A NEW report launched this month by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) to measure the standard of community roads and infrastructure estimates that 12 per cent of local government transport assets are in poor or very poor condition.
The National State of the Assets Report 2012, unveiled at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hobart, is the first of its kind, according to the ALGA.
The report was prepared in order to assess how local infrastructure is faring, whether community needs are being met and if current levels of expenditure are adequate. 55 councils contributed data about the quality, functionality and capacity of roads and bridges infrastructure.
The ALGA said the report builds on previous research commissioned in 2010 that indicated that current levels of federal expenditure would need to increase by an average of $1.2 billion per year to avoid deterioration of the local road network.
The ALGA also cited the results of a study undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2006, which found that the potential aggregate backlog for all 560 Australian local councils was approximately $14.6 billion, with an annual sustainable funding gap of $1.1 billion.
A key finding of the report is that the current state of sealed roads presents the greatest challenge to councils, with more than $2 billion in value being regarded as poor or very poor in respect to quality and capacity.
The report aims to highlight the continued need for federal programs such as Roads to Recovery (R2R), which provide councils with additional funding each year to maintain local roads. The Federal Government this year announced that it would extend the program from 2014 to 2019.
ALGA President Felicity-ann Lewis said that while councils appreciate the assistance through R2R, more needs to be done address the estimated funding shortfall for local roads.
"Local roads make up more than 80 per cent of the nation's road system and are maintained by councils. Without adequate support, we will struggle to maintain local roads to the standards necessary to ensure transport safety."
More information is available from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) website at <http://www.alga.asn.au/>.