Premier Carmen Lawrence today signed an historic agreement with local government authorities to develop integrated strategies for Western Australia's regional road network.
Dr Lawrence and the president of the Western Australian Municipal Association, Joe North, signed a memorandum of understanding which will lead to the development of nine regional road strategies over the next three years.
The agreement was the first to be signed under the joint State and local government `Better Government Agreement', which was aimed at reducing duplication between the two levels of Government, more clearly identifying responsibilities and roles and responding better to community needs.
Dr Lawrence said today's signing heralded a formal working partnership to look at long-term road priorities for roads in non-metropolitan areas to ensure they met the needs of local communities into the next century.
"Our major goal is to manage the strategic planning needs of the regional road network to maximise the benefits for the community as a whole," she said.
"The regional network represents a major State and community investment comprising 170,000km of roads with an estimated replacement value of $10 billion.
"The size of this investment makes it all the more appropriate that this should be the first project to signal a new era of co-operation under the Better Government Agreement."
Dr Lawrence said road strategies in the Pilbara were already in place and Main Roads was working with local authorities in the Gascoyne and in the South West to prepare similar regional plans.
Next year, strategies for the Great Southern, Kimberley and Geraldton-Mid West would be developed. Those for the Central South, Central North and Goldfields-Esperance would be completed in 1995.
The regional road strategies would be developed with full public consultation and would be subject to evaluation and review at least every five years to allow for changing community needs.
Dr Lawrence said today's move was the forerunner of similar agreements with local government on capital resource sharing, Crown land administration and environmental management.