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Roads to Recovery Delivers for Local Communities

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Leader of the National Party

13th May 2003

The Federal Government will spend $302.2 million in 2003-04 on upgrading Australia's local roads through the Roads to Recovery programme, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

"The Roads to Recovery programme is the largest commitment by any Federal Government towards fixing Australia's local roads. We are investing $1.2 billion in the programme to help local councils reduce their road funding backlog," Mr Anderson said.

"One of the most important features of the programme is that it is based on our partnership approach. It recognises that local councils have the best understanding of their local road needs and enables them to make their own decisions about their funding priorities.

"So far, councils have funded almost 10,000 projects and made real progress on renewing and upgrading their road networks. The programme has also helped increase council employment in communities hit hard by the drought. Some of the programme's success stories include:

  • Replacing a high maintenance timber bridge in Copmanhurst Shire, NSW, which was built in the mid-1950s. Soon after it was built, it was twisted by a flood to the point where it became known as the 'Marilyn Monroe Bridge' because of its curves. Heavy vehicles were subject to an 80 kilometre detour. The Copmanhurst Shire Council used about $265,400 of its Roads to Recovery allocation and $114,600 of its own funds to build a new concrete bridge.
  • Sealing roads in Playford, on the northern fringe of Adelaide. This area exports fresh vegetables and cut flowers, mainly to Singapore. Dust control is essential because it affects the quality of the produce. The Playford City Council is using its funding to seal roads in the growing area at a cost of $110,000 per kilometre.

"In 2002-03, we had to defer $100 million of spending under the programme to meet our overall budgetary requirements. Local authorities will receive their full annual Roads to Recovery allocation in 2003-04 and will receive an extra $100 million in 2004-05 to make up for the deferral," Mr Anderson said.

The Government and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) will shortly be publishing a joint report on the first two years of Roads to Recovery. The Government will consider the programme's future closer to its completion in 2005.

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680 / 0419 233989