Keith Rhoades.
Keith Rhoades. www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au

Mayors to meet to ask for more money

INFRASTRUCTURE will be the word today at a historic meeting between local and federal governments that could see a massive injection of funding for cash-strapped Coffs Coast councils.

At the first Council of Australian Local Government meeting in Canberra today, the government is reportedly planning to announce up to $100 million for infrastructure projects to revitalise local government areas.

Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades is one of 565 mayors attending the meeting, and he said he will be pushing for increased funding for roads in our area.

Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, said local councils spend more than $22 billion a year on infrastructure and three separate reports into local government infrastructure show it has been neglected over the past decade.

“They're responsible for more than half a billion kilometres of road, enough to circumnavigate the globe some 16 times, so it's important that the national government engage with local government,” Mr Albanese told the ABC. “We also know that local government is a good way to create local jobs and also create a stimulus in local economies.”

While Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has yet to confirm reports of the possible funding boost, he did say today's conference would usher in a new relationship between local and federal governments. He said the conference aims to view how local government can be supported into the future and gather input into constitutional recognition of local government.

“We want to establish a new relationship with local government, one that has not formally existed in the past,” Mr Rudd said.



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