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Council motions drive change for the better

Changes to disaster restoration guidelines to provide greater funding opportunities for projects delivering more resilient replacement infrastructure are being called for by Council.

Council today voted to submit two motions to the upcoming Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) annual conference. The conference brings together councils from across the State help frame the peak body's advocacy policy platform.

Corporate and Community Services Committee chair Cr Virginia West said Scenic Rim would be seeking the support of other local councils for changes to the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA), which are jointly funded by the State and Federal governments to help communities recover after disasters.                 

"The support provided under this program is crucial for assisting regions like Scenic Rim to restore infrastructure damaged by disasters such as ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie and we absolutely appreciate this assistance," she said.

"It provides for the like-for-like repair or replacement of damaged public assets under Category B. However, there is only limited funding to deliver 'betterment' - restoration works which provide a higher level of resilience - under Category D.

"As a result, what we see is situations where a road repaired after one disaster may be redamaged in a similar manner in the next event. This impact may have been reduced had the road been funded for repair to a higher standard.

"And this is certainly the positive outcome we have experienced in where we have undertaken approved betterment or complementary Council-funded works as part of a restoration project."

Cr West said Council believed there was a case for targeted investment in betterment projects under Category D where it could be demonstrated improved resilience would reduce future repair costs.

She said Council would be submitting a second motion to the LGAQ conference, calling on the Federal Government to consider increasing the local road funding component of its Financial Assistance Grants and undertake a review of the distribution methodology.

"It is estimated that local government collects 3.6 per cent of all taxes but is responsible for 36 per cent of non-financial assets held by all levels of government, including 80 per cent of the nation's road network," she said.

"We believe the funding available for road infrastructure must increase in order to assist with addressing the issue of local government financial sustainability and to facilitate economic growth in regional Australia."