Media Release: Local Govt Welcomes Increased Road, Water Funding

20 June 2017

The local government sector has welcomed the NSW Government’s 2017/18 Budget and claimed wins in two critical areas: increased investment in western Sydney roads and a budget boost to regional water infrastructure.
 
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet today announced more than $1 billion would be spent improving roads in Western Sydney in 2017/18, including $153 million for the Western Sydney Growth Roads program.
 
The NSW Government said it would spend $648 million on the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan in 2017/18 and was working with the Commonwealth to fund the full $3.6 billion price tag.
 
However, the local government sector warned there was a risk in prioritising Airport-related road investment and controversial new roads such as WestConnex and NorthConnex ahead of the maintenance backlog for existing local roads, which play an equally critical role in supporting economic and population growth.
 
“Some 90% of local roads in NSW – more than 164,000 kilometres – are already suffering a life-cycle funding gap of $447 million per year,” Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said.
 
“Those roads are managed by councils which have been systematically starved of funding, so unless the State Government is prepared to help reduce the backlog they’ll end up in no fit state to support new roads the Government is so committed to delivering.”
 
Clr Rhoades said the Budget did not specify the allocation for the Regional Road Block Grants and Repair program for 2017/18, with government as yet unable to provide the figure, despite requests.
 
However Budget Papers did include an allocation of $100 million in 2017/18 for round three of the $543 million Fixing Country Roads program. Some $155 million of this program has been allocated and expended to date, with the remaining funding being made progressively available.
 
“LGNSW welcomes the continuation of these two critical funding programs, and it believes the NSW Government needs to increase Regional Road Block Grants to a more adequate level and establish a Fixing Metro Roads to provide funding for strategically significant local road infrastructure on key freight corridors in metropolitan areas,” he said.
 
Total funding for programs to support productivity and safety for road freight in regional NSW was $1.046 million and included:
 
  • $38.6 million for the Bridges for the Bush program
  • $582.5 million for the Regional Road Freight Corridor program
  • $341.3 million for Regional Growth Roads 
  • $84 million for the Regional Freight Pinch Point and Safety program to improve key freight corridors
 
Clr Rhoades commended the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government on its $1 billion allocation to water infrastructure - including $500 million to construct the Murray River – Broken Hill Pipeline - through the Safe and Secure Water Program.
 
“The Government acknowledges that it is vital to invest in water infrastructure for the 1.9 million people live in more than 500 regional communities, and that’s a very good thing,” he said.
 
“I note the Government has allocated $107 million to the Regional Water and Waste Water Backlog Program in 2017/18, which will help fund the construction and upgrade of sewerage treatment and water treatment plants.
 
“This funding is part of the existing program designed to temporarily replace the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program, which ends on 30 July 2017.
 
“This is all good news and we trust the investment is in good faith rather than the precursor to any sort of future privatization plans.”
 
Media Enquiries
LGNSW President, Cr Keith Rhoades: 0408 256 405
Media, Toni Allan: 0412 774 441