Lithgow Council has called on the NSW Government to provide funding up-front for the major works required to repair roads and other public assets damaged by disaster events.

There have been 7 separate disaster events throughout Lithgow over recent years. Mostly these have been caused by heavy rainfall, but the city has also experienced destructive bushfires. Because these events have been declared as disasters by the other levels of government, they qualify for funding assistance. But the government guidelines require that the Council undertake and fund the works and then claim those funds back.

Lithgow Mayor, Maree Statham said, “The community is pleased for governments directing significant public money to disaster recovery. But the system of payment needs to be changed because it is greatly delaying the delivery of much-needed roadworks. A simple change like payment of 50% of the funding up-front would allow works to be delivered much more quickly.”     

Mayor Statham said, “In a normal year the Council will undertake around $13 million of major capital works. But Lithgow Council will undertake more than $10 million of additional major disaster recovery works both this year and next year.”

“It is fortunate that the city has a number of very capable earthworks contractors, and local quarries producing road materials. With the Council’s commitment to support recovery this should allow a rapid delivery of road repairs and other works. But regional and rural councils, like Lithgow, have very limited financial capacity. The councils do not have the ability to carry large outflows of funds for disaster recovery works, without income from the government being received to offset this. As result, road repairs and other works must be phased, meaning the community’s recovery from the effects of disasters is delayed longer.”