A joint project from 42 Local Governments has achieved $70 million dollars in Federal funding and points to a possible new approach to strategic funding negotiations.

The Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Routes project was formally initiated in 2016 with 42 separate Local Governments working towards improving freight productivity and sustainability of road freight networks across the region.

Their $500m, four phase network and investment priority plan has been accepted by the Federal Government, with a commitment of $70 million announced yesterday allowing for much for of the first phase to be achieved.

WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie welcomed the announcement and congratulated the Local Governments involved for their commitment to a region-wide approach.

“This funding is a testament to the 42 Local Governments in the region and their approach to explore the freight issue from a whole of region perspective,” Cr Craigie said.

“Getting freight across our State does not end at the boundaries of a single Shire, and to achieve gains across the network, individual Council priorities need to be weighed against those of their neighbours.”

“By engaging in discussion from a regional perspective with a joint aim of improved sustainability and productivity region-wide, these Councils have been able to establish priorities for work across a number of years.”

Cr Craigie said the plan represented a sophisticated approach to funding negotiations, with significant contributions from RDA Wheatbelt, WALGA, Main Roads WA, Wheatbelt Development Commission and consultation with a wide range of industry and stakeholder groups.

“I congratulate our Member Councils and their Regional Road Groups on this achievement and would like to recognise their hard work in bringing it about,” Cr Craigie said.  

“This project is a step change in the approach to funding strategically important freight routes in the region, and could serve as an example for other funding negotiations between spheres of government.”