Local infrastructure organisation may need to fund projects

A CALL has gone out for a national body to tackle the $15 billion shortfall in local infrastructure projects across regional Australia which local governments cannot fund on their own.

The Regional Australia Institute has just completed a study into how the backlog, worth between $12 billion and $15 billion, could be solved.

The RAI study believes a new organisation, called Local Infrastructure Australia, could be part of the solution.

"As a result of the deficit and on-going under-investment, each Australian incurs an average additional deficit of $87-$109 every year," the study reads.

"As well as constraining local development, the deficit represents an ever-growing liability that future generations will bear."

The study found a national body was essential for delivering the needed private investment in local infrastructure in regional areas.

It said the focus of such an organisation had to be on local investments, like roads and bridges, rather than the current national focus of Infrastructure Australia.

But it also acknowledged a need for wider reform to help build local councils' ability to pay, as well as a bigger boost from state and national governments.

For the full report, called Catalysing Local Infrastructure Renewal, go to: regionalaustralia.org.au