MORE than 350 projects will share in Australian government funding under Round 5 of the Bridges Renewal Program and Round 7 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the funding would improve the productivity and safety of bridges and heavy vehicle routes nationwide, while supporting jobs and the economy at a time it’s needed most. 

“I am pleased to deliver more than $290m in funding to help upgrade and replace bridges that have been damaged or are deteriorating, while improving key heavy vehicle infrastructure right across the nation,” Mr McCormack said.

“With nearly 80% of this funding going to local councils, the outcome of these rounds will support local workers, households and businesses through a difficult time and position the Australian economy for a strong recovery.

 “This includes our truckies who form an essential part of the backbone of our national economy and have been working tirelessly during COVID-19 to keep shelves stocked, hospitals supplied and the economy running,” he said.

Assistant minister for road safety and freight transport Scott Buchholz said 50% of this funding would benefit communities affected by the ongoing drought and last summer’s bushfires.

“$146.97m in funding through these rounds will go to councils affected by bushfires, drought or both, allowing them to prioritise and fast-track their highest priority infrastructure projects,” Mr Buchholz said.

Round 7 of the HVSPP includes livestock transport industry projects that will directly support communities currently impacted by drought, such as Longreach Regional Council in Queensland, who were successful in securing federal funding to upgrade the popular Western Queensland Livestock Exchange.

“This project will upgrade the loading and unloading ramps at the facility to improve traffic movement, providing secure work on the books of local contractors and businesses who have felt the cumulative impact of drought and now COVID-19 during construction,” Mr Buchholz said.