The State Liberals are calling on the Weatherill Labor Government to adopt its Community Infrastructure Fund policy to support local government infrastructure projects and protect South Australians from council rate rises.
At the 2014 State Election, the State Liberals proposed establishing a Community Infrastructure Fund, which had the potential to unlock up to $500 million of investment in local infrastructure.
“The Community Infrastructure Fund has the capacity to drive job creation at a local government level without impacting on rates,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“It is critical that job creation by local governments doesn’t result in yet another cost impost on struggling South Australian families.”
The scheme involves councils submitting eligible projects to be considered on a merit basis once Treasury has confirmed that the local government authority has the financial capacity to borrow the funds required.
Through the Community Infrastructure Fund, the State Government would pay three percentage points of borrowing costs for up to a 10 year period for projects successful in their application to the scheme.
For example, if a council borrows at six per cent per year, the scheme will provide a three percentage point subsidy per year, meaning that council’s effective borrowing costs are halved to three per cent.
We welcome the fact that the Lord Mayor of Adelaide Martin Haese this morning has indicated there is merit in the policy.
“The State Liberals support local government wanting to bring forward local infrastructure projects to help create jobs but not at the cost of increased rates,” said Mr Lucas.
“A Community Infrastructure Fund is an option the Weatherill Labor Government should consider to help local government bring forward infrastructure projects and create jobs without increasing council rates.
“The Weatherill Labor Government needs to do more to create jobs in South Australia.
“By partnering with local government, the Weatherill Labor Government can help deliver the right kind of infrastructure that local communities want and need and create jobs at the same time.”