The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) argues this week’s Budget was a missed opportunity to address ‘first and last mile’ connectivity issues in the freight network.
The Turnbull Government’s 2018/19 Federal Budget will see Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) and Roads to Recovery (R2R) funding continue at current levels.
The ALGA said also the Federal Budget had delivered a continuation of the Bridges Renewal Program, the Black Spot Program, the Building Better Regions Fund and Safer Communities Fund.
The government additionally committed $29.7 million to deliver up to 500 local community sporting infrastructure grants of up to $500,000 to improve community sporting facilities.
ALGA president David O’Loughlin welcomed those commitments but said the government had missed an important opportunity to strengthen its freight measures.
“The government’s strong focus on upgrading key freight routes reflects the need to unlock the productive potential of our arterial networks,” Cr O’Loughlin said.
“But we know almost every freight journey starts and ends on a road built, owned and maintained by local government, and with the freight task set to double by 2020, the nation can’t afford to have a substandard local road network and we can’t afford to upgrade it on our own.
“We need a complementary commitment to invest in first and last mile projects for the freight industry to fully realise gains across the arterial road network. Higher productivity vehicles need to be able to operate straight out of the farm or factory gate, not just on the highway.”
The The Local Government Association of Queensland has produced a dot-point breakdown of what the Budget means for Queensland councils here.