Haines: My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. The government’s Infrastructure Investment Program review has redirected money away from regional road projects. The state of local roads in my electorate of Indi is dire. Regional and rural roads are disintegrating. They are unsafe to travel on. What are you doing to increase funding for regional and rural roads?
Minister King: I thank the member from Indi for her question. I don’t accept the premise of the first part of the question. That’s simply not the case when it comes to the Infrastructure Investment Program review. What I would say, as the member for Indi and I both know—as regional MPs both with caravans, we drive through our electorates with our mobile offices—is that our regional roads, particularly some of our local council roads, because of the weather events that we have had and because, frankly, we are seeing more traffic on those roads, are in need of repair.
That is why the Albanese Labor government is very proud, through the financial assistance grants, to continue to provide money to local government. It’s why we continue to provide money through the Roads to Recovery Program. It’s why, in the last round—we had to find provision for the last round of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure fund—we increased it by $250 million, taking the last round to $750 million of roads and local community infrastructure funding directly to local government. It’s why we’ve continued the black spots road program, the heavy vehicle roads program and the bridges renewal program.
You will see from the infrastructure investment program review that there are three recommendations in particular that relate to funding of subprograms that will be of significant interest to local government. We have not released the government’s response to those as yet. I’ll be doing that in coming days. I know, all of those on this side of the House know and the member for Indi knows just how important our local government roads are and that Commonwealth investment in those is important. But it is also important that we have continued investment from state and local governments as well.