THE Civil Contractors Federation South Australia welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister that there will be a $400m boost to SA’s road funding including bringing major project work forward and safety upgrades to regional roads.

The Federation feared that funding for the few major road projects under construction was soon to be exhausted, resulting in job losses and economic stagnation.

The industry lobby says that the investment must stay in South Australia to benefit SA firms.

Phil Sutherland, CEO of the Federation said, “We are very pleased both the federal and state government have heard our call for additional road funding and for this to be spent sooner than later.

“Our message to government is don’t bundle the work up into big contracts and put the work beyond the reach of the smaller SA firms.”

The Federation has also welcomed the federal opposition’s recently announced proposed infrastructure plan that would give councils an injection of funding to help turn around the nation’s economy.

The plan would see small infrastructure grants made available to councils to improve their road networks, and in doing so, stimulate local economies and jobs growth.

The Federation has long called for the SA and federal governments in partnership to make available $3m to every council in the state to invest in local projects employing local people and using products and services from local businesses.

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The Federation sees the required $204m as an affordable mechanism to deliver state-wide economic stimulus and employment opportunities. It believes that a local government financial support package would be the “shot-in-the-arm” that could turn the tide, in particular for the many regional towns and communities in SA.

“While we all welcome this week’s federal and SA sovernment’s fast forwarding of $400m investment in road and rail infrastructure, we agree with the federal opposition leader, Mr Albanese, that there is room for a targeted approach that involves funding councils for those smaller projects,” Mr Sutherland said.

“Most councils have projects on the back burner that are shovel ready but can’t proceed due to the absence of funding.

“While there are existing grants that councils can apply for, the time, cost, effort and red tape involved is a deterrent. The same applies to the conditions attached to the grants, often so onerous that councils don’t apply. Their communities are the poorer for this,” he said.

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