MP campaigns to restore local road funding

MP campaigns to restore local road funding

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is calling on the Government to bring back a council road funding program that slashed nearly $1.2 million from road maintenance in her electorate when it was axed in the 2014 Federal Budget.

Photograph:

Mt Barker Mayor Ann Ferguson, left, Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and Adelaide Hills Deputy Mayor Jan-Claire Wisdom examine the eroded surface of Swamp Road at Balhannah near Oakwood Road near the border of the two councils. The road is used by many heavy vehicles. Last year the Adelaide Hills Council applied for a Special Local Roads Program matched funding grant of $420,000 from the State Government. The program uses money sourced from the Federal Government’s Roads to Recovery Program. The application was knocked back. The council has applied again and is waiting on an answer.

 

The NXT MP has backed a submission by the Australian Local Government Association (LGA) to restore fairer road funding to South Australia and last Friday told a meeting of the Southern and Hills LGA that she would continue to advocate for the restoration of Supplementary Road Funding.

“Since I came into office I have been advocating on behalf of our councils for fairer road funding,” Ms Sharkie said.

“South Australia has 11.8% of the nation’s local roads and 7.2% of the population but we receive less than 5% of Federal road funding.

“In the harsh Federal Budget of 2014 that funding took a hit when the Abbott Government axed Supplementary Road Funding.

“Councils in the Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island, which maintain about 5500km of local roads, lost $1.18million in funding that year.

“If you include the Onkaparinga and Barossa councils, which only have sections of road in Mayo, my electorate lost more than $2.3 million.”

In 2013/14 NSW received about $1400 per kilometre, Tasmania received $2500 while SA was given just $500.

On a per capital basis SA received the lowest rate at $24 per person.

Victoria was the next highest at $25 per person while Tasmania received $70 per person.

Supplementary Road Funding topped up the national funding pool, giving SA councils 7.9 per cent of national road funding.

A 2006 review by the Commonwealth Grants Commission recommended SA should receive 8.9 per cent of the national funding pool.

Adelaide Hills Acting Mayor Jan-Claire Wisdom said cutting spending on council roads was a “false economy” that transferred the cost of  rebuilding roads to future generations.

“It’s much more expensive in the long-run to rebuild roads than it is to regularly maintain them,” Ms Wisdom said.

“It’s also a road safety issue. We know the roads in the Hills are dangerous, especially for our young drivers.”

Mt Barker Mayor Ann Ferguson said roads were a regional area’s greatest asset.

“If we don’t build them properly in the first place, and we don’t maintain them adequately, we are doing our community a disservice and putting the lives of our community at risk,” she said.

Ms Sharkie said the Government’s five-year Roads to Recovery Program, announced after the 2014 budget, did deliver annual funding of $2.27 million to Mayo.

However, she said the program was a short-term solution to a long-term problem of funding inequity.

“The Government clearly stated that Roads to Recovery was not intended to replace council spending on roads so the program doesn’t address the underlying inequity in this State,” Ms Sharkie said.

“I have been advocating strongly and will continue to advocate for the restoration of Supplementary Road Funding to put back about $20 million into State Roads every year.”

Mayo Supplementary Road Funding (SRF) in 2013/14

Adelaide Hills Council $323,305

Alexandrina $256,625

Barossa $205,892

Kangaroo Island $178,352

Mt Barker $246,077

Victor Harbor $117,513

Yankalilla $67,551

(Onkaparinga Council received $1.049 million but only a section of the district is in Mayo)

(Barossa received $205,892 but only a section of the district is in Mayo)

Top 15 black spots

These sites were identified using casualty crash data (2011 to 2015) and mapped by the Parliamentary Library at the request of the Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie to identify road black spots.

•           Corner Pfeiffer Road and Woodside-Nairne Road, Inverbrackie

•           Corner Parker Road and Willyaroo Road, Strathalbyn

•           Corner Main South Road, Norman Ave (Normanville)

•           Playford Highway, Cygnet River (near Melville Track), Kangaroo Island

•           Corner of Cape Willouby Road and Cape Coutts Rd (KI)

•           Corner Adelaide-Mannum Road and Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek

•           Corner Adelaide-Mannum Road and Tilmouth Road, Milbrook

•           Corner Gorge Road and Tippett Road, Chain of Ponds

•           Mt Barker Road between Bridgewater and Aldgate

•           Birdwood Rd (between Gumeracha and Birdwood)

•           Onkaparinga Valley Rd (West of Mt Torrens)

•           Top of Willunga Hill, Victor Harbor Road

•           Middleton-Port Elliott Road (to Liprott Lane)

•           Main South Road, east north east of Yankallilla.