Local government seeks federal roads cash

Congress unites to call for $1.2 billion shortfall to be covered to meet road safety objectives

November 21, 2011

Local government has called on the Federal Government to put the Roads to Recovery program on a permanent basis and increase funding to recognise what it describes as "a massive shortfall in expenditure".

A resolution at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Mt Gambier on Friday was passed seeking $1.2 billion annually to cover the hole in local government roads budgets around the country.

Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) President and North Sydney Mayor Genia McCaffery says delegates committed their councils to an ongoing campaign in order to achieve Roads to Recovery funding beyond 2014, when the program is due to end.

"Delegates will be reminding the Federal Government that much more needs to be done to ensure the safety of local roads and address the estimated shortfall in Commonwealth investment of $1.2 billion annually," McCaffery says.

"They expressed concern that continued under-investment in local roads hinders local social and economic development.

"Delegates also noted that no substantial additional funding has been committed to achieving the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.

"Delegates called on the Federal Government to commit additional funding to meet the road safety objective of a 30 percent reduction in fatalities and serious injuries by 2020."

"In addition, delegates committed local government to working closely with the Federal Government in striving to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in deaths and injuries by 2020 and cooperating with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

"The Congress reinforced the need for local government to be recognised in the Australian Constitution to ensure that the Federal Government can provide direct funding to local government, for example through the Roads to Recovery program.

"We need continued bipartisan support and call on all major political parties at the state and federal level to support constitutional recognition of local government to remove any doubt about the validity of the Commonwealth funding local government directly."

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