Lower Eyre councils call for road funding extension

Local councils could face the choice of rate increases or a downgrade in road maintenance if the federal government’s Supplementary Road Funding is not extended past the 2018/19 financial year.

The government announced in 2017 $20 million would be provided to South Australian councils in each of the 2017/18 and 2018/19 budgets to maintain the state’s road network.

However the Local Government Association of South Australia is calling on the funding to be extended past the June 30 deadline so councils would not be left with a $20 million gap in road funding.

LGASA president and Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer said it would lobby both sides of federal parliament to ensure the funding would continue.

He said per capita South Australia was significantly below other states when it came to Commonwealth funding for roads and if the supplementary funding was lost, regional councils would feel the effects.

“Every council, especially on Eyre Peninsula would be impacted if this funding was discontinued,” he said.

“For Tumby Bay it would mean a four per cent rate increase to make up for the shortfall.”

Port Lincoln City Council chief executive officer Stephen Rufus said Port Lincoln, like other SA councils, would face the choice of rate increases or decreasing service levels of the roads.

“This is once again evidence of the struggle faced by South Australian local councils in maintaining an equal share of federal funding to support the needs of its communities,” he said.

Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council chief executive officer Rod Pearson said the council had received $210,000 in Supplementary Road Funding in 2018/19, which equated to more than three per cent of general rate revenue raised by councils.

“There is a strong case for the extension of this program, and we are very hopeful that a successful outcome would be forthcoming,”