The Australian Governments Roads to Recovery (R2R) program has become an essential element in local government's ability to maintain and upgrade the local roads network. It is an outstanding example of a partnership between the national and local governments and of providing direct funding to local communities.
Australia's local road network consists of around 680,000 km of road and related infrastructure, such as bridges, earthworks and road signage. Local roads link homes to our schools and shops, to arterial roads and national highways. In regional areas, they also link entire communities.
Local roads are owned and maintained by local government. The cost of this maintenance is immense and is largely met from rates. Over the years, the amount of funding available to local government has not kept pace with the cost of maintaining local roads to acceptable standards. Much local road infrastructure is now reaching the end of its economic life and its replacement cost cannot be met by local government alone.
In recognition of the growing backlog in local road maintenance, the Federal Government established the Roads to Recovery Program, in 2000. This much needed funding has helped local government begin to address the backlog of local road maintenance, improving safety, transport efficiency and stimulating economic development across the country.
A key success factor for the R2R Program is the simple administrative system which allows the maximum funding to go to roadworks, as determined by local councils - who know local transport needs and priorities. R2R is jointly administered by local councils and the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
A study by ALGA, Study of Local Roads Funding in Australia, found that the short fall in funding of local roads is $12 billion annually.
In 2011 ALGA commenced a campaign for the renewal of the Roads to Recovery program. As part of the May 2012 Budget announcements, the Government committed to extending the Roads to Recovery program to 2019.