One of the essential roles of government is the provision of social and physical infrastructure that supports the way of life and living standards of its citizens. Australia is one of the largest countries in the world. As such, our citizens and economy depend heavily on transport systems to move people and freight domestically and internationally.

As the primary provider of local and regional transport infrastructure, local government plays a critical role in Australia’s transport system. In the bush, a number of councils also provide airports.

Australia’s transport, and transport globally, is changing: electric and automated cars; higher productivity vehicles; mega ships and giant aircraft. Infrastructure providers, including local governments, must adapt. Greater efficiencies and reduced reliance on fossil fuels over time will also impact on government revenues such as fuel excise and registration fees. Automation of car fleets, particularly in urban areas may significantly reduce the need for inner city parking and potentially decrease council parking fee revenues.

Falling government revenues and competing priorities will make it harder and harder for transport to get its fair share of funding. It will also become harder and harder for local government to get its fair share of whatever funding is available.

Transport funding reform is not an option, it is an imperative. New revenue streams must be secured, not only to maintain our roads and transport systems, but to invest in essential new infrastructure to drive economic growth and support living standards. This is why the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Transport and Infrastructure Council are working on market reforms, including a system of road user charging.

These reforms are complex. They involve a detailed understanding of transport assets (through asset registers), their condition, lifecycle cost management, and new investment priorities. These are just some of the pre-requisites for reform. They will help determine revenues and potentially subsidise for low traffic volume roads in the form of Community Service Obligations.

Local government must:


Most of all, local government must stand up and be heard to ensure that it gets a fair share of funding for local communities.

If you only attend one conference this year, make sure it is the Congress. It will ensure you and your council understand and are equipped to grapple with these challenges and achieve your objectives. Your attentance will help ALGA make the strongest case for local government roads and transport funding.


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Click below to register for the 2017 Congress being held at the Albany Entertainment Centre