YARRIAMBIACK Shire Council is hoping to be given a few more months to complete community infrastructure projects.
In November the council was approved to receive $1 million in funding to complete projects that employ residents impacted by drought and which stimulate local spending.
The money is being provided under round three of the federal Drought Communities Fund. The municipality also received $1 million under round two of the fund last year.
Cr Massey said the council had until December 31 to complete all the projects, however the money still hasn't come through.
"They are still sitting on that because parliament hasn't met. We are hoping the projects will be given an extension until the middle of 2021," he said.
"We are really wanting to get started on them because they may take a bit longer. Communities met before Christmas and we submitted the list in January and haven't heard back."
The government uses rainfall data from the Bureau of Meteorology as part of its criteria for allocating the program's funds.
Cr Massey said the council had contacted Member for Mallee Anne Webster about the issue. He said the council had provided Regional Roads Victoria with a list of four roads to upgrade.
"The big one for us would be Stawell-Warracknabeal Road on the north side of Minyip, where they took trees out late last year," he said. "
"We haven't heard back on when they are planning to do it.
"I think they are waiting to see what sort of funding they are getting out of the state budget to. They always seem to be struggling to meet the projects put forward by local governments."
The Mail-Times asked the following questions of Regional Roads Victoria:
- What major roadworks is RRV currently completing between Ararat and the South Australian border?
- Does RRV expect to finish any roadworks in the region before it initially planned to by virtue of their being fewer vehicles on the road? If so which ones?
- Has funding for any road projects between Ararat and the South Australian border been cut/redirected due to the coronavirus pandemic?
- Have roadwork crews had to change how they work to incorporate social distancing measures? If so, how?
- Any other information you would like to share with our readers at this point.
In response, the Department of Transport sent back the following statement from Mr Bailey.
"We're continuing on with our work to deliver safer, smoother roads across western Victoria as planned, as part of the $425 million regional road maintenance blitz.
"We are closely monitoring the health of our workforce and the availability of resources to enable our works to be delivered."
A spokesman said the organisation's maintenance program was continuing as planned and the pandemic had had a "minimal impact".
He said measures were being put in place on work sites to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), including increased hygiene requirements, physical distancing protocols and staggered workforce arrangements.
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