Local government delegates attending the 22nd National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra have called for politicians to support a freight productivity plan by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), which they say would add an estimated $1.07 billion to GDP, create 2,400 new jobs in local communities over three years and add potential billions to national productivity beyond the first three years.
ALGA’s Local Government Higher Productivity Investment Plan, which requires Commonwealth investment of $200 million per year for five years, would support local government to effectively play its role in assessing key local road assets on designated freight routes as well as addressing pinch points to improve vital infrastructure that limits capacity on designated freight routes.
President of ALGA Mayor Troy Pickard said: “The initial five-year funding will help the government get more out of the potential of local roads, which are a critical part of Australia’s transport infrastructure and make an important contribution to productivity improvements across the nation.
“As the level of government closest to the community, strengthening the development of communities and enhancing their productivity is at local government’s core and we wholly support a focus in this election campaign on improving productivity through investment in road infrastructure.
“However, in the midst of numerous major road project announcements, we cannot talk ‘productivity’ and sidestep the issue of first and last mile access which is an important factor in the productivity equation.
“Local roads play a key role in addressing the issue of first and last mile access and improving access and connectivity between businesses and local, regional, state, national and international services and markets. An improvement in the condition and grade of local road pinch points would see a boost in transport productivity and a national transport network that is fit for purpose and capable of supporting growth and national productivity.
“Programs like Roads to Recovery help with the basic maintenance of our local roads, but more needs to be done to ensure the local road network has the capacity required to provide safe access for all major classes of heavy vehicles and improve heavy vehicle freight movement.
“Additional investment in local roads must be part of the solution to increasing transport productivity on the nation’s transport network.”