Road costs fall on councils

Road costs fall on councils

Member for Barker and Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tony Pasin is encouraging all local councils to make a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport’s National Inquiry into Local Government Sustainability.

Mr Pasin, who is the Deputy Chair of the Committee, said Australia’s 537 councils are under increased financial pressure to deliver core services such as road maintenance as additional responsibilities and natural disaster remediation and mitigation stretch budgets.

Mr Pasin said there was a $3b road maintenance backlog in South Australia alone and feared that without adequate funding from the Federal Government, local roads would fall into further disrepair or, in a cost of living crisis, the burden will fall on family budgets as ratepayers will be forced to fund the widening gaps in funding and service delivery.

“Locally controlled roads account for approximately 77% of total road length in Australia yet local councils have the smallest revenue base of all levels of government, collecting just over 3% of Australia’s total taxation revenue,” he said.

“In addition to roads, Local Government provides critical local services including planning, libraries and waste management as well as shared community infrastructure such as parks, sporting grounds and swimming pools. This is before we even factor in addition services many councils in Barker provide including early learning and aged care services.

“We must ensure the Local Government sector is financial sustainability so they can continue to deliver the services and infrastructure that local communities need for generations to come.”

Mr Pasin said under Labor, Federal Government infrastructure sub-programs such as Roads to Recovery, Black Spot, Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, Bridges Renewal Program, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, Remote Roads Upgrade Pilot Program and the Road Safety Program have seen an overall reduction in funding, some having been scrapped altogether.

Federal Assistance Grants have also declined as a percentage of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

“While I do not want to pre-empt the committee’s findings and recommendations, many councils, particularly those in rural and regional areas of Australia will be unable to deliver for their communities into the future unless the Federal Government reverses the trend of declining financial support and begin investing more in the local government sector,” Mr Pasin said.

“I encourage all councils in Barker as well as interested individuals, to lodge a submission before the deadline of May 3.”

Click here for more information including how to make a submission.

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