Report highlights state of council infrastructure

ALGA findings underline deteriorating assets as NHVR unveils fact sheet on local government and access issues

November 16, 2012

With local government under trucking industry pressure on access issues and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) offering advice on the subject, the sector itself is reporting chronic infrastructure deterioration.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) says its National State of the Assets Report 2012, unveiled at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hobart today, is a first of its kind.

Aimed at to measuring the standard of community roads and infrastructure, the report estimates that 12 percent of local government transport assets are in poor or very poor condition.

The Report demonstrates the continued need for Federal programs such as Roads to Recovery (R2R), which provides councils with additional funding each year to maintain local roads and which is to be extended from 2014 to 2019, ALGA says.

The report builds on research ALGA commissioned in 2010 which indicated that current levels of Federal expenditure would need to increase by an average of $1.2 billion a year to avoid deterioration of the local road network.

In 2006, the results of a study undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the potential aggregate backlog for all 560 Australian local councils was about $14.6 billion, with an annual sustainable funding gap of $1.1 billion.

In the latest study, 55 councils contributed data about the quality, functionality and capacity of roads and bridges infrastructure.

ALGA President Felicity-ann Lewis says while councils appreciate the assistance through R2R, more needs to be done address an estimated funding shortfall for local roads of $1.2 billion annually.

"Local roads make up more than 80 percent of the nation's road system and are maintained by councils," Lewis insists.

"Without adequate support, we will struggle to maintain local roads to the standards necessary to ensure transport safety."

The reports release follows the release of a National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)
fact sheet, Managing heavy vehicle access under the NHVR.

The fact sheet states that the NHVR will seek to balance access efficiency, consistency and transparency with the need to minimise risks from "heavy vehicle use that is incompatible with road infrastructure or traffic conditions".

It confirms that local governments still prescribe heavy vehicle access conditions on routes but that working on guidelines for access decision-making, including national guidelines for route assessment and bridge and pavement assessments was a "key objective".

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