The ALGA 2017-20 Strategic Plan identifies work to ensure infrastructure meets the needs of local communities as a strategic priority.
Maintenance 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. Local government is responsible for an estimated $345 billion in infrastructure, which includes local roads and community assets such as sporting, arts and cultural facilities, parks and gardens, and public libraries. These public assets provide access to services and are the infrastructure that make our cities and our regions great places to live, work and play.
The local government sector has a huge task managing a local roads network of around 657,000 kilometres in length (about 75% by length of all roads) valued at more than $136 billion. The National Transport Commission estimates 36% of all kilometres travelled in Australia are on local roads. The economic importance of local roads is demonstrated 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 $330 billion and estimated replacement value of $426 billion. This infrastructure includes a large range of arts, cultural, educational, sporting and recreation facilities. ALGA’s 2018 State of the Assets report concluded that 9% of this infrastructure is in poor/very poor condition, despite the sector’s intensive focus in recent years on strategic asset management.
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.
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.