Canberra: The Australian government on Friday announced that it has fast-tracked funding for essential infrastructure damaged by natural disasters.
Kristy McBain, the Minister for Regional Development, said that local government areas across the country will be able to access A$1.8 billion in funding to repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure assets damaged by floods and bushfires in recent years, reports Xinhua news agency.
Of the total funding, almost half will go to communities in New South Wales, Australia’s most populated state, which was affected by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and widespread catastrophic flooding in 2022.
McBain said the need for immediate funding was impressed on her during meetings at the Australian Council of Local Government conference in Canberra earlier in June.
“Mayors and council representatives were clear about the growing need for more up-front help,” she said.
“Councils are on the front line of disasters, and we need to ensure they are adequately supported both in planning for and recovering from disasters.”
Queensland, Australia’s most-disaster-prone state, will be the other major beneficiary of the announcement, with A$758 million to be funneled to projects.
Tony Sheldon, the government’s special envoy for disaster recovery, said the funds would help communities get back on their feet.
“With many communities suffering from reoccurring disasters, it’s clear the financial burden is weighing on flood-impacted regions,” he said.
“When I visit communities, undoubtedly the recovery workload, and the costs associated with that are creating challenges for local councils — they’re finding it particularly difficult to keep up with repairs to roads and other infrastructure such as bridges, culverts, levees, bike lanes and footpaths.”