Councils create avalanche of infrastructure needs
Councils Australia-wide submitted more than 100 examples of ailing community infrastructure in need of help in the first week after a call-out from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
The rapidly-growing list of infrastructure that needs replacement, maintenance or upgrades highlights the big challenge local governments face in meeting the backlog and underspend in community infrastructure that has accumulated over the years.
Examples submitted so far include community recreational facilities such as ovals, swimming pools and walking paths, and community facilities such as halls, libraries and senior citizens’ centres.
“The staggering response to our register from councils shows the critical need for more to be done to support local government in delivering adequate and appropriate community infrastructure,” ALGA President Troy Pickard said.
“The impact of under-funding goes beyond the degradation of our important community infrastructure, it also limits the capacity of local councils to develop communities and contribute to local and regional development.
“Properly-maintained community infrastructure goes a long way in providing the social and economic backbone for many communities throughout Australia.
"The Australian Government's Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program made an important contribution in 2008-10 in assisting councils to meet the decades-long backlog and underspend on community infrastructure. However, this program also highlighted just how much more needs to be done as there is still infrastructure that is in urgent need of repair, including some built in the 1950s and 1960s.
“The information collected through our register will be used to support ALGA's case for Federal funding of $300 million per year over four years for a regional and community infrastructure fund, which would enable all local councils to build community resilience by enhancing the sustainability and liveability of their communities.
“ALGA is calling on more councils to submit their examples of declining community infrastructure that would benefit their community through repair or renewal to further support our case.”