THE 2014 National State of the Assets report has found that, on average, 11 percent of local roads need urgent upgrading, while more than 20 per cent of timber bridges are in a poor state of repair.
These are among the key findings of a report into the condition of local roads and bridges, which was prepared by Jeff Roorda and Associates for the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
The National State of the Assets report builds on the findings of work undertaken since 2010 by ALGA to track the condition of local road infrastructure, the network of roads and bridges that are used for the first and last mile of almost every journey.
The 2014 report includes data from 396 councils across Australia, or 70 percent of all councils, and these councils are managing almost $105 billion in roads and bridges. Both urban and rural councils contributed to the report.
The report has found that around 10 percent of all sealed roads are in a poor to very poor state, and a similar situation exists for unsealed roads, while councils are facing a substantial challenge in addressing the condition of bridges under their management.
Urban councils reported that 23 per cent of timber bridges, and rural councils 21 per cent of their timber bridges, are in a poor or very poor condition.
ALGA President Mayor Troy Pickard said the report confirms that councils are facing an ongoing challenge to maintain local roads and bridges to an acceptable standard for their communities.
"Councils, both urban and rural, are facing a similar challenge, how to ensure local road infrastructure is maintained in an acceptable condition, to meet the requirements of local residents and businesses, within significant financial constraints," Cr Pickard said.
"These findings show that councils do not have the financial resources to bring all of their road infrastructure up to a reasonable condition. While Roads to Recovery funds, and the new Bridges Renewal program are welcomed by local government, the scale of the problem for councils is beyond the current resources available.
"Local roads and bridges are the vital first and last mile travelled for almost all journeys. They are critical in getting produce to markets, residents to employment, and form the very social fabric of our communities. It is vital they are adequately funded," he said.