The guidelines for the Bridges Renewal Program have been revised, with federal government contributions increased from 50% of total project costs to 80% and applying for funding made easier.
The Bridges Renewal Program (BRP) will now be open for funding applications on an ongoing basis and run in parallel with the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP).
Up until now, applications for a bridge upgrade or replacement project were open in specified time-limited funding rounds, with only been five rounds held since the BRP’s establishment in 2015.
The changes to the program are to increase flexibility and allow projects to be submitted when they will most benefit bridge infrastructure, according to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce.
Assessment will be conducted for funding on an ongoing basis and rural and regional projects can receive funding of up to 80% where in the last funding round in 2020 it was only 50%.
Applications can also now include requests for funding eligible preconstruction activities, however, successful projects that include this funding will have up to 36 months to complete delivery.
A new strategic need criterion has been added to the assessment criteria as well. This allows the program to support applications that fit national and local strategic needs as they change over time, the government said.
There are no limits on the number of projects submitted by an applicant and submitting engineering reports is no longer mandatory but optional while co-funding cannot be derived from other federal government sources.
$760 million has been allocated for the BRP from 2015-16 to 2024-25, the federal government stated, with an ongoing commitment of $85 million annually from 2025-26 onward.
Applications forBRP funding are invited from state, territory and local governments.
Image: Two timber bridges were replaced with concrete bridges over the Serpentine and Swan Creeks near Rockhampton in 2020. Source: Rockhampton Regional Council.