21 November 2023
The Federal Government must reconsider infrastructure cuts
NSW councils have urged the Federal Government to reconsider huge infrastructure cuts announced by Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Catherine King, saying the moves could increase the housing crisis.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Cr Darriea Turley AM said the move to shelve a swathe of projects would disproportionately impact NSW, which continues to grow despite severe accommodation shortages.
"This is a short-sighted decision when so many of these projects are exactly what is required to accommodate population growth and provide the enabling infrastructure for increased housing supply,” Cr Turley said.
“We will lose the expected productivity gains and jobs associated with the projects, over and above the long-term benefits for the regional communities the projects were designed to serve.”
“This decision came out of the blue without any consultation with councils and communities on the projects to be cut and I would urge the Federal Government to take another look at the list of projects and reconsider.”
Cr Turley said the announcement was a bitter blow for communities hard hit by natural disaster over the last few years.
“The only positive our communities are being offered is the long overdue increase in road funding,” she said.
“While we are horrified at the infrastructure cuts, we do very much welcome this critical increase which doubles Roads to Recovery funding from $500 million to $1 billion each year, and the $40 million increase in annual Black Spot funding,” she said.
“These funding programs are critical to the maintenance, improvement and safety of our local road infrastructure, and we hope it will help us chip away at a roads maintenance backlog estimated by the NRMA to be as high as $2.6 billion.”
CR Turley also welcomed the new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program, which will incorporate the existing Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity and Bridges Renewal Programs.
The Federal Government has pledged to gradually increase the funding of this program from $150 million to $200 million per year.
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