Thursday, July 25, 2024

State of Hawkesbury roads report a ‘sobering’ read

Hawkesbury City Council delivered a comprehensive and “sobering” report into the state of local roads at last Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

The report, ordered last year by Mayor Sarah McMahon (pictured), provides an overview of the state of local roads, the internal and external issues contributing to the roads including systemic and structural issues within Council, a pathway towards overcoming the problems, and a commitment to resolve the issues.

Mayor McMahon said there was no short-term fix to the local roads issue.

“This is a long-term plan,” Mayor McMahon said. “It is the most important thing that we have to do, because as a Council we are here to deliver services to our community.

“Right now the job is bigger than us, but we are going to fix it. Significant progress has been made over the past 12 months to ramp up the delivery of the capital works program and our expenditure on road maintenance,” she said.

Council allocates 40% of its budget every year to managing 1,063km of roads – the largest capital expenditure in the city’s budget.

The report presented at Tuesday’s meeting concedes years of outdated and ineffective road maintenance and delivery practises has contributed to the current state of roads, along with the effects of six flood events in three years.

Mayor McMahon said recovery of the roads was now being hampered by shortages in the availability of contractors and materials due to a high demand right across Sydney and NSW for flood recovery work.

“Our capital expenditure this financial year is $38 million – almost double compared to the last five years. In this last financial year we have seen asset renewal productivity of 150% – double the ratio of the previous year,” she said.

“What that means is our staff have been working exceptionally hard at meeting their targets in an exceptionally difficult environment. Our situation is not through the lack of effort of our hard-working Council staff, rather the systems and processes within which they have been working.”

Changes already implemented at Council in the last 12 months include:

– A new internal structure that supports bringing our roads up to a modern standard

– Commenced a service review of our outdoor operations – including better data and tracking

– Better flow of information for keeping our community informed

– Internal audit of our asset management processes

Read the report via the meeting documents here: www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/your-council/council-meetings-and-agendas/business-papers.

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