Local communities are to wear the cost of a massive cut to road maintenance as the State Government refuses to accept the will of the WA Parliament on Council vehicle registrations.

Local Government recently won a reprieve from the removal of their vehicle registration concession through a disallowance motion passed by the Legislative Assembly.

However WA Local Government Association President Cr Lynne Craigie said Councils had now been told that the $10 million returned on the vehicle concessions would be taken from direct road funding.

Cr Craigie said a $10m annual cut in direct road funding was a 42 per cent reduction to the program that was largely allocated to road maintenance.

“Councils will be faced with the choice of passing on the additional financial pain to their communities or deferring road maintenance works indefinitely and ultimately putting community safety at risk,” Cr Craigie said.

“Everyone accepts the financial challenges facing the State Government and the goodwill shown to the sector by the new Administration on a number of issues but the clear intent of MLC Rick Mazza’s Disallowance Motion was that State’s budget recovery should not be a cost shift to Councils.

“Local Government was being treated unfairly and the Upper House was prepared to do its job and prevent such an injustice from occurring but sadly, it seems, the State Government hasn’t accepted this decision.”

Cr Craigie said removing of the vehicle licencing concessions, introduced in the dying days of the Barnett Government and embraced by the current Administration, was always a desperate money grab.

She said it was unfair that local communities would be asked to carry further burden given that Councils were already underfunded by $48 million annually in relation to previous road funding agreements.

“Local Government accounts for almost 90 per cent of the roads but receives only 21 per cent of the revenue from vehicle registrations when previously it was 27 per cent,” she said.

“The sector is already supporting the State Government’s financial recovery with reduced road funding and this latest cut takes that contribution to nearly $60 million each year.

“Cutting back on infrastructure investment will do further harm to the WA economy and will do nothing of substance to either fix the State budget or create jobs.”