Australian Road Network In Crisis Because Of Crumbling Local Roads

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14th October 2010, 05:00pm - Views: 950

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14 October 2010

Australian road network in crisis because of crumbling local roads

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) today released the findings of an independent study into

the funding needs of Australia’s local roads which estimates that an additional $1.2 billion will need to be spent

each year just to maintain the current standard of the Australian local road network.

The 565 local councils across the country manage 650,000 kilometres of local roads which represent more than

80% of the entire Australian road network.

The study, commissioned by ALGA and conducted by Jeff Roorda and Associates, was released this morning at

the 2010 National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Bunbury, Western Australia.  The study examines a

sample of 158 councils from across the country and calculates the rate of annual under-expenditure by all councils

is $860 million.  This will blow out to $1.2 billion if current expenditure settings are not improved. 

ALGA President Cr Geoff Lake said, “The Australian community is being dudded by successive state and federal

governments who are happy to throw billions of dollars at new toll roads and national highways but who are not

prepared to properly fund the basic local road infrastructure which connects every Australian to home, work,

schools, farms, markets and tourist destinations.  

“If the Government is serious about focusing on regional and rural Australia, there is no better way to do that than

by improving local road infrastructure.  Speak to any country Mayor and they will tell you that every dollar spent

on upgrading roads leads to more than a three-fold dividend to the local economy through increased productivity.

The study also finds that while councils have increased rate revenues to meet funding shortfalls, the pressures on

councils in other service areas means there is simply not enough available from the local rate-base for roads.

“What this study makes crystal clear is that the magnitude of funding local roads is now well beyond cash-

strapped and resource-constrained councils and a dramatic increase in commonwealth investment is desperately

needed.  Federal funding for local roads is woefully inadequate and even on the most generous interpretation

represents only about a third of total local road expenditure.

“Boosting local road funding will also offer significant advantages to remote Indigenous communities who

regularly suffer dislocation from their neighbouring communities and towns because of inadequate roads being

shut because of relatively minor rainfall – sometimes for months of the year.”

The full report is available on the ALGA website at under ‘Recent Updates’.


Contacts:      Cr Geoff Lake, ALGA President on 0411 645 281

                      Amanda Lynch, Director, Public Affairs on 0419 123 862

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