Hundreds of local government representatives attending the National General Assembly of Local Government celebrate extended roads funding.
A gathering of about 850 council representatives attending the 2012 National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) in Canberra has celebrated the extension of the Australian Government’s Roads to Recovery (R2R) program while recognising the need for increased and permanent funding.
The 2012-13 Federal Budget included the announcement that the R2R program will continue to be funded at a rate of $350 million per year until 2019, ensuring the continuation of vital funding for local roads and infrastructure for a further five years beyond 2014, when the program was due to finish.
At the National General Assembly, NGA delegates applauded the Federal Government on the extension of R2R funding while reinforcing their argument for R2R funding to be increased and continued on a permanent basis.
President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and North Sydney Mayor, Genia McCaffery, said a study conducted by ALGA in 2010 into local road funding estimated a shortfall of $1.2 billion annually.
“The maintenance of the local road system is one of local government’s major commitments, with local roads making up more than 80 per cent of the nation’s road system.
“For most councils, road maintenance is the single largest item of expenditure. Total expenditure on local roads by councils was estimated by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics to be $4.2 billion in 2008-09.
“While we aren’t specifying the amount of increased funding, we do ask that the Government recognise the huge shortfall that our study has estimated.
“This continued under-investment hinders the social and economic development of our communities.
“Improving the quality of our roads will contribute to safer roads. On average, four people are killed and 90 are seriously injured every day on Australia’s roads. This equates to the loss of 1500 lives a year as a result of road crashes.”