President’s Update – 11 September 2023

Win! Minister Bowen attends local government climate change breakfast

We were delighted to host Federal Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen at a climate change breakfast at our 2023 National Local Roads, Transport and Infrastructure Congress last week.

Minister Bowen highlighted the Government’s plans for transitioning to net zero, while acknowledging the important role councils will play in supporting this work.

In a win for local government, the Minister also announced that the guidelines for the Government’s new $100 million Community Energy Upgrades Fund for local government will be released in December, with applications expected to open in January.

New Grattan Institute research on road funding

A major highlight of day one of our 2023 Congress was a presentation from the Grattan Institute outlining that federal funding to local government is not keeping up with soaring construction costs.

The preliminary research findings showed over the past 20 years, federal Financial Assistance Grants have failed to keep pace with the rising costs of constructing and maintaining roads. Additionally, the buying power of Roads to Recovery funding – which is not indexed– is diminishing each year.

We look forward to the release of the final findings later this year, and will continue to advocate for the funding we need to deliver and maintain safer local roads for our communities.

This means restoring Financial Assistance Grants to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue, as well as increasing the Roads to Recovery funding from $500 million to $800 million per year, with future funding indexed annually.

National State of the Assets report

Finally, I am happy to announce that ALGA will again partner with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to deliver an update to our National State of the Assets (NSoA) report.

We need all councils to provide their data so we have an accurate picture of the impact of two years of natural disasters, and to more effectively advocate on behalf of our communities for sustainable road and infrastructure funding.

We will be writing to you in the coming weeks with further details on how to provide your council data and I would urge you to be involved.