There is an opportunity for local government involvement in an integrated national approach to improve Australia's international competitiveness and address social inequity to lift national productivity, according to a report launched today at the 2015 National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Ballarat, Victoria.
The 2015 National State of the Assets: Roads and Community Infrastructure Report – which summarises the condition of local roads, bridges and, for the first time this year, community infrastructure - showed that an estimated $47 billion of road and community infrastructure managed by local government is in poor state and in need of significant renewal. It also found that 11 per cent of sealed roads, 19 per cent of unsealed roads and 22 per cent of timber bridges are either physically unsound or in need of significant rehabilitation.
The report recommends targeted intergovernmental strategies addressing the state of council-managed roads and community infrastructure through renewal, upgrade and disposal to enable a competitive and fair Australia into the future.
Mayor Troy Pickard, President of the Australian Local Government Association, said: "Our local government infrastructure assets are part of national networks that deliver services supporting national productivity as well as local connectedness and quality of life.
"Councils are working under immense financial constraints to manage this infrastructure but they need more help to maintain these assets to a standard that is fit for a more productive economic future.
"An important aspect of our nation's economic future is supporting local government to play a more effective role in moving freight and boosting transport productivity by improving the condition and grade of local road pinch points in the national transport network.
"Programs like Roads to Recovery help with the basic maintenance of our local roads, but more needs to be done to ensure the local road network has the capacity required to provide safe access for all major classes of heavy vehicles and improve heavy vehicle freight movement.
"Without an integrated plan that connects the national and state network to the local network, opportunities for strategic infrastructure investment and improved productivity will be lost. The Federal Government needs to address this issue.
"Additional investment in local roads must be part of the solution to increasing transport productivity on the nation's transport network."
The 2015 National State of the Assets: Roads and Community Infrastructure Report summarises the outcomes of the data provided by 396 councils across Australia on roads and bridges, with 230 councils also providing data on all infrastructure, including buildings, drainage, parks, airports, water and wastewater infrastructure.
Note to the editor:
If you would like access to a copy of the full report, please call or email Sharon Akinyi on the details provided below.
Sharon Akinyi, Director Public Affairs, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) 0418 415 649, email@example.com