Budget 2021-22: Councils reap rewards with extra $1 billion in funding

The economic recovery partnership between the Federal Government and local councils has been further boosted in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, with an additional $1 billion investment in the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program.

The Morrison-McCormack Government is partnering with local governments through a third phase of the LRCI Program to deliver community infrastructure and boost local jobs, supporting Australia’s recovery

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this brought the total Australian Government commitment to the strongly supported and highly successful LRCI Program to $2.5 billion.

“This is fantastic news for local councils across Australia, which will be able to access additional funding to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“This is all about supporting the resilience of local economies by delivering even more jobs to help communities bounce back from COVID-19, with the additional funding and a longer delivery window to provide greater flexibility for communities to address local priorities.

“A broader range of projects will now be eligible for funding under the LRCI, enabling local governments to pursue larger, more complex developments to deliver even greater benefits for their communities.”

Across the nation, councils have already nominated more than 5,000 projects over the first two phases of the LRCI Program, with more than 2,000 projects complete or under construction.

Minister for Local Government, Mark Coulton said The Nationals understood local governments played a critical role in delivering vital services for the communities they serve.

“The LRCI program has proven to be a huge success for our regions, councils and communities and mayors across Australia have appreciated both rounds of the program,” Minister Coulton said.

“The take up rate of the LRCI is testament to the success of the program, delivering thousands of projects including upgrades to local roads, bike paths, community halls, playgrounds, parks and sports facilities, as well as improved accessibility to public facilities.

“The consensus from local councils is that the program has been instrumental in delivering projects that they would otherwise be unable to pursue, either at all or in a reasonable timeframe.”

The Federal Government is also supporting local government by pre-paying $1.3 billion – 50 per cent of the 2021-22 Financial Assistance Grant funding.

“This cash injection of LRCI and Financial Assistance Grants will give councils quicker access to these funds to assist with getting on top of a backlog of important local infrastructure projects, as many continue to recover from the impacts of drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Councils will be able to access funding for LRCI Phase 3 from 31 January 2022, with the program extended until 30 June 2023.

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