Roads for the Community FAQs

Overview

In 2019 the Federal Government announced a nine year, $150 million funding plan for Yarra Ranges Council to seal roads within the Dandenong Ranges and surrounding areas.

This funding program has been named the Roads for the Community Initiative.

In September 2019,Yarra Ranges Council resolved to prioritise this funding firstly for the construction of unsealed roads bordering schools, preschools and key community facilities.

Priority was then assigned to the construction of unsealed roads that would provide connectivity and/or complete the sealed road network in a local area.

Unsealed roads within the Urban Growth Boundary or in townships that are typically roads with high property density and offer Best Value for number of properties to benefit per km of road constructed, were also prioritised.

Roads that Council endorsed for construction utilising the Federal Funding are included in the link below

Read the priority list(PDF, 506KB)

There will of course be many roads across the municipality that will not be prioritised due to the limited amount of funding available, and so for residents of roads that are not a part of the federally-funded program, Council’s normal Special Charge Scheme policy will apply.

This means the cost of sealing the individual road and the number of rateable properties on the road will determine the cost that owners need to contribute towards having their road made.

This information will be communicated to residents as part of the Special Charge Scheme's consultation process.

Read more about Council's Special Charge Schemes

 

Click the "next" button below to browse answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about this funding.

How has the funding come about?

We know that sealing unsealed roads is important for the residents that live on them, to reduce dust and improve all weather access, so we’ve been working with Cardinia Council to implement transformational improvements to our unsealed road network.

Federal Government support for this program is essential, so we’re pleased the government has provided $300m funding, where Yarra Ranges is to receive $150m over the next nine years.

This project will help more than 7,700 families and residents in Yarra Ranges to get their roads sealed in the next 10 years, which will be a great result for the municipality.

We’re expecting that it will take about 10 years to seal all of the roads on our priority list.

Without this Federal Government funding, working through this list would take more than 50 years.

Why is there a co-payment to seal unsealed roads if the Federal Government is providing money?

The road network in the Yarra Ranges has existed for more than 100 years, and Yarra Ranges Council inherited more than 900km of unsealed roads when the four local Councils in the region amalgamated.

Over the past 25 years Council has partnered with landowners to seal more than 200km of unmade roads as special charge schemes.

Council does not currently have the funding available to seal the more than 700km of unsealed roads that still exist

Through a special charge scheme, Council and property owners contribute to the cost of the works, and owners can make repayments over a number of years.

This is likely to be 10 years, but will be specified at the time of the declaration of a special charge scheme for a road.

Because of the Federal Government funding, owners on roads listed to be constructed will be provided with a lower Special Charge Scheme rate than has been required from owners in the past.

Council have resolved to fix landowner charges for roads constructed under the Federal funding program at $7,000 per Benefit Unit (previously landowners have contributed up to $15,500 per benefit unit to have their road constructed).

A Benefit Unit is defined as a parcel of (residential) land abutting or gaining primary access via the road to be constructed.

The Federal Government’s funds and a co-payment from residents, will enable us to seal more unsealed roads than without a co-payment – more than 180km of roads.

Without this co-payment it is likely that more than 50kms of roads would miss out on this opportunity.

When will the works start?

The Federal Government funding is provided through its 2019-20 Budget, which comes into effect on 1 July.

We will be planning for the works and beginning to consult with landowners on priority roads, but construction cannot begin until the funding is made available. 

View the priority list(PDF, 506KB)

Will my road be sealed?

Council has developed a list of priority roads to be sealed, through its road strategy.

Highest on this list are unsealed roads that share a boundary with schools, preschools and community facilities, followed by urban unsealed roads in township areas.

Read Council's priority list(PDF, 506KB)

There will of course be many roads across the municipality that will not be prioritised due to the limited amount of funding available, and so for residents of roads that are not a part of the federally-funded program, Council’s normal Special Charge Scheme policy will apply.

This means the cost of sealing the individual road and the number of rateable properties on the road will determine the cost that owners need to contribute towards having their road made.

This information will be communicated to residents as part of the Special Charge Scheme's consultation process.

Read more about Council's Special Charge Schemes

When will my road be sealed if I'm on the priority list?

