FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said Walcha Council has secured funding of $639,500 under Round Two of the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme to support vital upgrades of local bridge infrastructure
“The Bridges Renewal Programme is designed to bolster the productivity of Australia’s local bridges, and give councils the support they need to better serve communities and drive greater efficiency in road freight and traffic movement,” Mr Joyce said.
Walcha Council General Manager, Jack O’Hara said news of the funding was “terrific” and would accelerate the Council’s program to replace, repair or upgrade up to 27 bridges on roads throughout the Shire.
The bridges, Aberbaldie Bridge on Aberbaldie Road, Flags Niangala Road and the Kangaroo Flat Bridge were currently top of the priority list collated by the Council, Mr O’Hara said.
“This funding would immediately progress the design and construction process. This will make a huge difference and accelerate the programme to bring other bridges forward on our list,” Mr O’Hara said.
He said the Council has used a previous injection of funding to prepare an analysis of the bridges on country roads throughout the Shire which were vital for the transportation of livestock and produce.
Mr Joyce said the funding announcement was “great news and a substantial injection for the Walcha Council”.
He said the Bridges Renewal Programme underpins the Government’s support for local bridges, which are vital in ensuring communities and local businesses have easy access to essential services, traffic movement and the efficient transportation of road freight.
“It is clear that Councils like Walcha have thought seriously about how well their proposal addresses the objectives of the Programme and, in many cases, have taken the time to consult with local industry on their needs and priorities,” he said.
“This will not only reduce the time taken to transport freight from farms and local industry, but increase productivity and economic gains.
“Currently the Uralla Shire Council is overseeing the construction of a new bridge at Abington Creek between Walcha and Bundarra. This was the last single lane bridge on Thunderbolt’s Way and will now greatly improve the transport of cattle to processors like Bindaree Beef in Inverell.
“Abington Bridge received $705,000 from Round One of the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme.
“These projects were identified as priorities by local government and the works will be managed by local government – showing this Government’s commitment to providing real outcomes from the local level up.”