The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW have renewed their calls for an end to rate pegging and an increase in local road funding.
Shires Association president Bruce Miller said there was a gap between council revenue and the cost of funding local infrastructure projects.
“Councils manage 85 per cent of the road network and nearly all footpaths in NSW. Government funding provides about 30 per cent of what councils spend on roads each year,” Cr Miller said in a statement.
“Approximately 70 per cent is left to councils to source through rates.”
Cr Miller renewed calls for the cap on rates to be lifted.
“We’ve been warning the State and Federal Government for quite some time that our streets will continue to deteriorate if funding is not increased and rate pegging is not abolished, an issue we again raised at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Bunbury last month,” he said.
Cr Miller said recent heavy rain and flooding in parts of the state had contributed to an increase in potholes and road damage.
Research by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) found that councils face an annual funding shortfall of $600m to address maintenance needs of local roads.
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has estimated the national funding shortfall to be as high as $1.2 billion per year.
President of the Local Government Association of NSW, Keith Rhoades said “communities deserve an excellent road system”.
“Councils are working hard to achieve this, but we can only do so much with the amount of funding currently available,” Cr Rhoades said.
“Given the amount of work required, councils must apply a strict process of risk assessment and prioritisation which is managed by specialist engineers and asset management staff.
“We’re not in a position to be able to address every road maintenance issue instantly – though we’re truly trying our best with the limited resources we have.”
Cr Rhoades encouraged ratepayers to let their local council know of any local roads requiring work.
“Letting your local State MP know you’re unhappy with the lack of funding for councils to fix your street will also help the situation,” he added.
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