The Greens plan to deliver more funding to regional councils by bringing councils and the Federal government together to ensure a fairer distribution of crucial Commonwealth roads funding. Getting equitable road finding, based on financial need and the size of a council's road network, would see Hunter local councils with extra funding to build local infrastructure including roads, cycleway and walkways.
Greens Senator and Local Government Spokesperson Lee Rhiannon was in the Hunter today with council candidates Cathy Talley, Janet Murray and Mayoral candidate James Ryan.
Senator Lee Rhiannon said, “NSW regional councils are the winners under the Greens plan for a fairer federal funding based on local needs rather than on a per capita basis.
“When parliament resumes on August 30 I will move to set up an inquiry into Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants to gather evidence to show that areas like the Hunter are losing out under the current system.
“We chose to launch our plan in Cessnock as this is one of the council areas literally being robbed of urgently needed infrastructure funding because the federal grants are awarded according to population numbers with little consideration of the size of the region and transport networks that must be maintained.
"You only have to look at the results from last year's funding with Bankstown council which covers just 78 square kilometers and has 600 km of local and regional roads getting $3.1 million in Federal Road funding and Cessnock with 1,157 km of roads and 74 bridges across 1,966 square kilometers getting just $3.4 million, to see something is seriously wrong.
“Electing more Greens to Cessnock and other Hunter Councils, and building our collective voice in the region, will be critical to winning this funding boost.
Greens candidate for West Cessnock and Bellbird Cathy Talley said:
“The roads need fixing and Council needs better support to do that. People also want to have outdoor spaces that they can enjoy with family and friends such as cycleways, parks, playgrounds and pools and this funding can make that happen.
“A new federal funding model would provide a "win-win" for Council and the community.” said Ms Talley.
Greens candidate for Kurri Kurri, Janet Murray said:
"The Kurri Kurri and Cessnock areas do not have enough walking trails and cycleways. We can see from the Fernleigh track and Warners Bay shared cycle path that residents will use recreational facilities if the local Council will provide them.
"But Council needs a fairer share of Federal funding so it can deliver better roads and safe cycleways," said Ms Murray.
Greens Mayoral Candidate and Cessnock councillor James Ryan said:
"The current system of awarding road grants to Councils based on their population and not of their needs is inequitable and short changes regional areas.
"We need more Greens on regional councils to get behind our senators and state MPs so we get the support for a national senate inquiry to fix the broken federal funding model for local councils," Councillor Ryan said.
Greens candidates for Cessnock Council are:
Janet Murray - Ward D (Kurri Kurri)
Cathey Talley - Ward A (Bellbird)
David Atwell - Ward C (Abermain)
Greg Astill - Ward B
James Ryan - Mayor
General Purpose and Local Road Financial Assistance Grant:
In 2015/16 Bankstown Council (in Metropolitan Sydney), population 203,202, received $3,196,976 in Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants. Bankstown is 78 square kilometres and has 600 km of local and regional roads.
In 2015/16 Cessnock Council, population 55,862, received $3,403,177 in funding but it is 1,966 square kilometres and has 1,157 km of local and regional roads as well as 74 vehicle bridges.