Allowing wider trucks on local roads without increasing local government funding would be a potential recipe for disaster, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said this month.
The comments followed the 11 February Infrastructure and Transport Minister’s Meeting where regulatory changes to increase the width of heavy vehicles from 2.5 metres to 2.55 metres were considered.
ALGA President Linda Scott, who was at the meeting, said it was disappointing the proposed changes were considered without input from councils as they and their communities would potentially have to foot the bill for local road upgrades.
“Increasing heavy vehicle sizes may mean local governments need to retrofit roads and bridges, prioritising funding away from other front-line community services and reducing footpaths for pedestrians and footway dining, and reducing green spaces,” Cr Scott said.
ALGA is advocating for the Federal Government and Opposition to support a new $300 million per year program that would enable councils to address existing road transport first and last-mile issues, creating 2332 new jobs and adding $366 million to our annual GDP.
“This funding would only cover the current infrastructure backlog,” Cr Scott said.
“The impact of larger freight vehicles on our local roads would significantly increase these costs.”
Ministers also announced that new public transport accessibility reforms were being postponed.
In their communique, the ministers said extending the timeframe for implementing the first 16 areas of reform to the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport will ensure the voices of people with a disability and the public transport operators and providers are heard.