Jul 02, 2020

Report to highlight overdue infrastructure repairs

Report to highlight overdue infrastructure repairs

Australia’s $30 billion-plus backlog in work to renew or replace failing local government infrastructure is in the sights of two peak bodies.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is partnering with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to address the issue.

They will work together – and with local councils around the country – to produce the “National State of the Assets” (NSoA) report.

The last NSoA report put the cost of renewing and replacing roads, bridges, stormwater drainage, water supply, waste-water treatment plants, parks, and buildings classified as being in poor and very poor condition at $30 billion and growing.

“Renewing creaky timber bridges, rutted tracks, corrugations, road pavements so thin you can see the rocks through them, ticking rust-bombs hidden in underground pipes, cracked buildings and access ramps so steep only a four wheel drive can manage them – they all constitute job-ready projects to improve local communities,” ALGA President David O’Loughlin said. 

“Local councils own 75 percent of the nation’s road length, and 33 percent of the nation’s non-financial assets. It’s a near-impossible task to maintain when we only collect around 3.6 per cent of the nation’s taxes.”

ALGA established its National State of the Assets project in 2012 to improve the performance and management of the $345 billion of infrastructure owned and operated by Australia’s 537 councils.

The 2018 NSoA Report, based on the responses of more than 400 councils, found that 63 per cent of infrastructure assets was rated as being in good condition, while 9 per cent was rated as poor. The remaining 28 per cent was rated as fair.

The report stated that local government was at the beginning of a period of renewing infrastructure built during the 1960s and 1970s, when cities were expanding rapidly.

While there had been a steady increase in spending since 2005, the report said the proportion of infrastructure rated as being in a good condition was falling, indicating that a major renewal phase would be required over the next two decades.

“A significant and growing amount of our infrastructure inventory is nearing the end of its lifecycle,” Mayor O’Loughlin said.

“So, it’s essential to collate the very best facts and analysis to guide spending our scarce dollars and hard-won federal government funding.

“ALGA’s partnership with IPWEA on the National Sate of the Assets project will help drive this undertaking.”