Funding cuts: City of Swan staring at road maintenance black hole

Potholes and black holes: City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright says funding cuts to the city's road maintenance grants are a big blow. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au   d472406
Potholes and black holes: City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright says funding cuts to the city's road maintenance grants are a big blow. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d472406

THE CITY of Swan could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in funding if the State Government makes cuts to its road maintenance grants.

The cuts, which have been proposed at 42 per cent, mean the City could lose up to $250,000 a year from its road maintenance budget.

Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright said the cuts would have a large impact on the City and its residents.

“Over the past five years the City has received more than $2.5 million in direct road grants to help fund the maintenance of local roads,” he said

“If this funding is cut we are put in the difficult position of having to recoup it somehow, which could lead to an increase in future rates and fees or putting road maintenance on hold, which is not fair to our ratepayers or residents.”

The decision to cut the rates comes after the Upper House of Parliament overturned a State Government decision to cut local government licensing concessions, which would have cost the City close to $400,000 a year.

Cr Wainwright said the fact that the new funding cuts were announced after the City adopted its budget was a double blow to Council.

“When it was announced that concessions to local government vehicle licensing would not be scrapped, we believed we had recovered a large loss to our budget, and as a result reduced our rated from 3 per cent to 2.5 per cent,” he said

“Now not only will we have to allow for the lower rate increase, but the loss of road maintenance funding as well.

“I believe this is simply a cost recovery exercise by the State Government, which unfairly targets local governments.”

Transport minister Rita Saffioti said the cuts were a budget measure brought in by the previous government.

She said the State Government provides local governments with about $173 million a year in varied grants – this will be affected by about $10 million across 139 local governments.

“Council were expecting to have to pay their vehicle registration and stamp duty but no longer have to following the Disallowance Motion. Local government authorities may choose to direct the savings from their restored MVL and stamp duty exemptions towards their road budgets,” she said.

“Therefore, there should be no reduction in road funds as councils should redirect their expected vehicle registration and stamp duty payment to road projects.

“This was a budget measure introduced by the previous Liberal-National Government, who then voted against their own measure to create a black hole in the budget.”