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National road project will save $250 million

The Federal Government is funding a three year project which should see a 10 per cent increase in the efficiency of road construction and maintenance.

"It is no mean feat, but this will allow us to save $250 million for road construction and maintenance through the development of bench-marking, information swapping between council and best practice," the Minister for Housing and Regional Development, Brian Howe,said today.

"We live in a vast country; it is imperative that we reduce the costs of providing transport to our communities...a key part of that cost reduction is to re-visit our road construction and maintenance options.

"This project will allow local councils to share technical information on the construction and maintenance of roads, allowing all communities to have access to information which could solve road issues in their area, " Mr Howe told the 800 delegates attending the three-day National Assembly of the Australian Local Government Association

"The will to address this important transport infrastructure issue is very strong and the Government is leading the way by providing encouragement of best practice, information sharing and inter-regional cooperation.

"This investment is comparatively small, when we consider the burgeoning benefits which it will offer to all Australian communities "

The project to be run with the Australian Local Government Association has been funded for between $65 - $70,000 and will run for three years.

Mr Howe said that this project would run over nine stages providing the following planned outcomes:

. the development of a coordinated approach to roads, transport and infrastructure policy management, assisting local government with professional and technical advice;

. the coordinated application of research, development and best practise by councils working through the Austroads system with the support of State road and other relevant authorities;

. rapid application of research, development and best practice by councils through the provision of timely information and the early identification of issues/priorities which will make research and development relevant and credible;

. the development and use of information technology networks to enhance interaction between councils on technical, professional and policy matters; and

. the development of a structural model of relevance to other areas where the Commonwealth, State and Local Governments have a joint responsibility to deliver efficient and effective Government to Australian citizens.

Contact: Andrew Casey, Brian Howe's Office, 06 277 7099; 018 487 581