The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), the peak body representing more than 530 councils across the country, has renewed its call for a Commonwealth-funded program to bring community infrastructure back up to scratch and promote economic development opportunities.
ALGA has proposed that a Local Government Community Infrastructure Program of $300 million per annum for four years would ensure communities’ most important infrastructure can continue to underpin community wellbeing and community resilience, and stimulate local economic opportunities by creating 3,700 jobs in Australian communities particularly where they are needed most – in rural and regional Australia.
ALGA President, Mayor David O’Loughlin, who was at the National General Assembly of Local Government currently being held in Canberra, said that well-located, well-designed and properly-maintained community infrastructure enhances the quality of life and enriches the experience of residents every day, but that a significant proportion of Australia’s local community infrastructure is currently at risk of disrepair.
“The 2015 National State of the Assets: Roads and Community Infrastructure Report estimated that 11 per cent – or around $27 billion – of community infrastructure is in poor or very poor condition and in need of replacement, maintenance or upgrades, with some infrastructure being physically unsound or beyond rehabilitation,” he said.
“Councils do not have the financial resources to bring this amount of community infrastructure up to a reasonable condition on their own, particularly as they are facing the ongoing challenge of a decades-long backlog and underspend on community infrastructure.
“A partnership with the Commonwealth to co-invest in these essential community facilities would greatly assist local communities to attract and retain key workers, build community and economic capacity, and ensure fairness for all communities.”
The National General Assembly of Local Government is being held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from 19 – 21 June 2017.