State road fund cuts to hit councils
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.
North West Coastal Highway.