Fired up: ‘People are saying the roads are terrible’
NOT enough money is being spent on rural roads in the Livingstone Shire, mayoral contender Andy Ireland says.
Mr Ireland, who intends to run for mayor at the upcoming March Local Government Elections, has pointed to figures from the council’s annual reports to support his belief.
The intended candidate recently highlighted via his Facebook page that council spending over the past four financial years was 45.4 per cent (2018/19); 54 per cent (2017/18); 48 per cent (2016/17) and 36.8 per cent in 2015/16.
“What this shows is that council is not spending enough to keep its assets in good working order, but the reports to councillors state that it has not been necessary to do so because many of the major assets are new and don’t need repair or replacement,” Mr Ireland said.
“I’m not sure what assets are being referred to here, but has anyone driven on rural roads recently?
“What about the urban roads?
“The water infrastructure in many parts of the shire also needs attention.”
Mr Ireland said one of the key benchmarks for local government was the asset sustainability ratio, and simply put, this was the amount of money that the council should be putting into upgrading or renewing its assets.
“The benchmark set by the Department of Local Government and the Queensland Audit Office is that councils should be spending 90 per cent of their depreciation cost on repairing or replacing their assets.
“Livingstone’s not the only one, but it certainly hasn’t been meeting the benchmark for many, many years and of course, that will eventually come back and bite us.
“Because if you don’t maintain your assets then they’re eventually going to give you problems or fail altogether.”
Mr Ireland said a lot of Livingstone’s roads were in very poor condition.
“That’s the comment I’m getting from right around the rural areas of the shire,” he said.
“It’s a common comment - people are saying the roads are terrible.
“All we’re asking for is to have our roads graded once or twice a year, and we’re not even getting that.”
In response to Mr Ireland’s comments, a Livingstone Shire Council departmental spokesman said road expenditure in 2019-20 was reflective of a year where there was no expenditure associated with works related to declared natural events.
“That is road assets are being maintained at the service levels adopted by council without external funding assistance,” he said.
“Approximately 20 per cent of council’s overall operating budget relates to operating and maintenance costs of the road network.”
The spokesman said a more appropriate measure of whether the council was appropriately renewing assets was to consider the “asset renewal funding ratio”.
“This ratio suggests that council is renewing its assets beyond the requirements (100 per cent) in the asset management plans adopted by council.” The spokesman said the council would publish graphs illustrating these things on its Facebook page.