Emergency funding boost for valley councils

THE two Derwent Valley councils will share nearly $1 million in new Federal Government funding for road and community projects announced today.

“Every local government across Tasmania will share in this funding, which will support local jobs and businesses across our state, and boost local economies that have been struggling under the effects of COVID-19,” Senator Jonno Duniam said.

The Derwent Valley Council will receive $378,807 and the neighbouring Central Highlands Council will receive $589,128, both funded from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.

“This is part of our government’s national $1.8 billion investment to help councils get job-creating projects under way, quickly, and play a critical role in stimulating the economy as we recover from COVID-19,” Senator Duniam said.

“The package includes the establishment of a new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program and the bringing forward of $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant payment. The new program is based on the successful Roads to Recovery program and will enable Tasmania’s 29 councils to deliver priority projects with a focus on upgrades and maintenance to local roads and community infrastructure,” he said.

“This year is one of the most challenging that we will ever experience, and it is important that as we pave a road to recovery that we do this as a community and our local governments critical to this. Accelerating the upgrade of local infrastructure projects like playgrounds, halls and roundabouts is going to be critical in supporting local jobs in the surrounding communities and the economy across our entire state.

“This will also have ongoing social benefits for our communities by helping us all to stay active and connected, with support also provided for upgrades such as walking paths, bike tracks, and picnic and barbecue facilities.”

Senator Duniam said guidelines for the program would be provided directly to councils by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

Local Government minister  Mark Shelton said the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program would allow local councils to support jobs and businesses by delivering projects within the next 12 months such as roads, bridges, bicycle and walking paths, street lighting, picnic and barbecue shelters and skate parks.

“Today’s announcement complements the Tasmanian Government’s $150 million No Interest Loan Scheme, which opened in April to enable councils to develop or upgrade local government infrastructure and to manage impacts of Covid-19. Our councils have a critical role in responding to the impacts of COVID-19, and we thank them for their efforts to support the Tasmanian community during these challenging times,” Mr Shelton said.

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