The Esperance Shire Council have moved a budget variation to the annual roads program, after Main Roads WA increased the shire’s Direct Road Grant by more than $260,000.
The Esperance Shire had anticipated and included $385,460 in the budget the 2018/19 budget.
The variation accounted for the entire $649,307 grant and, according to shire chief executive officer Matthew Scott, the funding increase will help with the shire’s existing asset management gap.
The Shire has also been offered additional Black Spot funding for three projects by Main Road WA that were originally on the standby list for 2018, including staggering intersections at cross roads located at Swan Road and Burnside Road, Quast Road and Fagan Road and Kendal Road and Liebeck Road.
Shire of Esperance Asset Management director Mathew Walker said the additional funding was good news for the shire and stressed that the funds could only be used for those projects.
It’s good news for the shire,” he said.
“This is more funding through the state government which will be ongoing.
“On top of that, we’ve been offered three additional blackspot projects that we didn’t get originally and were waiting in reserve for.
“Originally, we put up six projects, two of which were fully funded under the national blackspot funding scheme, and we have now been offered funding for a further three of the projects that we initially applied for.
“Just to clarify, this funding was offered only for this purpose.
“The money cannot be spent for anything else.”
Councillor Steve McMullen moved the motion for the budget variation as per the officer’s recommendation, with councillor Basil Parker seconding the motion.
Speaking to the motion, councillor McMullen said the shire’s road network was its largest asset and any additional funding for road projects should be welcomed by the shire.
“We have the largest regional road network in WA,” he said.
“Any extra funding, whether it comes through the state of federal channels, is more than welcomed.
“Our roads are our biggest asset.”
Shire president Victoria Brown said the funding for a further three projects was great news for the shire and a win-win from a road safety perspective.
“It’s important to note that this funding is black spot funding, so from a safety perspective it’s a win-win,” she said.
The budget variation was carried 6-2, with councillors Shelley Payne and Dale Piercey voting against.