AS the state election draws nearer, Premier David Bartlett today announced an immediate one-off grant to fix potholes in council-owned roads across Tasmania. The Derwent Valley Council will receive $90,000 and the Central Highlands Council will get $160,000.
Mr Bartlett said all 29 Tasmanian councils would receive a share of the fund in recognition of the extremely wet winter that had caused major road degradation leading to potholes across the state. “We had one of the wettest winters on record and I accept that this has created a major burden on council road maintenance budgets,” Mr Bartlett said. “I want to see the worst-affected roads fixed quickly and not just left in the forward works program queue.
“This is one of those occasions when I think it is more important for local and state government to work together to get things done than argue about whose responsibility it is to fix the problem. So we will be making a total of just under $5 million immediately available to Tasmanian councils to address the worst-affected roads in their municipalities as a priority. This will have the dual benefit of improving road safety and supporting construction jobs right across Tasmania.”
Mr Bartlett urged councils to use this one-off opportunity to use the rest of the summer season to fix the worst cases in their areas. “This is one occasion where we have been able to find the means to fix a problem that is affecting communities. Before the predictable negativity from the opposition parties begins, let me make it clear that this is not an election promise – we have been able to find the funds to do this in the 2009-10 Budget and the money is available to councils immediately.
Mr Bartlett said the funds would be distributed among councils using the traditional Commonwealth formula for road funding.