The Rudd Labor Government has announced a $300 million program to build local community infrastructure in all of Australia’s 565 local council areas, and Gwydir Shire will receive $352,000 of this.
This $300 million Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP) is designed boost local economic development and support jobs in communities around the country.
A spokesperson for Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, said the announcement is further decisive action from the Rudd Government to stimulate the Australian economy during a severe global financial crisis.
"The program is also an initial down-payment on the Government’s plans to meet urgent needs in communities and create long-term infrastructure", the spokesperson said.
Funding will be delivered under the program by 30 June 2009 to ensure the stimulatory effects of this package are delivered to local economies as quickly as possible.
The Government made the formal announcement at the inaugural meeting of the Australian Council of Local Government – a direct partnership between local and federal governments to undertake nation-building. The infrastructure program will target projects that can be delivered promptly, providing an immediate boost to local and regional economies.
This $300 million down-payment will be delivered as follows:
• A one-off grant of $250 million allocated to councils and shires for local community infrastructure;
• Each council will receive a minimum payment of $100,000;
• Councils above 30,000 people in areas of high growth, as classified by the state and territory local government grants commissions will receive an additional $300,000 growth component;
• Allocations would range from $100,000 for councils with fewer than 5,000 people to $2.9 million for the largest council, based on population growth and needs;
• Councils would be required to submit proposals that meet the program’s guidelines in order to claim their allocation. The money can’t be used on roads.
· $50 million fund
• $50 million strategic projects fund for larger-scale community infrastructure to help deliver an additional injection of investment in communities; and
• This will be competitive, application-based, accountable and open to only those projects seeking a minimum Commonwealth contribution of $2 million.
Some examples of community infrastructure that would be eligible for the $300 million funding include:
• Social and cultural infrastructure, such as town halls, community centres, libraries, parks, public squares;
• Sport and recreation facilities, such as sporting grounds, stadiums, pools, walking tracks and playgrounds;
• Tourism infrastructure, such as walkways and tourist information centres; and
• Access facilities, such as footbridges, bus shelters, jetties and boat ramps.
Smaller local projects would accelerate and encourage economic development as well as improving the quality of life in local communities. The first meeting of the Australian Council of Local Government is part of the Rudd Government’s commitment to establish a new relationship between the Commonwealth and local governments – a framework for working together, which has not existed before.
The Government is determined to work with local government to improve the delivery of services to our communities and work towards the Government’s pre-election commitment of constitutional recognition of local government.
"This is a significant opportunity for local councils to rise to the challenge and address local infrastructure needs. Councils are encouraged to develop high quality proposals so that funding can be released as quickly as possible," the Minister’s spokesperson said. Ongoing funding for the RLCIP will be determined as part of the May 2009 Budget.
Gwydir Shire’s task now is to decide how to spend the money.