Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has welcomed news of floodway upgrades along Kempe Road and Anne Beadell Highway, to improve the resilience of the roads and all weather use, but laments the axing of the program which provided the money.
“This funding is welcome because it is important, particularly on recently upgraded roads like Kempe that we don’t allow floodways to become regular washout points,” he said.
“On a recent visit to Coober Pedy it was very evident how important Ghan tourists are to commerce in the town and as a success, it is important we invest in the infrastructure like the Anne Beadell Highway to support this venture.
“The money for these upgrades has come from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, a $3.25 billion fund which has supported all Australian councils and state governments to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects in their region. Unfortunately, news from the budget a few weeks ago was that the LRCI grants have been axed.
“The program, introduced by the Coalition in 2018 has delivered hundreds of millions of dollars for rural and regional roads and infrstructure.
“Councils and state governments have come to rely on this money and I am urging Infrastructure Minister Catherine King to identify where these bodies will be able to access replacement finance.
“The Government had announced an extra allocation for the program, but by rhe time it arrived we were in the next annual funding cycle and the “top-up” became a halving of the program instead, with a stipulation it could not be spent on infrastructure and that was to be the end of it. Full stiop!
“This news of upgrades is undoubtedly welcome, but it seems likely the positive announcements are to become fewer and further apart.