State road fund cuts to hit coun­cils

Pilbara News - - News - Gary Ad­shead

Lo­cal coun­cils will lose mil­lions of dol­lars in State Gov­ern­ment grants for road main­te­nance af­ter a tit-for-tat fight over rev­enue and sav­ings ahead of the State Bud­get.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti said grants would be cut to com­pen­sate for a planned $10 mil­lion Bud­get sav­ings mea­sure over­turned by the Up­per House of Par­lia­ment in June.

The Bar­nett gov­ern­ment had planned to re­move the ex­emp­tions coun­cils re­ceive on ve­hi­cle regis­tra­tions and stamp duty.

“It was in the Bud­get, and then what we saw in the Up­per House were the Lib­er­als and Na­tion­als vote against their own Bud­get mea­sure,” Ms Saf­fi­oti said.

She said the di­rect grants would be slashed to plug the Bud­get hole, but coun­cils had no ex­cuse to stop road main­te­nance.

“Coun­cils won’t be pay­ing for ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion, so now they can pay and use that money to fund roads,” she said. “There shouldn’t be any cuts to roads.”

The WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion said the ini­tial $10 mil­lion sav­ings mea­sure was viewed as un­fair by the Up­per House and re­jected. “Sadly, the State Gov­ern­ment hasn’t ac­cepted this de­ci­sion,” WALGA pres­i­dent Lynne Craigie said.

“The sec­tor is al­ready sup­port­ing the State Gov­ern­ment’s fi­nan­cial re­cov­ery with re­duced road fund­ing.”

Na­tion­als WA leader Mia Davies said ru­ral coun­cils would be hit the hard­est. “These ill­con­sid­ered cuts mean lo­cal gov­ern­ments will have to find other ways to re­coup a sig­nif­i­cant loss of rev­enue,” she said.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

North West Coastal High­way.

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