Lobby launches bold plan to boost communities
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has launched a community infrastructure proposal that aims to stimulate local economic opportunities.
ALGA says the plan – launched this week at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Ballarat - could create up to 5,000 jobs in Australian communities.
ALGA’s proposal is to set up a Local Government Community Infrastructure Program of $300 million per year for five years.
The money would go to the renewal and maintenance of existing community infrastructure, and promote economic development opportunities where they are needed most, particularly in rural and regional communities.
“In every town and every community across the nation, Australians are using council-owned and managed community infrastructure such as public pools, libraries, children's playgrounds, bike paths and sports fields,” ALGA president Mayor Tory Pickard said.
“While some of these facilities are relatively new, many were built decades ago and require significant maintenance and upgrades.
“The 2015 National State of the Assets: Roads and Community Infrastructure Report launched yesterday estimates that 10 per cent of this infrastructure is in poor or very poor condition and in need of significant renewal, with some infrastructure being physically unsound or beyond rehabilitation.
“There is a clear need for additional investment by government to support councils to meet the decades-long backlog and underspend on community infrastructure. In many cases, community infrastructure projects are either already planned, or planning is well advanced, and only funding is required for the projects to commence.
“Local government is uniquely placed to implement a community infrastructure program and partner with the Government to ensure that community infrastructure is not only fit for purpose, but also delivers jobs and economic opportunities.
“The Australian Government's Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program made an important contribution in 2008-10 in helping Australia remain resilient during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
“A Local Government Community Infrastructure Program would provide the Australian Government with a similar mechanism to stimulate the economy as well as create 5,000 jobs, greatly assist communities to attract and retain key workers in local communities and ensure fairness for all communities.”
The Local Government Community Infrastructure Program proposal was developed following nearly 1,000 submissions of examples of declining community infrastructure to ALGA's Community Infrastructure Ideas Register from councils Australia-wide.