REGIONAL ROADS TO GET $1.1 BILLION BOOST UNDER LABOR PLAN
Labor will seek to secure more than $1.1 billion in additional funding for regional roads as part of a compromise to pass the Government’s re-introduction of indexation for fuel excise.
It’s now up to the Abbott Government to decide whether it supports Labor’s initiative that will see roads across all of Australia upgraded.
The Abbott Government’s cuts to local government have had a devastating effect on economic activity in regional areas with unemployment high and many regions currently experiencing youth unemployment over 20 per cent.
The $1.1 billion boost to the Roads to Recovery program will stimulate regional economies, generating much needed jobs and a boost for vital local infrastructure.
The Government has smashed confidence since it came to office and undermined the transition in our economy.
In its first Budget, the Prime Minister froze local government assistance grants for three years, cutting $925 million from communities over three years.
With sub-trend growth persisting, Australia urgently needs a kick start to bring our unemployment rate down.
With estimates there is a $15 billion local government infrastructure deficit, this funding boost extracted by Labor is critically needed in regional areas.
As a result of a trick to bypass the Senate on the excise indexation, the Abbott Government has threatened to return the additional fuel excise it has collected from Australian motorists over the last 8 months back to oil companies.
This was a difficult decision but the prospect of billions of dollars of being returned to oil companies was clearly unacceptable for Labor – we’d prefer this money be spent on roads in regional and outer suburban areas rather than handed back to multinational companies.
Labor will hold the Government to its announced position that every dollar raised by re-introducing excise indexation is directed to building new and upgrading existing road infrastructure.
The Australian Local Government Association estimated that 11 per cent of roads managed by councils were in a poor or very poor condition. Overall councils manage 670,000km of roads which is about 75 per cent of all roads by length.
TUESDAY, 23 JUNE 2015
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