Submission to Independent Review of Infrastructure Australia

Local government is responsible for an estimated $467 billion in infrastructure and $248 billion in land, which includes local roads and community assets such as sporting, arts and cultural facilities, parks and gardens, and public libraries.

These public assets make a meaningful contribution to national productivity and are critical in building strong, healthy and resilient cities, towns and regions. Maintaining this infrastructure remains a fundamental challenge for councils. Of the three levels of government, local government has the largest relative infrastructure task in terms of asset management and the smallest relative revenue base, collecting less than 4 percent of Australia’s total taxation revenue.

Local governments are responsible for funding, planning, constructing, operating, and maintaining the road network in their local area. Most journeys start and end on a local road, and these roads account for approximately 75 percent of total road length in Australia, or 660,597 kilometres.

The National Transport Commission estimates that 36 percent of all kilometres travelled in Australia are on local roads, which includes the movement of road freight through vital agricultural and mining regions throughout the country.

Unlike other levels of government, local government has no direct mechanism to raise funds for road construction and maintenance such as road user charges, registration charges or other road or transport-related fees or charges.

Over the past three years, natural disasters and COVID-19 have repeatedly shut down local government’s community infrastructure and services such as libraries, pools, sporting facilities, arts and culture facilities, parks and sportsgrounds, which all play a significant role supporting community wellbeing.

In addition, population and financial pressures in some locations have meant that these vital community services and facilities can be over capacity, in need of repair and upgrade, or not available.
One of pressing issues many councils are facing is their capacity to maintain current assets given funding programs are often focused on building new infrastructure.

The availability and management of data platforms is also variable across the country, and the availability of data is becoming more important with productivity reforms, for example for national heavy vehicle reform.

ALGA supports the intention of Infrastructure Australia advising upon a deliverable pipeline of nationally significant projects, but strongly recommends that local government infrastructure is within Infrastructure Australia’s remit moving forward, as it is the authority best placed to advise upon – and make recommendations – to the federal and state and territory governments to ensure local government infrastructure is properly maintained and sustainably funded.


Click here to download
340.13 KB