Today I will be attending a meeting of the Ministerial Council on Transport and Infrastructure, and participating in discussions on how to achieve a coordinated and integrated national transport and infrastructure system that is efficient, safe, sustainable, accessible and competitive.
The meeting is expected to provide updates on progress to date on the initial heavy vehicle road reform measures agreed by the Council in May 2014. The aim of the reforms is to more towards the provision of roads as an economic service where feasible. These reforms are being progressed by an inter-jurisdictional officials group, the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR) Working Group, on which ALGA is represented.
ALGA appreciates and supports the importance of the initial reform measures, but our view is that providing roads on an economic basis may not be practical for local roads, or may be practical only in limited situations. ALGA's involvement on the HVVR Working Group throughout 2016 will assist with clarifying the initial likelihood and potential extent of local roads being supplied on an economic service basis.
Another important issue that the Ministers have been working on is the National Remote and Regional Transport Strategy (NRRTS), which aims to provide practical solutions to the issues and challenges faced by transport system providers in remote and regional areas. With two thirds of Local Government councils located in remote and regional areas, the strategy is an important area of consideration for ALGA.
Local Government will continue to be engaged in the NRRTS and any subsequent implementation plan through a cross-government working group that will drive and monitor implementation.
Our involvement in this meeting ensures that Local Government is not only part of any reform process to improve the national transport and infrastructure system, but also that we are properly engaged so that we can play our part in the solution.
Councils will have the opportunity to consider the outcomes of the Ministerial Council Meeting and local roads and transport issues more generally at ALGA's Local Roads and Transport Congress in Ballarat on 17-19 November.
Mayor Troy Pickard