COMMUNITIES affected by the recent bushfires will be assessed as a priority under Round 5 of the federal government’s Bridges Renewal Program and Round 7 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

Minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development Michael McCormack said these two funding rounds worth a combined $300m would help councils continue to upgrade and replace bridges which have been damaged or are deteriorating, along with improving key heavy vehicle infrastructure.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult start to the year for so many of our regional communities, particularly those suffering from drought and bushfires,” Mr McCormack said.

“Many bridges and roads were damaged in the fires which is why we are continuing to work closely with local councils and state and territory governments to prioritise and fast-track projects which can be delivered quickly.

“But of course, these funding rounds are open to all areas – both city and country – and we’d like to see applications from right across the nation.”

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Assistant minister for road safety and freight transport Scott Buchholz said new infrastructure projects means jobs.

“It means more people spending money in local shops and cafés which will provide a huge boost to bushfire-affected economies and also those struggling through drought,” Mr Buchholz said.

“Efficient freight networks are critical to the national economy and this funding forms part of the federal government’s commitment to keeping heavy vehicle drivers safe and improving our road network.

“This is why we increased annual funding for both of these programs by a combined $50m in the last federal budget.

“Under these programs, proponents can apply for funding of up to 50% of project costs for up to five projects.”

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