NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today announced more than $1 billion dollars to help clear the council roads maintenance backlog, repair NSW’s worst timber bridges, and reclaim up to 15,000 kilometres of council owned regional roads.
“Today’s commitment from the NSW Liberals & Nationals creates a new legacy for the management of our local road network, enabling us to rapidly improve the condition of regional and rural local roads and hundreds of timber bridges in poor condition,” Mr Barilaro said.
“We have listened to our local councils, communities and stakeholders and we are delivering a safe and modern road network for our children and grandchildren and for many generations to come,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This unprecedented funding commitment will change the face of road ownership in NSW and remove the heavy burden from our local ratepayers.”
Since coming to government in 2011, the NSW Liberals & Nationals have doubled the roads budget, secured funding to duplicate the Pacific Highway and upgrade the Newell Highway with more overtaking lanes.
“In stark comparison, when Labor was in Government, the now Opposition Leader, who was then Roads Minister, dumped $477 million dollars’ worth of regional roads onto local councils and let them fend for themselves, knowing many didn’t have the rate base to fund basic maintenance,” he said.
“We will now look to right that wrong, with an unprecedented level of investment in our regional roads.”
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said deteriorating timber bridges are one of the largest ongoing costs to regional councils across NSW.
“Regional councils currently maintain over 1800 timber bridges across NSW, some of which are over 100 years old,” said Minister Pavey.
“Through the $500 million Fixing Country Bridges Program councils will be asked to nominate bridges that are currently rated in poor condition to be included in the fund.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals will assist councils with a fully funded program to replace local bridges to ensure communities maintain access to towns, jobs, schools and hospital facilities.”
Ms Pavey said the Fixing Local Roads program will ask councils to apply for grants to repair priority council roads and fill potholes.
“Local councils will be able to repair, patch or seal priority local roads under this new fund, which will complement the existing Fixing Country Roads fund that focuses on freight and brings a total offering of $1.54 billion to regional councils,” Ms Pavey said.
“We are making our roads safer, whether you are delivering groceries to the local IGA in Dungog or getting milk to the Norco factory in Lismore or just ferrying the kids to sport in Cooma.”
The NSW Liberals & Nationals Regional Roads Package includes:
- The establishment of a $500 million Fixing Local Roads program to assist councils in repairing, maintaining and sealing important local roads;
- The establishment of a $500 million Fixing Country Bridges program to replace the worst timber bridges in regional and rural communities;
- A process to transfer up to 15,000 kilometres of council-owned roads back to the State; and
- The establishment of an Independent Expert Panel to oversee the asset transfer process.