(OT) Australian Report - 'Councils facing future shock'

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


This is not Y2K related, but Oil influences what's going on. Australia is fueled at world parity pricing and 50%+ tax on petrol per litre. Rather than spending this tax on infrastructure it is syphoned off to support many other social programmes.

I table this newspaper report because this forum has posted many Australian general interest articles. In a small way the following article will help explain why the bush turned on the Victorian Liberal and National Party Coalition at the recent election. This trend continues rural Australia wide. Higher fuel costs will have an impact.


Councils facing future shock

VICTORIA'S 78 municipalities face a massive increase in expenditure to renew and maintain roads, bridges, footpaths, pools, paths and buildings, a report has found.

The report, held under government wraps for 13 months, reveals ratepayers are leaving the tab for ageing roads and buildings replacement to future generations. Called Facing the Renewal Challenge, the report revealed ratepayers were spending just 67 per cent of the annual costs needed to sustain assets.

It said annual expenditure of $255 million falls about 48 per cent short of what is needed and warns that future generations would face higher renewal costs or deteriorating services.

Seven of eight councils facing the biggest renewal bills in the next five years are in the country.

Among shires spending comparatively low amounts are Moira, Yarriambiack and Central Goldfields.

The cost of asset renewal would almost double in the next 12 years to $1.6 billion.

Roads would become the biggest drain on ratepayers with the current cost of sealed road replacement varying from $31 for every 1000 kilometres in East Gippsland to $101 in Mildura to $495 in Ballarat.

But bridges and drainpipes were among the oldest assets.

According to the report, the average age of the state's concrete bridges was 90 years, timber bridges 65 years while the average age of drainpipes was 85 years.

Hindmarsh Shire acting-chief executive John Partington said the report gave a reasonably good picture of expenditure required across the state's local governments but questioned the accuracy of data as it applied to each council.

"It's going to be one hell of a document for state and federal governments but I don't think it's telling us anything we didn't know," Mr Partington said.

Local Government Minister Bob Cameron said the report highlighted the need for councils to start planning now for increased spending on infrastructure renewal.

A Rural Roads Taskforce also met for the first time on Friday.

The taskforce headed by Hindmarsh Shire Mayor Darryl Argall will help form a strategy for addressing the estimated $280 million road funding gap.

Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence said a survey showed road maintenance was the number one concern for country councils.


Please note that release of this report was held over until after the Victorian election. It didn't help though.

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), January 22, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