Roads to Recovery program won't change

No plans to change Roads to Recovery program despite calls for it to be made permanent and indexed

By Michael House | November 13, 2009

The Road to Recovery program is unlikely to be made permanent despite calls from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) for changes to the scheme.

The representative group used its 2009 Roads and Transport Congress to urge the Federal Government to make the scheme permanent and indexed in line with cost increases to roads and bridges.

ALGA President Geoff Lake told the Congress councils are responsible for 80 percent of Australia’s roads but maintaining them is becoming harder because of a lack of funding.

A spokesman for Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says the Government is committed to the Roads to Recovery program and there is a reason why it has a five year life span.

"It is already essentially a permanent program. The reason why it is portrayed as a five years at a time project is so that local governments can plan how much money they have," he says.

"They need to plan their capital works into the medium terms and five years is a good time frame to be able to do this in."

The spokesman says the Government has increased funding under the scheme by $250 million since taking office.

He says council mayors will also be given a chance to ask for an increase in funding for roads when they meet Albanese later this year.

Under Roads to Recovery, councils are given a share of total funding to spend on local road projects nominated by them. The scheme does not replace council spending or funding from state or territory governments.

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