Local Governments will now have the choice to use their own plant and equipment when rebuilding essential public assets damaged during the floods in February.

Announced today by State and Federal Governments, the exemption for WA Local Governments claiming support through Western Australia Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (WANDRRA) allows them to be reimbursed for repairs undertaken by own staff or equipment.

WA Local Government Association President Cr Lynne Craigie welcomed the temporary exemption, stating it came at a critical time to farming communities facing delays to their seeding.

“Local Governments have been awaiting this decision to undertake critical repairs until this exemption was confirmed, and it was starting to threaten the livelihood of many in the farming community,” Cr Craigie said.

“We welcome the pragmatic approach of the Government in approving a temporary exemption to allow for timely restoration of damaged roads and assets.

“This is a positive result for the sector and their communities – fast tracking remedial works will lessen the impact on those communities already affected by the rain and floods.”

Cr Craigie noted the exemption was not a permanent change, conditions outlined by the Federal Government are still to be agreed.   

“We recognise that the conditions must be finalised before Local Governments will have all the information they need to determine the best way to rebuild their assets and that this exemption is only the first step of a process to secure a more formalised agreement,” she said.

“This has been a success in collaboration between all spheres of government and the relevant support agencies, and we will continue to pursue this approach in setting and implementing the guidelines as well as amending the formal WANDRRA policy. 

“We maintain that allowing Local Governments to claim support for own source labour and materials enables a far quicker recovery process after disaster events, with greater value for money not only for ratepayers but also the Commonwealth and State Government.”