Council makes special request for State commitment to fund levee in three years
Published: 29 May 2018 4:25pm
Council makes special request for State commitment to fund levee in three years - 3 April 2016
The Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Rod Kendall and General Manager Alan Eldridge have made a formal request to the NSW Minister for Environment for special consideration for an upfront funding commitment of the Main City and North Wagga Levee upgrades.
If the special consideration is successful, the project could be complete in three years. The project will take eight years at the current rate of funding of $2M a year.
Minister Mark Speakman MP encouraged Council to apply for the special consideration in March when he met with Cr Kendall and Mr Eldridge.
The request is based on the unique circumstances of the levee upgrade project, including urgency regarding flood protection for the city, and a potential funding saving of $4M if the project is delivered in three years rather than over an eight-year funding plan.
The special consideration is for an upfront commitment from the State Government to fund the remaining $12M required to complete the levee upgrade.
If the special consideration is granted, Council would then be prepared to borrow the State’s portion of funding knowing the levee project would be complete in a single stage and the borrowings will be repaid over time through contributions received from the State Government.
The state funding is in addition to $2M in funding Council received through the 2015/16 Flood Plain Management Program for stage one of the levee project earlier this year. Council has also applied for a temporary special rate variation to fund Council’s one-third, or $7.75M, contribution to the project.
Under existing government funding arrangements grant applications need to be made each round, which Cr Kendall says is inefficient and could lead to community angst.
“The people of Wagga need the levee upgrade completed as soon as possible,” Cr Kendall said.
“A staged-build process for the levee has many major risks including leaving the city exposed to catastrophic flood events and with inflation could cost an additional $4M.
“This special consideration is the most cost effective way of funding the levee project and gives the Wagga community greater assurance against flood risks.”
If the special consideration is granted, other Council’s applying for funds will not be disadvantaged as fulfilment of the up-front commitment can be spread over a number of years.