Hills Infrastructure Fast-Tracked As Deadline Looms
Written by Elliot Nash on 5 August 2020
A total of $1.2 million injected into the Hills Shire Council to fast track community infrastructure and improve connectivity throughout the Shire must be used in less than a year as part of the Federal Government’s Community Infrastructure Program (LRCI Program).
Announced on 22 May, $500 million will come from the Government to support local councils to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects across Australia as part of the broader $1.8 billion funding boost.
With the Council already supporting the list of planned works, voted on at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Tuesday, 28 July, Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne has extended her thanks to the Federal Government.
“This is fantastic news for The Hills Shire,” said Mayor Byrne.
“Additional funding will allow Council to fast track and build much-needed community facilities, as well as improve connectivity throughout our Shire.”
“We have put together an extensive list of projects that we would like to see revitalised as part of this grant, including a shared pathway to be built at Bella Vista Farm, completion of a pathway circuit around Castlewood Reserve, lighting at Bernie Mullane Reserve and the construction of a basketball/netball half court at South Maroota Reserve,” added Mayor Byrne.
Coming a few weeks after the completed upgrades to Connie Lowe Reserve, the Council has also nominated several footpath infrastructure projects, including at Talisman Avenue in Castle Hill, Ellerslie Drive in West Pennant Hills, Kullaroo Avenue in Castle Hill, and at Park Ridge Circuit and Coral Crescent, both located in Kellyville.
The Hills Shire Council has received a $1.2 million funding injection to support local roads and community projects as part of the Federal Government’s Community Infrastructure Program (LRCI Program).
The Hills Shire is one of the first councils to receive the funding boost, with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, describing local councils as well-positioned to boost jobs and support communities quickly.
“This week we have got money out the door to the first of more than 40 projects to begin under our $500 million Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program,” said Mr McCormack.
“Uptake has been very strong, with more than 175 councils nominating nearly a thousand projects between them.”
“A diverse range of projects have been nominated so far, which will support a broad range of jobs in local communities.”
With an aim to assist a community-led recovery from COVID-19 by supporting local jobs, firms, and procurement, the Government expects councils will use local businesses and workforces to deliver LRCI Program projects.
One caveat is its due date. According to the Program Guidelines, all projects are “required to be physically completed by 30 June 2021,” effectively giving the Shire Council less than a year to get it done.
“If construction activity cannot be completed during between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, an Eligible Funding Recipient may not receive their full Nominal Funding Allocation.”
The intended outcome of the program is to “provide stimulus to protect and create local short-term employment opportunities through funded projects following the impacts of the COVID-19; and deliver benefits to communities, such as improved road safety, accessibility and visual
As a result, “the Department may need to re-examine claims, seek further information, or request an independent audit of claims and payments on a risk-based or sampling basis.”
Minister for Local Government, Mark Coulton, is reminding councils to adhere to work schedule reporting guidelines, calling on “all local councils to get the ball rolling on seeking support for their priority road and local community funding initiatives”.
“These projects will play an important role in improving local infrastructure, creating local jobs and supporting the nation’s post-COVID recovery.”
“Local governments across the country are the perfect partners to deliver this economic stimulus as they work directly with their communities to deliver outcomes for their communities.”
The Australian Government has delivered the first payment toward crucial small-scale local road and community infrastructure projects nationwide under a $500