Building a better Australia, together
In the lead up to this year’s Federal Election, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is calling for new infrastructure funding that will support councils to create new jobs, improve Australia’s productivity, deliver safer roads, and improve community wellbeing.
LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM said Australia’s 537 councils were asking for:
- A $500 million a year extension of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program
- A new $300 million a year Strategic Local Roads Program to address first and last mile transport issues
- An increase in Roads to Recovery Funding to $800 million a year and Black Spot Funding to $200 million a year, and permanent supplementary road funding of $20 million a year for South Australian councils
- Continuation of the Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package at $55 million over four years; and
- A new $200 million a year fund to support local governments to invest in innovative affordable housing partnerships.
These priorities have been independently assessed and, if funded, would create 10,088 jobs and add $1.558 billion a year to Australia’s GDP.
Cr Turley said this election was an opportunity for federal parties to show how they’ll build a stronger, more inclusive, more sustainable Australia post COVID-19.
“Councils in NSW have been supporting their communities for the past few years through bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and recurring floods,” Cr Turley said.
“During this challenging period, local government was able to work with the Commonwealth to drive a locally led recovery through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.
“Councils were able to deliver new playgrounds, sporting facilities, libraries and roads, which significantly boosted our communities’ economies and helped create many jobs.
“It was pleasing to see the government announce a $500 million extension of the program in the 2022-23 budget.
“Councils will be able to continue to deliver more beneficial infrastructure projects to help their communities prosper and really play a crucial role in the recovery of the nation, post-pandemic.
“While we thank the Federal Government for its commitment to the extension of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to help build safer and more resilient roads in our state.”
Councils own and manage 33 per cent of Australia’s public infrastructure, including 678,000km of road – equivalent to 75 per cent of the nation’s road transport network.
The Australian Local Government Association’s 2021 National State of the Assets report shows that about 10 per cent of this infrastructure requires significant attention.
“NSW councils are responsible for 90 per cent of the state’s local roads – that’s more than 164,000km of roads to maintain each and every year,” Cr Turley said.
“These roads play a crucial role in our national transport network, especially in regional areas where there is frequent movement of freight via heavy vehicles.
“With the continuous widespread flooding in NSW, severe damage has been caused to roads.
“Maintenance costs are continuing to increase and council revenues are declining, which is really weakening the financial capacity of local governments to invest in road projects.
“Councils need an increase in Roads to Recovery and Black Spot Funding to ensure safe and efficient roads for our community.
“Housing affordability is also another major issue affecting NSW.
“Councils across NSW have raised social shortages as a key contributor to the housing crisis facing so many communities.
“While housing affordability doesn’t strictly fall within the responsibility of local governments, many councils can help facilitate this issue and want to see it resolved for their communities.
“Councils are facing massive skills shortages and are struggling to find staff to review development applications, construction certificates and other construction-related approvals.
"LGNSW and regional councils have consistently argued that the only way to make a difference and start resolving the housing crisis is for all levels of government to work together.
“By investing $200 million a year to support local governments to invest in innovative, affordable housing partnerships, councils will be able to create more jobs and provide an appropriate mix of housing tailored to the diverse needs of our communities.
“Councils are best placed to drive a locally led recovery but require the support of the Commonwealth to deliver the infrastructure our communities need today and in the future."
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