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OPEN ROAD 7
Our local road network is critical to how we move around.
Whether we’re commuting for work, leisure, or accessing
essential services, local roads are fundamental to the
effective functioning of our communities.
What is perhaps less known is local councils overwhelmingly
maintain these roads – and the majority need funding to get
them up to a safe standard. The NRMA’s latest report on
funding for the local road network has highlighted a troubling
infrastructure backlog deficit that increased 13.2 per cent from
$1.73 billion in 2014-15 to $1.96 billion in 2015-16.
It’s an even bleaker story in regional areas. The regional
council deficit rose 17.2 per cent from $1.33 billion in 2014-15 to
$1.56 billion in 2015-16. In my local area, Liverpool Plains Shire
Council had the biggest maintenance shortfall of $3.59 million
in 2015-16, with Uralla and Guyra councils experiencing the
biggest percentage rises in their infrastructure backlogs.
Central NSW is also in need of additional assistance, with
Blayney, Narromine and Dubbo councils seeing the biggest
percentage rise in their region’s infrastructure backlogs.
The Far West similarly experienced increases, with the
maintenance shortfall rising from $1.26 million in 2014-15
to $4.63 million in 2015-16.
The NRMA is seeking a long-term solution to address road
infrastructure deficits to support sustainable communities
and safe mobility. We’re calling for a range of measures,
including the reform of road funding programs, returning a
greater share of fuel excise to local roads, improving the
engineering capacity of regional local councils, and enabling
the private sector to contribute to the maintenance and
development of the local road network.
The NRMA has a long-standing commitment to advocating
for increased local road funding, and we will continue to
champion solutions to the unacceptable state of our roads.
NEW APPROACH NEEDED FOR INFRASTRUCTURE BACKLOG
FIONA SIMSON Deputy President & Director
Greater Western NSW (Townsend Region)
The future of mobility in Australia
clean energy and how
you can participate in
the NRMA’s AGM
DURING THE PAST two months,
the future of transport arrived in
Sydney. The NRMA, along with its
partners, has delivered the first
autonomous vehicles in NSW.
Transport for NSW has also
announced a series of trials of
on-demand buses across the state,
which offer the prospect of more
convenient services while ensuring
larger buses aren’t travelling
The potential convergence
of on-demand and autonomous
technologies will provide the most
significant disruption to personal
transport in the almost 100 years
the NRMA has been operating.
The NRMA is positioning itself
for the next century in harnessing
this changing technology and
exploring alternatives to the car.
As our streets get more crowded,
we must look elsewhere – from our
railways to our waterways. There’s
also a need to examine the role of
walking and cycling in both
promoting healthy lifestyles and
tackling challenges like air quality.
While visiting China recently,
I saw first-hand how transport is
changing. It’s no longer a nation on
the cusp of technological change; it
has gone from imitator to innovator.
China’s size and rate of change
are remarkable. More than 100 of
its cities are bigger than Sydney and
the top four have populations larger
than Australia. But this growth
creates problems: the air quality of
cities like Shanghai and Beijing can
be much worse than Sydney’s .
In fact, pollution and health are
China’s biggest public concerns,
leading to a strong focus on cleaner
energy and fuels. There’s interest
in autonomous vehicles, but
electric cars are the priority, along
with improving public transport
and revitalising the fading national
habit of riding bicycles.
This is my final column before
our Annual General Meeting,
which will be held in Newcastle.
For the first time, the NRMA
will also embrace changing
technology for our AGM. We
will hold a virtual AGM, allowing
Members unable to attend in
person to hear from the Chairman
and CEO and ask questions of the
Board and auditors.
Further details are available at
mynrma.com.au/agm. I encourage
you to take a look and get involved.
KYLE LOADES Chairman
Back in Sydney, where
the NRMA is leading
23/8/17 11:12 am
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