REGIONAL communities in popular coastal regions like the Coffs Coast face a growing crisis caused by ageing post-war infrastructure, says a new report.
The report suggests introducing a three-level local government financing market open to private investment. This would allow bodies like superannuation funds to invest in local government projects like regional airports, libraries, tourist facilities and bridges.
The money would be re- paid by Federal, State and local government, with the repayment structure designed around the value of the asset to each sphere.
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) National Economics State of the Regions Report for 2004-2005 was released at the Regional Co-operation and Development Forum in Canberra on Sunday. The report provides a stocktake of the economic and social well-being of Australia's 64 regions.
The president of ALGA, Councillor Mike Montgomery, told the Forum that the report made it clear Australia's strong economic performance was underpinned by household expenditure, which was unsustainable in the long term and would end in an economic slowdown in six to eight years.
He said Australia needed to invest much more in productive public and private infrastructure in order to sustain economic progress, ensure a quick recovery and address regional inequalities.