Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) wants federal action on freight bottlenecks.

Local roads are not up to road freight requirements, and ALGA says councils need $200 million per year over five years to address the issue.

Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Mayor David O'Loughlin said transport productivity is key to many rural economies, while speaking at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress held in Queensland.

“The majority of local roads were originally designed and built decades ago,” Mayor O'Loughlin said.

“Although they're not of horse-and-cart standard, they certainly weren't built for some of the higher productivity vehicles that are on the roads today.

“ALGA's latest State of the Assets report estimates that it would cost in the order of $19.3 billion to fix all of the substandard roads across the local road network.

“That is just to restore them - not improve them to the higher standards that are required by many of today's trucks.

“Despite councils' hard work and continued spending, without a major upgrade on local and regional freight routes, many of these roads are unlikely to ever be fit for purpose.

“For trucks, this means limited access and lower productivity, which will only get worse with the freight task expected to double by 2030 and treble by 2050. As a nation, we must come up with an effective strategy to address this problem.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the government would not commit that level of funding.

“We're working with them of course, but it's worth noting of course, we're working within a constrained budget environment where I don't get to spend as much money as I'd like,” he said.

“We've seen record investment by this government in infrastructure.

“It's my job that a fair share of that money makes it out of the cities, makes it onto our regional highways and makes it onto our local roads.

“Those roads which are critical for the timber industry, the timber industry, the dairy industry or the beef industry.”