The 2021 National State of the Assets report has been released, outlining the local government asset management status and highlighting the challenges of managing essential assets on behalf of communities.

Victorian councils control more than $115 billion in assets and infrastructure, including $26 billion in roads and bridges and almost $9 billion in drains. Councils are also responsible for 87 per cent of the state’s road network.

The report, by Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) outlines the local government asset management status and key issues. The key findings from this year’s report are:

  • Around $45 billion – $50 billion or 9 per cent to 10 per cent of national local government assets are in poor condition, have poor function requiring upgrade or poor capacity and utilisation
  • Asset life expectancy is increasing with rural councils likely to hold older assets
  • Asset management plans need to be better integrated with strategic objectives and corporate budgets

The Municipal Association of Victoria’s (MAV) recent survey found priorities for improved asset management are consistent across all councils, namely:

  • Better integration with other council plans and systems
  • Improved data quality to support decision making
  • Enhanced training and capability for staff and councillors

MAV President, Cr David Clark, said councils have the dual responsibility to deliver roads that enhance productivity and commerce as well as being safe to all road users.

Particularly in rural and regional areas, constraints on rate revenue and limited opportunities for non-rate revenue are creating significant challenges to properly fund road renewal and improvement.

“As rates only represent 3 per cent of National taxation, grant funding from the State and Commonwealth governments is critical to resourcing both the renewal and productivity tasks ahead,” Cr Clark said.

“The MAV is currently engaging with councils to develop an Action Plan to underpin current funding programs and identify new opportunities to continue improving the capability and safety of the State’s local Road Network.”

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