2019 Local Roads Congress: State Government commits to more funding to address Regional infrastructure backlog and Road Safety
Managing risks, road funding models, road safety and emerging transport technologies were the issues discussed at the NSW Local Roads Congress held in Sydney on 3 June 2019. Once again, Local Government called upon the NSW and Australian Governments for assistance in delivering their commitments to their communities through greater resourcing and support.
Elected officials and experts from across NSW were joined by the President of Local Government NSW Linda Scott and Members of Parliament to continue the conversation on managing risks, promoting safety, and ensuring fair and equitable funding for local roads.
Key take-away messages resulting from the Congress centred on road safety planning and action, re-distribution of funding to the bush, local government capacity and skills, and preparing for emerging transport technologies.
Addressing the Congress, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Mr Paul Toole, MP reconfirmed the pre-election announcement of $500 Million for fixing country roads and $500 Million for replacing timber bridges as additional funding on top of the existing Fixing Country Roads Program. The Minister also announced his commitment to help address the current infrastructure backlog in NSW communities as well as his support for IPWEA NSW’s initiative to train NSW Councils in preparing Road Safety Strategic Plans. The Minister called on everyone to help spread the word on the importance of promoting road safety to their communities.
IPWEA NSW President Warren Sharpe OAM outlined the processes towards achieving better road safety outcomes and called on the NSW Government to build on the excellent work being done in partnership IPWEA (NSW), LGNSW and councils. He also raised significant questions on how roads will be managed into the future taking into account the 81,600 km of unsealed roads in NSW alone.
During the morning panel session, delegates heard from experts from LGNSW, National Transport Commission, NSW Local Government Grants Commission and the NRMA, on managing resources such as technical expertise and developing better funding models for Local Government. The afternoon panel session focused on managing risks and stressed the importance of road safety audits and road safety strategic plans to give a better understanding of road safety risks. Experts from LGNSW, NSW Highway Police Force, RMS, Centre for Road Safety, and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator all provided interesting insights and enticed discussions on risks, responsibility, and regulation.
Bernard Carlon, Executive Director of the Centre for Road Safety, Transport for NSW, confirmed that the NSW Local Government Road Safety Program is currently a three-year rolling program with funding available until 2021. He likewise confirmed that the State Government is providing funding for training to assist Councils in preparing Road Safety Strategic Plans.
John Wall, Program Manager for Connected and Automated Vehicles at Austroads, shared his thoughts on the future of connected and automated vehicles on local roads and the critical infrastructure changes necessary to accommodate these emerging transport technologies.
Shadow Minister for Local Government and Communities and Shadow Minister for Regional Roads, Peter Primrose MLC announced the opposition’s continued support for the redistribution of Federal Assistance Grant funding and for the introduction of a mandatory, statutory registration scheme for Engineers in NSW.
LIME APAC Public Affairs Manager, William Peters wrapped up the Congress and shared his insights on the future of Electric Vehicles. He outlined Lime’s vision of providing personal mobility through electric bikes and scooters and how this might be accommodated on the local road and footpath networks to the benefit of local communities. He concluded the presentation by inviting delegates to test drive an electric scooter.
Delegates adopted a Congress Communiqué calling for the development of a sustainable and more equitable funding model to look after roads, target road safety, and open up local road network to more efficient transport to better service our community and drive the NSW economy forward.
Warren Sharpe, OAM 0409 398 358
John Roydhouse 0406 959 344
Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia NSW Division
Level 12 447 Kent Street
Tel 02 8267 3001
Fax 02 8267 3071
About IPWEA NSW
The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia NSW Division (IPWEA NSW) is a professional organisation and registered charity providing services and advocacy for those involved in and delivering public works and engineering services to the community.
About the Roads and Transport Directorate
The NSW Roads and Transport Directorate is a partnership between IPWEA NSW and Local Government NSW (LG NSW) and seeks to advocate and assist policy makers and road managers on the technical aspects of roads and transport issues in NSW.