As part of the commitment announced by the Government in November, funding will be gradually increased from $500 million to a $1 billion program, which provides critical funds to local government to maintain local road networks.
GrainGrowers chief executive officer, Shona Gawel said last year's repeated flood events and persistent and unprecedented rainfall has deteriorated critical road infrastructure across Australia's grain-growing regions and exacerbated systemic underfunding of the regional road network.
"We have been advocating for a number of years on behalf of our growers for increased funding for local roads including forming the Rural Road Alliance with other key industry groups and presenting at the Inquiry into the implications of severe weather events on the national regional, rural, and remote road network on the need for long term maintenance funding for local roads.
"It is great to see local roads getting the attention they deserve. Despite making up approximately 85 per cent of the nation's road network, local roads have been overlooked for too long."
GrainGrowers' recent ‘Connecting the Dots: Improving Australian Grain Supply Chain Efficiency' report highlighted the impact of insufficient funding for local councils for grain freight.
"Poor local roads restrict high-productivity freight vehicles accessing ‘first and last mile' roads essential for getting grain to market and impede overall freight efficiency," Gawel said.
"Many rural local councils are at breaking point with large road networks to manage and low populations. The average cost of maintaining a kilometre of local government road in metropolitan councils is typically shared between 175 people, while in rural and remote council areas the cost is shared between less than five people."