ALGA freight initiative in need of government support

Article image - ALGA freight initiative in need of government support ALGA President, Mayor David O’Loughlin.

One of the ways that local government can play a leading role as a partner in enhancing Australia’s economy and lifting productivity is through improving the performance of our national road network.

This can be achieved by enabling greater and safer freight movements through higher productivity vehicles.

The efficient movement of freight is essential in a productive economy and local roads provide a key economic service in this regard, playing a critical role in Australia’s transport infrastructure network.

It should be noted that 30 per cent of medium-vehicle kilometres and 16 per cent of heavy-vehicle kilometres are driven on local roads.

Local government is uniquely positioned to work with the Commonwealth to boost national productivity and build greater social equity by delivering national policies at the local level.

A constructive partnership between federal and local government can capitalise on economic opportunities by prioritising investment in infrastructure and job-creation initiatives that will support the sustainability of local communities, particularly in rural and regional areas.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has proposed in its 2017 budget submission a freight strategy, which requires Commonwealth support of $200 million per year for five years.

ALGA’s plan addresses first/last mile and freight connectivity issues by supporting local government to assess key local road assets on designated freight routes and target pinch points for upgrading.

Implementation of the plan would result in a direct cumulative GDP benefit of $1.72 billion over the years and create 4100 jobs.

Local government is prepared to play its part in achieving efficiency in freight movement on local roads, but intergovernmental partnership and support are needed if we are to unlock local and regional productivity improvements.

We know these investments will improve safety, access and connectivity between local businesses and national and global markets, which is particularly important given our local communities’ aspirations to pursue every opportunity afforded by the range of recently negotiated free trade agreements.

ALGA’s budget submission is available at alga.asn.au.