Rob Oakeshott
Rob Oakeshott Jerad Williams

MP Rob Oakeshott takes road funding issue to Canberra

INFLUENTIAL independent MP Rob Oakeshott's attempt to have GST revenue paid directly to local councils hit a hurdle in Canberra on Thursday.

Mr Oakeshott's private member's motion garnered the support of just three other MPs - fellow independents Tony Windsor, Craig Thomson and Bob Katter - who seconded the motion.

The motion called for three things: an annual fixed percentage of GST to be paid directly to Australia's 654 local councils; that this allocation to be included as part of the GST Review and for implementation through any required legislative or executive government processes, and; consider constitutional recognition of local government only in the event of any successful legal challenge to the allocation.

Mr Oakeshott told the House of Representatives before the vote urgent action was needed to fix Australia's ailing road network.

He conceded that while he did not have the numbers on the floor of the Parliament for the motion, he hoped it would generate debate.

"I put this motion because local government in Australia is resource-deprived, the local road network in Australia is failing - peak engineers' groups throughout the country have identified that fact - and the revenue structure to support local government is a problem which needs to be fixed," the Port Macquarie-based MP said.

"This motion is just one suggestion to try to start the policy debate.

"It does not look like the vote is going to go well today, but I hope that we can pretty quickly do something to establish a better revenue flow to local government in Australia, particularly considering the significant failure of the local road network throughout the country."

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