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GrainGrowers said the Grattan Institute's "Potholes and Pitfalls" report places a timely focus on the systemic underfunding and inequity faced by regional and remote councils in maintaining local roads crucial for the efficient and cost-effective transportation of grain.

GrainGrowers Acting General Manager Policy and Advocacy, Sean Cole, said the call for additional funding supports the findings of the recent Connecting the Dots: Improving Australian Grain Supply Chain Efficiency report.

“Local government is facing a perfect storm confronting local councils, with escalating costs, funding stagnation, and increased damage due to climate change.”

"The Grattan Institute's report adds further evidence to highlight the systemic underfunding and challenges faced by regional and remote councils, emphasising the urgent need for increased government investment," Mr Cole said.

The report found that an additional $1 billion of yearly expenditure is required to maintain local roads in their current state. Outer regional and remote areas have experienced a decline in maintenance expenditure over the last decade.

Mr Cole said targeted maintenance funding is an absolute priority to address the current problems.

"While State and Federal Governments allocate substantial funds to urban big builds, the report emphasises the short-term thinking in prioritising megaprojects over maintenance."

The Grattan Institute's report underscores that the net benefits of local road projects often exceed those of megaprojects.

Mr Cole said investing in road maintenance ultimately saves significant costs, with full rehabilitation works costing 5 to 10 times as much as preventative treatments.

“GrainGrowers is calling for increased funding for the Roads to Recovery Program in the next Federal Budget."

"Prioritising road maintenance not only benefits rural communities but also contributes to the overall economic efficiency of the country's grain transportation infrastructure, and is not only needed but long overdue," he said.


Media contact: Chris Rowley

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