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Federal surplus should be spent on roads

Western Australian Local Government Association

WITH the Federal Budget surplus announced at higher than expected levels, Local Governments in Western Australia have called on the Federal Government to commit to the Roads to Recovery Program beyond 2005.

Roads to Recovery has been a highly successful Federal Government program that has provided funding to local governments across Australia to invest in the road network.

The current Roads to Recovery program will allocate $1.2 billion over a four-year period to be completed in 2005.

However, a recent review of the program shows that more than double the current spending is required to maintain the road infrastructure at current levels.

With the Federal budget surplus announced at $7.5 billion, the Government no longer has any excuse to avoid committing to the Roads for Recovery program.

The Government should commit a further $2.4 billion to extend the program beyond 2005 and double the investment in the program as recommended by the recent review of Roads to Recovery.

The program has caused major road improvements and essential road maintenance work carried out on local roads right across Australia.

A long-term commitment to this funding is absolutely essential to ensure the quality of our roads is maintained.

Rising oil prices over the past 12 months means higher than expected fuel taxes will have contributed to the $7.5 billion surplus.

A greater proportion of the money from fuel taxes, which are paid by road users, should be returned to our road network.

Road quality has a major impact on social and regional development, employment, the environment and road safety.

We must get our priorities right and return some of this surplus back into our communities.

– Clive Robartson

 

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