New research to future-proof and better fund council infrastructure


New data from councils will highlight the multi-billion-dollar impact of natural disasters on Australia’s roads, libraries, aerodromes, bridges and community and recreation centres over the past two years.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is partnering with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to deliver an update to its National State of the Assets (NSoA) report due in 2024.

ALGA President Councillor Linda Scott said the 2021 National State of the Assets report found $9.2 billion of local government buildings and facilities and around $18 billion of local government roads were in poor condition.

“Over the past two years, we have faced unprecedented natural disasters impacting on more than half of Australia’s local governments,” Cr Scott said.

“ALGA’s estimates show the flood damage to council roads in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia alone is expected to be at least $3.8 billion.

“We are urging all of Australia’s 537 councils to provide us with updated data on the state of their local roads and community infrastructure so we can fully understand the scope of the issue, and the funding we need to fix it for our communities.

“Councils collect less than four percent of national taxation, and we want to see Financial Assistance Grants restored to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

“We are also advocating for an increase in Roads to Recovery funding from $500 million to $800 million per year, which is crucial as road construction costs continue to rise.”

ALGA established the NSoA project in 2012 to improve the performance and management of the $500 billion worth of public infrastructure owned and managed by local governments, with the first report published in 2013.

IPWEA President Myles Lind said: “We are delighted to be working with ALGA again on the NSoA project and data from our assessments will drive discussion on infrastructure investment based on evidence, to deliver efficiencies and better infrastructure in the future.

“Local communities depend on this vital network of infrastructure assets, so we encourage every local government across Australia to participate in this data collection by supplying financial and performance data.”

The NSoA survey is expected to take councils approximately one hour to complete, using information found in annual reports, financial statements and asset management plans and systems up until 30 June 2023.  The final report is expected to be released in 2024.