The ALGA 2014-17 Strategic Plan identifies work on funding of local roads and transport infrastructure and community infrastructure as a strategic priority.
Local government is responsible for an estimated $438 billion in local roads and community assets such as sporting, arts and cultural facilities, parks and gardens, public libraries. These public assets provide access to services and are the infrastructure that make our cities and our regions great places to live and work.
The local government sector has a huge task managing a local roads network of around 640,00 kilometres in length (about 75% by length of all roads) valued at more than $165 billion. The National Transport Commission estimates 36% of all kilometres travelled in Australia are on local roads. The economic importance of local roads is proven by 30% of medium vehicle kilometres and 16% of heavy vehicle kilometres being driven on these roads.
Local government is also responsible for extensive community infrastructure, with a written down value $354 billion and estimated replacement value of $438 billion. This infrastructure includes a large range of arts, cultural, educational sporting and recreation facilities. ALGA’s 2015 State of the Assets Report concluded that 11% of this infrastructure is in poor/very poor condition, despite the sector’s intensive focus in recent years on strategic asset management.
Well-located, designed and properly-maintained community infrastructure helps produce better quality outcomes for Australian communities by achieving important national social and regional policy outcomes including attraction and retention of skilled workers, community health and well-being, social cohesion and tolerance, building social capital and enabling broad-based education and learning.
Management of infrastructure remains a fundamental challenge for the local government sector. 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.
ALGA strongly supports the national focus on improved productivity through investment in infrastructure. Local roads play a critical role in the national transport infrastructure and the issue of first and last mile access is an important factor in the productivity equation. There is a need to unlock local and regional productivity improvements through investment that improves access for freight vehicles and connectivity between local roads and preferred state and national freight routes.
Local government needs access to a dedicated grant funding program to provide improved community infrastructure and to effectively play its role in the delivery of a national transport network fit for purpose capable of supporting growth and national productivity.
ALGA has called for:
- A Local Government - Higher Productivity Investment Plan of $200m per year over 5 years be provided by the Federal Government to facilitate increased freight access on local roads by addressing current barriers to effective implementation of the Heavy Vehicle National Law
- A Local Government Community Infrastructure Program of $300m per year over 4 years to help achieve important social and regional policy outcomes, including attraction and retention of skilled workers, preventative health, social cohesion and tolerance, stronger social capital and community resilience and better access to broad-based education, learning and employment.
ALGA represents local government’s interest in national transport debates principally by being a member of the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council (comprising State/Territory transport ministers plus ALGA’s President) and as a full member of the Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials’ Committee (TISOC) as well as being represented on all the relevant associated officials’ working groups.