$1.2 million extra federal funding for Upper Hunter through Roads to Recovery program

Two-fold benefit in community: Joyce

UPPER Hunter Shire Council will welcome an extra $1.2 million in federal funding to develop safer roads in the region under the Australian Government's Roads to Recovery program (R2R).

New England MP Barnaby Joyce said the windfall was part of the additional $138.9 million allocated to drought-affected communities through the R2R initiative.

Councils in the electorate will receive a combined $11.8 million in further assistance under this latest funding round.

The revised Roads to Recovery money for the Upper Hunter from 2019-2020 to 2023-2024 is now valued at $7.3 million.

Total Australian Government investment for all New England organisations during this period is now $71.2 million.

Mr Joyce said the funding investment would have a two-fold benefit in the community.

"Not only will the Upper Hunter [shire] be able to draw on extra funds to improve local roads, towns and villages in drought, it'll also benefit from the new money being spent in the community and the extra work it provides," he explained.

"Alongside other measures such as the extra $1 million we also have on the table for every council in the New England, it's all helping to support our communities through these tough financial times because drought doesn't stop at the farm gate."

The additional funding matches the allocation already made to councils for the 2019-2020 financial year - and will be made available from January 2020.

Funding has been allocated to the 128 local government areas with the aim of stimulating local economic activity through road infrastructure projects.

Those councils are also receiving support under the federal Drought Communities Program.

"This extra roads funding is designed to stimulate local economic activity and improve local infrastructure by making our roads better and safer for country people," Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Gee said.