The funding is being provided by the Federal Government in stages over a ten year period, commencing this year (2019/20) and continuing until the 2027/28 financial year.

The Federal funding will be provided an incremental basis, with the first two years of the program concentrating on sealing roads abutting schools preschools and community facilities.

The majority of funds, for constructing urban unsealed roads, will be available over the 2022/23 to 2027/28 financial years.

Beyond roads that share a boundary with schools, preschools and community facilities, Council have identified the overall priority listing of roads on the basis of abutting property density.

Unsealed roads within the Urban Growth Boundary or in townships are typically roads with high property density and offer best value for the number of properties to benefit per km of road constructed.

Roads have then been grouped as clusters and prioritised based upon the abutting property density for the overall length of unsealed road in the cluster. It is proposed that the construction of roads will occur as clusters to ensure that efficiencies are achieved through delivery of the design, tender and construction process.

Approximately three years before construction is scheduled, affected landowners will be surveyed to determine support for the project and it will only proceed if a majority of landowners indicate both their support and willingness to contribute towards constructing the road.

The survey, in the form of a landowner questionnaire, will include an estimated cost per property and the estimated Federal funding contribution to the Special Charge Scheme.

We’ll be in touch with residents on roads in the first years of the priority list, in writing, to start the process in coming months. 

Can I get my road sealed sooner?

More than 80 per cent of the Federal Government funding will be provided in the second half of the ten-year Roads for the Community Initiative. 

This means that the program has to run over a 10 year period, to align with the funding released by the government:

Year 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 2024/25 2025/26 2026/27  2027/28
Federal Funding $2.5m  $2.5m $5m $15m $25m  $25m $25m $25m $25m

 

The construction of roads will be staggered in line with the release of funding, outlined above. This also allows us to work through the statutory process with landowner contributions, designing the road construction and the works taking place - all of which can take up to three years.

What happens if we and our neighbors don't want the road sealed?

Gauging landowner support is the first step we take in starting a Special Charge Scheme.

There will be a chance for landowners to make submissions or objections about any part of the proposal to seal their road.

We will issue formal notices to all landowners at the start of the process with information about the proposal and how they can make a submission or object. There'll also be a chance to speak in support of your submission or objection to Council at a meeting.

After we’ve considered all feedback from landowners, Council will make a decision on whether to proceed with a special charge.

We’ll let landowners know about the decision once it’s made.

Once a decision is made by Council, residents can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of the decision if they remain dissatisfied

What happens after Council has Declared a Special Charge Scheme?

Provided there has not been an application to VCAT, tenders for the works will be called, tenders evaluated and a contractor appointed to undertake the works.

Landowners will then be informed of the successful contractor and a works commencement date.

How do I pay my contributions?

Landowners can pay their special charge contribution over a number of years. This is likely to be 10 years, but will be specified at the time of the declaration of a special charge scheme for a road.

The special charge is repaid in the same way you pay your annual rates. Payments generally commence the year after road construction works begin.

Financing costs, similar to home loan interest rates, are added to your charge. This is determined following advice from Council’s financial institution. The interest rate is fixed for the period of the special charge.

This is because the contractor is paid when the works are done. Council borrows the landowner’s share of the cost of works to pay the contractor at that time.

This financing cost is then passed on to landowners to repay over the period of the Special Charge Scheme. 

Alternatively, you can pay the special charge as a lump sum payment – in this case the total charge (which does not include financing costs) must be paid by a date set by Council when the special charge is decided.

Please be advised that we understand there are some in the community that are under financial pressure as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic.

For those that may be experiencing financial hardship, there will be special provision to allow them to pay their contribution towards the project over an extended period of time that meets their circumstances.

What if I sell my property before the contribution is paid back?

As part of the property settlement with the purchaser, the remainder of the charge can be paid out in full, or the purchaser can take over the yearly repayments. 

What happens if I can’t afford the co-payment?

If you are unable to make your payments on time or at all, you may be eligible for consideration under Council’s Rate Recovery and Financial Hardship Policy

You can find further details about our Financial Hardship Policy online or by contacting Council’s Rate Department on 1300 368 333.

Find more information about Council’s Special Charge Schemes.