Labor to review State distribution of Federal Government rural road funding to ensure regional NSW i
Local Councils in the Bega Electorate stand to benefit from fairer Road Funding under a State Labor Government Shadow Minister for Roads, Jodi McKay, made the announcement at the recent 2018 NSW Local Roads Congress saying NSW Labor has committed to review the formula by which federal road funds are allocated to NSW councils. . Ms McKay stated that the Federal Government allocates more than $105 million in Federal Assistance Grants to help councils repair and maintain their road network. The way in which the funding is then distributed to councils is determined by the NSW Government. Labor said that many councils felt the way the current formula of road funding is allocated sees councils in the cities do much better than their country neighbours. "Labor wants to see smaller country councils get a fair go when it comes to the allocation of federal roads money. The current formula works against councils with smaller populations and larger road networks." Jodi McKay, Shadow Minister for Roads McKay said in her overview that the current formula is based on length of road and population, which generally places country councils with smaller populations but significant road networks at a distinct disadvantage. As an example, Eurobodalla Shire, with 942 km of roads, received $1.59 million last year, whilst the Northern Beaches, a Sydney council with 814 km of road received almost $2.2 million. Similarly, the richest council in NSW, Sydney City, with only 301 km of road, received $1.26 million, while Bega Valley Shire with 1,081 km of roads, received $1.9 million. Labor’s commitment for a review answers calls from organisations such as Local Government NSW and the Institute for Public Works Engineers Australasia for a more equitable methodology for the distribution of financial assistance grants. Labor intends to work with bodies such as the NSW Local Government Grants Commission, IPART and other stakeholders in reviewing the current formula. Peter Primrose, Shadow Minister for Local Government has been very clear with his comment regarding any disparity in distribution “Labor is committed to getting the priorities right. Instead of rebuilding stadiums in Sydney we want to ensure a better deal for councils struggling to maintain their local roads.” At a local level Leanne Atkinson, Labor Candidate for Bega told The Beagle "This is yet another example of the city country divide. It shows that the Government has no understanding of the importance of our country road network." "This is a clear demonstration of the inequity in funding of rural councils."