the regions.’
The LRCI Program will support local councils to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects across Australia, supporting jobs and the resilience of local economies to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government will also be bringing forward the $1.3 billion 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant program. The package takes Commonwealth investment in local governments through the Financial Assistance Grant program to $2.5 billion this financial year, with a further $1.2 billion being distributed through other programs to deliver infrastructure, and provide much needed relief from drought and bushfires.
The funding allocations for the LRCI Program is calculated using a formula to take into consideration the road length and population and is based on recommendations of Local Government Grants Commissions. The funding allocations can be found here.
Allocations for Financial Assistance Grants for local councils has been brought forward and can be found here.
Projects Eligible for Funding
Funding is available for local road and community infrastructure projects that involve the construction, maintenance and/or improvements to council owned assets, including natural assets, that are generally accessible to the public. The projects will need to deliver benefits to the community.
Eligible local road projects include any of the following works associated with a road:
- traffic signs;
- traffic control equipment;
- street lighting equipment;
- a bridge or tunnel;
- a facility off the road used by heavy vehicles in connection with travel on the road (e.g. a rest stop or weigh station);
- facilities off the road that support the visitor economy; and
- road and sidewalk maintenance.
Eligible community infrastructure projects could include works involving:
- bicycle and walking paths;
- painting or improvements to community facilities;
- repairing and replacing fencing;
- improved accessibility of community facilities and areas;
- landscaping improvements, such as tree planting and beautifications of roundabouts;
- picnic shelters or barbeque facilities at community parks;
- playgrounds and skateparks (including all ability playgrounds);
- noise and vibration mitigation measures; and
- off road car parks (such as those at sporting grounds or parks).
Each State Government has also announced stimulus packages for the infrastructure space to aid in supercharging the economy through the COVID-19 recovery.
For further information on each State’s stimulus packages, please click on the links below:
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
For further information on any of the issues raised in this alert, please contact the McCullough Robertson projects team.
This publication covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.