Local infrastructure investment needed to support big-ticket Budget measures

The Australian Local Government Association has welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government of investments in major projects totaling more than $10 billion and called for similar commitments in local government infrastructure.

The new commitments, expected to create more than 23,000 direct and indirect jobs, form part of the Commonwealth’s 10-year land transport and infrastructure plan first announced in the 2020-21 Federal Budget.

“These key projects will make our roads safer and less congested, and reduce pinch points on important freight links but we need to see more investment across the nation in local infrastructure to complement these initiatives,” ALGA President Linda Scott said today.

“Economic recovery will be boosted by the creation of new jobs and opportunities, but communities of all sizes must be part of the effort to build a sustainable post-Covid Australia. 

“It is vital that we ramp up investment further to capitalise on historic low borrowing costs and the need to lock in long-term benefits.”

Cr Scott said ALGA had identified 13 initiatives covering infrastructure, community and environmental priorities in its Budget submission.

“Full implementation of our plan will create 31,200 jobs, many of them in rural and regional areas, and contribute $4.65 billion to the economy,” she said.

“Increased investment in roads and road safety is always welcome, but there are also huge economic and social benefits from investing in waste recycling, climate response, digital connectivity, and place-based health and activity programs as well,” she said.

These are all areas in which Local Government has the skills and capacity to partner with the Commonwealth to ensure targeted and effective delivery.

“Local governments have been working hard on behalf of their communities throughout Covid, particularly on job creation measures that bring long-term benefits,” she said.

“Working together, and relying on long-established funding pathways, local governments are uniquely placed to play a critical role in consolidating local economic recovery and building stronger communities to ensure national recovery is on a firm footing,” she added.