Local councils will share in $1.8 billion for road upgrades and community projects to help communities battling the impact of coronavirus.
The federal government has brought forward $1.3 billion from its annual grant to local governments from next financial year.
A further $500 million has been injected into a new program for roads and other infrastructure upgrades.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the money would help councils accelerate priority projects to boost local jobs.
“These projects will cut travel times, make our communities safer and upgrade the facilities we all enjoy while also getting more people into jobs,” he said on Friday.
“We know this is going to be vital support, particularly for councils that have faced the combined impacts of drought, bushfires and now COVID-19.”
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack denied the program would be open to rorting, like the government’s infamous sporting grants scheme.
The new roads program will use the same criteria as an existing maintenance kitty.
“It is a formula worked out a long time ago by the [Infrastructure] department, very accountable, very transparent. Each and every one of the local government areas right across the nation will benefit from this – regional, metropolitan, remote, the whole lot,” he said.
Mr McCormack said the extra funding would give councils security to plan their budgets and employ people or contract work to businesses that have lost work to the coronavirus pandemic.