Tuesday, March 5, 2024

NSW councils call on candidates to match $1b roads funding pledge

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed a pledge by the NSW Government to inject $1 billion into the regional road network, and is calling on all political candidates to match the commitment.

The call follows the announcement by Deputy Premier, Paul Toole that the current Government, if re-elected, would significantly increase roads and rail funding in regional NSW in response to the state road emergency declared late last year.

The funding commitment includes:

  • A further $400 million injection into the successful Fixing Local Roads program to help regional councils continue their work to repair, maintain and seal the roads in their communities;
  • $300 million for the establishment of a new Fast Tracking Freight program to tackle freight pinch points on the road and rail network, better connect road and rail with key and emerging freight hubs and increase the capacity and reliability of the network; and
  • $300 million for a Build Back Better program to invest in more resilient State, regional and local road and transport infrastructure across regional NSW.

Local Government NSW President, Darriea Turley said the commitment was fully consistent with LGNSW’s election priorities and ongoing advocacy for increased road funding, improvements to the regional road network and, importantly, greater investment in resilient road infrastructure.

“Last month we welcomed the $500 million emergency pothole repair package announced by the Government in the wake of torrential rain and massive flooding,” President Turley said.

“While grateful we pointed out at the time that despite the significance of the package, it would only go a short way to help fix the $2.5 billion disaster damage bill.

“So it is really pleasing that the Coalition has recognised that simply patching holes is not enough, and that future extreme weather events have the potential to literally wash away and repairs.”

She said the state’s flood-hit road networks need to be built back better.

“They need to be built to higher standards so they can stand up against future floods and other natural disasters.”

“We welcome this additional funding package which is so desperately needed, and are currently digging into the detail to allow us to fully assess how it should be best spent to deliver lasting results.

“Getting our roads up to scratch and having the ongoing funding to keep them there will not only save NSW and its people money in the long run, it will also help support the economic growth this state needs.

“Good roads are good for us all: for business, for our agricultural sector, and for everyday drivers who just want to get to where they need to be safely and without damage to their vehicles,” said President Turley.

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