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SA Councils Welcome PM's road funding announcement

15 March 2004 (amended: 15 March 2004)

SA Local Government welcomes the Prime Minister's announcement today of an additional $26.25m over 3 years to address South Australia's unfair allocation for road funding from the Identified Local Roads component of the Financial Assistance Grants.

The SA community and economy will be the long term beneficiaries of SA moving towards gaining a fair share of Federal Local Road funds.

Local Government Association President, Councillor John Legoe said Councils would allocate the increased funding to the $100m annual backlog of roadworks across the State.

"This decision by the Howard Government reduces the funding inequities that have existed for more than 10 years", Cr Legoe said.

SA Councils maintain 11% of the nations' local roads but since 1991 have only received 5.5% of Commonwealth local road funding. The LGA took a decision early this year to step up its strategy for a fair share of road funding to South Australian local roads.

Councillor Legoe said that inadequate roads disadvantaged local businesses and the wider community. "Every minute added to a trip adds costs for local businesses, increases ambulance travel time, disadvantages families and increases the risks of accidents," he said.

"It was simply not fair to have the Commonwealth funding roads to a disproportionately higher level in other States and we are pleased that this announcement will go towards reducing this inequity."

He said that because of low grant funding for roads, SA Councils had led the nation in developing an analysis to identify priority road works. This work would ensure that the additional funding was targeted to areas of future economic and social need.

Councillor Legoe said that the LGA's intensive lobbying had been assisted by support from Federal Liberal Members of Parliament from SA, Individual Councils, and other campaign partners including Business SA, the SA Farmers Federation and the RAA. It was also supported by recommendations arising out of the Parliamentary Enquiry into Cost Shifting the "Fair Share" report.

To view Prime Minister Howard's media release: click here.

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