Road funding cut shocks Roe

The Shire of Gingin says it may have to reduce its road resealing or verge clearing plans for the next financial year. Picture: Anita McInnes

THE amount of verge clearing or resealing carried out by the Shire of Gingin next financial year may be reduced as the council grapples with a reduction in road funding.

Shire of Gingin President David Roe said for the 2017-18 financial year the council had listed Cowalla Rd as requiring 30km of verge clearing.

But Cr Roe said the State Government’s recent announcement to cut $10 million in road funding could have a significant impact on the shire’s ability to maintain sections of its road network to safe standards.

He said the cut in road funding meant the amount of verge clearing on Cowalla Rd could be reduced to 10km, a decrease of 67 per cent.

“This reduction will greatly impact road safety for motorists on this road,’’ he said.

Before the March State Election the former Barnett government introduced the removal of vehicle licencing concessions for local government vehicles, which fell over when a disallowance motion, introduced by MLC Rick Mazza, was passed by the Legislative Council.

Then just when local governments were started to breathe easily again the McGowan Government announced the $10 million returned on the vehicle concessions would be taken from direct road funding.

WA Local Government Association president Cr Lynne Craigie said  the removal of vehicle licencing concessions, introduced in the dying days of the Barnett government and embraced by the McGowan Government was always a desperate money grab.

Cr Roe said the road funding cut had come as a shock given the shire had only recently adopted its 2017-18 budget with a 1.75 per cent rate increase.

He said the funding cut could amount to $83,000 or 1.1 per cent of this rate increase.

“That $83,000 may not be a lot of money on a state level, but it is a significant amount for a country local government with considerable rural road networks to maintain,’’ he said.

“We find it disappointing the State Government chooses to announce this now, after most local councils have adopted their budgets and who rely on every cent of this funding to keep their roads maintained to safe standards.

He said if funding cut didn’t affect the verge clearing on Cowalla Rd it could lead to 2.6km reduction of resealing works on the shire’s road network.

For 2017-18 the shire had budgeted for 10.08km of resealing across the shire , which could be reduced to 7.45km, a decrease of 26 per cent.