Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Sydney Mayors united in call for road repairs fund

Mayors from across Western Sydney and Northwest Sydney have united to campaign for a better deal for metropolitan road repairs.

Mayors from The Hills Shire, Hawkesbury and Hornsby have joined leaders from Wollondilly, Penrith and Campbelltown Councils in calling for funding from the State and Federal Governments to address road networks they say are in desperate need of repair after three years of record-breaking rain and multiple flooding events.

Hornsby Mayor, Philip Ruddock said the Council had repaired thousands of potholes in recent times.

“This is just a band-aid solution and significant money needs to be spent on addressing major road failures,” he said of Council’s efforts to date.

“Hornsby Shire Council has a budget of $3.2 million in the current financial year for road restoration and maintenance and we anticipate this will be fully expended by Christmas. It is estimated that we will need a further $3-5 million to address road failures resulting from this year’s weather events.

“Hornsby Shire Council has made numerous representations to the State Government seeking funding for flood and rain damage, including damage to our local roads.”

The joint campaign follows Local Government NSW’s declaration of a ‘Statewide Roads Emergency’ at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hobart. The declaration, that was supported by Mayors from across the State, urged the State and Federal Governments to increase funding commitments to help local councils repair their road networks.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Peter Gangemi said Sydney councils, especially those with large rural or semi-rural areas, were in desperate need of a funds to assist with road repairs.

“Just like rural regions, The Hills Shire has also been affected by persistent wet weather systems. On top of this, residents have endured several major flooding disasters in the last few years and our roads are deteriorating much quicker than our modelling could have predicted under a third consecutive La Nina,” he said.

“Despite about two-thirds of our Shire being considered rural, it is hard to understand why we are still not eligible to apply for this funding.

“In addition to the record rain, we are seeing more requests for pothole and road repairs than ever before. In 2019, Council received 1,680 calls to fix potholes and carryout road patching work.”

This figure has since grown to 5,086 requests in 2022, he said.

“What we are calling for is greater support for councils across NSW, so that we can fix our roads that our community expects and deserves.”

Hawkesbury Mayor, Sarah McMahon said since the July flood, Council had filled 9,400 potholes.

She said that in the past three years, $1.07 million has been spent repairing potholes, with another $1 million to be spent this year.

“After six floods in three years, roads in the Hawkesbury and right across Sydney are in dire need of coordinated and well-funded assistance from the government,” said Mayor McMahon.

“Our thoughts are with the LGAs and residents out west as they battle their own current flood crisis, but back here in Sydney we have councils that have been struggling for more than two years now to manage crumbling road networks, and flood evacuation routes that are not fit for purpose.

“Without assistance to recover and future-proof these networks, millions of motorists will continue to be put at risk every day.”

Penrith City Mayor, Tricia Hitchen echoed the sentiments of her fellow local government leaders.

“Roads around the Penrith LGA have been damaged by the spate of floods we’ve experienced, particularly over the past 18 months, and with a wet summer predicted it is important that we act fast – but we require additional funding to achieve this,” Mayor Hitchin said.

“Penrith’s footprint has a mix of urban and rural areas, and we must give residents in every part of our City equitable access to quality roads, to ensure the safety of all community members and visitors,” she said.

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