Deputy PM to address local roads congress

·1-min read

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack will detail the federal government's post-COVID vision for regional communities at an expanded locals road and transport congress.

The Nationals leader is among a raft of politicians, emergency authorities and medical experts listed to speak at the two-day summit in Wagga Wagga.

The annual congress, hosted by the Australian Local Government Association, has broadened its scope this year to focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and black summer bushfires on local areas.

In his speech on Monday, Mr McCormack is expected to address the government's coronavirus response and its previously announced budget plans to help rural and regional communities rebuild.

Andrew Hocking, major general of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, will later in the day explore how local communities have picked up the pieces after the unprecedented fires.

Bestowed the 2019 Australian of the Year award as one of the cave divers who helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded Thai cave, Dr Richard Harris will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday.

Other speakers include Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton, Shadow Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Catherine King and Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia's Warren Sharpe.

Wagga Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey said the annual congress enabled local councils to share information and lobby state and federal governments over key road projects.

"We control 80 per cent of local roads in Australia, and it is vitally important that we get sufficient funding to maintain and improve that road system," he said.

Charles Sturt University's Wagga Wagga campus will host the two-day event, with online access available for those unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.