This week, ALGA made a submission to Infrastructure Australia responding to the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2015, which was finalised in April this year and which took a strategic approach to assessing our nation's infrastructure needs by examining the drivers of future infrastructure demand, particularly population and economic growth.
The need to focus on resilience and improved maintenance was one of the key challenges for the future identified in the Australian Infrastructure Audit. The Audit noted that "most of the infrastructure that Australians will use in 2031 has already been built, but maintenance standards are often below par".
Asset management is one of the key strategies that local government applies to address the major challenge of infrastructure maintenance and considerable work has been done in this area. An important example of this work is our National State of the Assets report that provides a detailed analysis of local government assets.
Local government has non-financial assets which were valued at $354 billion as at 30 June 2014. The majority of these assets are local roads which are among the most valuable community assets and their maintenance ensures access to our workplaces, schools, health and social facilities and businesses. Together, local roads make up a large part of the nation's road network critical to national productivity, particularly in the movement of freight.
ALGA's submission to Infrastructure Australia highlighted this fact and the commendable job councils are doing with limited resources in managing these community assets. However, with growing demand for goods and services, passenger and freight expected to double in the coming years, and investment in local roads not keeping pace with expanding demands, more needs to be done to further assist councils in the management of infrastructure.
Strategies were proposed in the submission to further assist councils to understand and manage their local road networks, and improve the linkage between asset management plans and council financial plans.
The management of infrastructure will continue to be a fundamental challenge for local government, which remains committed to effectively managing local roads and improving asset management. ALGA will continue to engage the Federal Government and Opposition and bodies such as Infrastructure Australia to highlight the needs of local government in this area.
Mayor Troy Pickard