One thing I have learned from my time in local government is that people do not like to feel they are paying for projects in other people's areas, which they feel do not have a relevance to themselves.
This is very topical at the moment with road funding to rural councils.
There is a growing feeling that country roads are not on a level playing field with funding, missing out to city projects.The Country Roads and Bridges Program delivered around $260 million to rural councils over a four year period.
This has unfortunately been discontinued, resulting in our council losing funding of $1 million a year from the Victorian State Government. This is equal to around 5 per cent of our budget in each financial year.
We are very grateful for the funding we received over the last two years for roadworks on local roads.
Rural councils need that money to keep going, with a guarantee it will be there each time the State sets its annual budget, just as the Commonwealth Roads to Recovery Fund does.
With the delay of the State Budget, it looks like there will be a further cut of funding to the contract we hold with VicRoads for maintenance in our area, and this could potentially equate to another 5 per cent cut from our income.
We have been very fortunate to receive Local Roads and Community Infrastructure funds from the Commonwealth Government, which we have allocated largely to road related works projects, to keep up the expenditure we had expected to make.
C Class roads are constantly under pressure. These are State owned roads that fall outside Local Government responsibility. Some are narrow, others need urgent repairs to rough surfaces.
Where is the finance needed in West Wimmera going? Are we paying to remove level crossings in Melbourne?
Where is the finance needed in West Wimmera going? Are we paying to remove level crossings in Melbourne?- Cr Bruce Meyers
When local residents are contacted for the annual customer satisfaction survey, these roads are often confused with local government roads and the results reflect that.
Some of the level crossing removals associated with new train station replacements and line work in Melbourne are almost equal to the whole of the Country Roads and Bridges Program over the entire four years.
The Port of Melbourne lease money is all gone. We didn't see much of it. Massive borrowings from foreign entities to keep this program going will need to be paid back by generations that follow us. We are asking for a level playing field. Country Roads Matter.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service will have an extra employee to help small regional businesses that have extra pressure placed on them due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This employee will offer services in the Wimmera and add to their current number operating throughout the region.
If you need help to access government grants and packages, or financial advice, they can assist to help prepare budgets and cash flows, as well as plan for the future.
If you want to access their services, call RFCS on 1300 735 578 to make an appointment.
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