Murrumbidgee Council is joining a growing band of local councils and peak advocacy groups in calling for an immediate funding boost by the Federal and State Governments to repair damaged local roads.
Mayor, Ruth McRae said Councillors have unanimously supported a decision to ramp up efforts to lobby both the NSW and Federal Governments to accelerate and significantly increase roads funding.
Mayor McRae said the local road network, and roads right across the state, have suffered “disastrous damage”.
“We are facing a task that is beyond the reasonable scope of any Local Government authority. We face an unprecedented disaster that requires an unprecedented response,” she said.
Council says it will now write to the Prime Minister and NSW Premier calling for an increase to funding for roads maintenance, as well as new funding for plant machinery and skilled workers to expedite road repairs.
Mayor McRae described the local situation as “dire”.
“We have faced, and may continue to face, an unprecedented and unrelenting series of natural disasters that has seen residents and business owners cleaning up again and again. It has seen people isolated, workers unable to get to work, and students unable to get to training or school,” the Mayor said.
“Add to this our very real and immediate concern for our primary producers. This latest rain event has hit our LGA at a critical time.
“Winter crops, such as wheat, barley, oats, canola and chick peas, are ready to be harvested and the window for planting summer crops, including cotton, corn and rice only lasts a matter of weeks and is being compromised daily. Livestock are ready to go to sale.
“The local and regional road network is critically-enabling infrastructure. It is absolutely vital to our primary producers, and the key to keeping affordable food on the table across NSW and beyond.”
Council’s actions support those of Local Government NSW, the State’s peak advocacy group for local councils, who declared a Statewide Roads Emergency on 3 November.
“We need help. Our community needs help. Other regional and rural communities across the state and beyond need help. We desperately need our leaders to lead.”
“This is an emergency, and it’s time to seek help,” said Mayor McRae.