Bridge Renewal Program funding criteria to change

THE Federal Government has agreed to alter the funding criteria for its Bridges Renewal Program after meeting with Kyogle Council mayor Danielle Mulholland.

Cr Mulholland said in February the council was told its applications for funding to fix its 200-plus aging timber bridges were inadequate because the funding program's criteria was largely focused on meeting the needs of heavy vehicles.

In a statement, Kyogle Council said the mayor and the council's executive manager infrastructure works, Jeff Breen, went into a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss last week.

Cr Mulholland and Mr Breen were hoping to convince Mr Truss to change the criteria and to use his ministerial discretion to approve funding for at least three of its six unsuccessful applications.

"We didn't get funding for the three bridges, but Mr Truss has agreed to look at a one-off payment to replace Minneys Bridge, which has been closed since March 2014 and has caused massive headaches for the local community south of Tabulam," Cr Mulholland said.

"And we did get a commitment that the funding criteria will be changed and that's a victory not just for Kyogle Council but for all rural councils across Australia."

The statement said Mr Breen will work with Mr Truss' staff over the coming weeks to review the criteria so the program meets the needs of "rural councils with a failing bridge network and a limited capacity to upgrade it".