Another round to build a better region
The Federal Government’s $206.5 million commitment to a third round of the Building Better Regions Fund will deliver real opportunities for the electorate, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said after tonight’s Budget release.
“This commitment is especially important for Mayo because large parts of our electorate were prevented from applying to the first round because they didn’t fit the Fund’s original definition of a region.
“It was only after I raised the issue repeatedly with the former Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash that the Government allowed the majority of the electorate to apply in the second round.
“We have a number of regional development projects that need Government assistance to get off the ground, including a new pool for Mount Barker and the redevelopment of the Willunga Recreation Park, so news of a third round will be embraced by our councils and community organisations," Rebekha said.
Rebekha has also welcomed the continuation of the South Australian Supplementary Local Road funding.
This funding was negotiated by Rebekha and her Centre Alliance colleagues in last year’s Federal Budget and secures $20 million for SA councils to repair and maintain local roads in 2018/19.
The Government has also committed to a fourth round of the Stronger Communities program, which will deliver much-needed funding opportunities to community organisations.
The most recent round of the program delivered $150,000 to 17 community organisations within Mayo.
Community sporting clubs will also have the opportunity to take advantage of $29.7 million in community sporting infrastructure development grants.
The Government has announced the creation of a $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund to support projects that improve traffic efficiency and safety, with a particular focus on bottleneck intersections.
However, Rebekha said she was disappointed in South Australia’s small $1.8 billion share of the Government’s $75 billion rolling infrastructure plan.
“I am disappointed that once again two of the fastest growing areas in the State – Mount Barker and the South Coast – are missing out on much-needed road and public transport infrastructure funding,” Rebekha said.
“Despite our community lobbying for the Federal Government to contribute to the duplication of the Victor Harbor Road, the upgrade of Main South Road between Noarlunga and Cape Jervis, and the construction of a new interchange on the South Eastern Freeway at Verdun, the budget ignores Mayo entirely.
“I am particularly disappointed that the Victor Harbor Road has missed out and I remain committed to lobbying our Federal and State Governments to give this major corridor the attention it deserves.
“The Victor Harbor – Goolwa region is the third largest Significant Urban Area in SA with its population increasing by seven per cent in the 2016 census.
“The Victor Harbor Road has one of the highest rates of vehicle crashes and is in urgent need of an upgrade to double-lanes.”
After receiving zero dollars in 2017/18, the first year of the Government’s 10-year infrastructure plan, South Australia has been promised $1.78 billion in new projects, the majority of which will go to the North-South corridor in metropolitan Adelaide.
“While my Senate colleagues and I are pleased to see a 10-year plan and the $1.8 billion in spending for South Australia, every Budget should be an 'infrastructure budget' if we’re going to keep ahead of population growth and future needs,” Rebekha said.