Wide Bay MP: End the secrecy – when and how much?
Llew O’Brien, Member for Wide Bay.
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien called on the Albanian government to end the secrecy and uncertainty and advise councils on how much funding they will receive.
Local councils throughout Wide Bay are still waiting for the government to release their funding allocations under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Programme, he said.
“Local governments need time to develop, plan and prioritize their projects, but before they can commit to delivering them they need to be able to budget for them,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Councils’ planning activities will be hampered until they know what will be in their Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program funding envelope from the federal government.
“If councils are kept in the dark by the Federal Labor Government about how much funding they will receive, they will not be able to upgrade the roads and deliver community projects that their taxpayers expect of them.
“Labour shows total disrespect for the Wide Bay councils by withholding advice on when they will receive promised funding and how much will be made available.
“At the last election, Labor promised to expand a highly successful coalition program by investing $750 million for local roads and community infrastructure, including $500 million of additional funding budgeted by the former coalition government,” Mr O’Brien said.
“This is a popular program that is strongly supported by local government because it provides a source of untied funding that they can use to upgrade roads or invest in other community infrastructure to help local families and businesses.
“Councils rely on funding being available from July 1, but after eight months in office the Labor Government has failed to provide councils with any information about their funding allocation and the conditions and guidelines for it.
“Labour’s eight months of secrecy with this program compares poorly with the former Coalition government’s open and efficient process, where councils were told exactly how much money they would receive within weeks of an extra $500m being committed in the March 2022 federal budget is,” he said.
In Wye Bay, the Coalition has budgeted for councils to receive the following amounts:
* Gympie Regional Council – $1,361,802
* Fraser Coast Regional Council – $1,912,057
* South Burnett Regional Council – $1,644,465
* Noosa Council – $790,346
* Sunshine Coast Regional Council – $3,653,767
* Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council – $39,849
When the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development asked for clarification, the department could not confirm whether Labor would meet these and other funding commitments.
A previous round of the program from the former Liberal and National governments supported 250 full-time jobs across Wide Bay, with councils receiving more than $5 million to build safer roads and improve community facilities.
Gympie Regional Council received funding totaling more than $2.2 million ($2,276,507) for seven projects, including:
– $120,000 to upgrade the Albert Park Touch Carpark,
– $148,000 to seal Excelsior Road beyond Hyne Street,
– $98,000 to upgrade Laminex Road, including curve widening and reconstruction,
– $221,000 to upgrade Mellor Street,
– $441,000 to upgrade the kerb, channels and surfaces of Pronger Parade and Smith Street in the Glanmire Industrial Estate,
– $758,507 to upgrade two Thornside Road floodways, and
– $500,000 to upgrade and expand the CCTV network within the Gympie region, including parks, roads and facilities.
“The Albanian Labor government must recognize the value of this program, show respect to councils and local communities, end the secrecy and delays and be transparent about its intentions,” he said.
Mr O’Brien called on the Government to immediately write to Wide Bay councils to advise on funding allocations from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program to enable councilors and council staff to help improve our local area.