News: Call for doubling of road funding

A national conference has called for a doubling of funding for roads administered by local councils

Posted: Thursday, 10 November 2016

For the local government sector, improving local roads is a matter of safety and equity and more support is needed from the Commonwealth to help councils address this issue, delegates at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress were told this week.

In his address to open the conference, Toowoomba mayor and incoming President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) David O’Loughlin called for a doubling of Roads to Recovery funding and for that funding to be made permanent.

“Council roads are our communities’ most valuable assets that connect people and provide access to properties, shops, and health and education services; upgrading these roads ensures our communities are safe and promotes social equity through improved local connectedness and quality of life,” Mayor O’Loughlin said.

“Councils already use a significant portion of the Roads to Recovery funding from the Federal Government – an estimated 25 per cent – to directly address road safety issues, with every cent of the balance spent on maintaining or renewing our road networks.

"Our councils are working under immense financial constraints to manage this important infrastructure but they need more help to maintain these assets and also bring them up to standard for a more productive economic future.”

ALGA’s latest State of the Assets report shows that an estimated $19 billion of these local roads are in poor or very poor state and in need of significant renewal.

“Funding from the Roads to Recovery program has helped councils do more than they could have if they relied solely on their own source revenues. But the research shows that more needs to be done, and we can't do it alone,” Mayor O’Loughlin said.