Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor Jamie Chaffey has welcomed with caution an announcement the NSW Government will proceed with the Rangari Road upgrade.
Transport for NSW and Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson announced this morning the NSW Government would take over the upgrade and sealing of Rangari Road.
Cr Chaffey said the upgrade had been unable to proceed because full funding had never been allocated.
“Ultimately, all we have wanted for many years is to have Rangari Road sealed,” Cr Chaffey said. “We have continually lobbied the NSW Government to make this happen to ensure the safety of those who travel along this road daily, but never, despite the 2019 election promise, has the full funding been available for this important project to start.
“We are extremely delighted to learn the NSW Government will take on this project, but are unclear about whether the full scope of the project has been fully funded, and are yet to hear details about how it will proceed.
“We are also deeply disappointed that the Member for Tamworth has seen fit to lay the blame for the delay at the door of local government. This is unfair and unwarranted when it would have been irresponsible for our councils to proceed with this project without the full funding.
“Again and again we have gone back to the NSW Government to fulfil this election promise, but the commitment has never been fully honoured. It is not the role of local government to fund the election promises of a local member.”
Rangari Road upgrade timeline:
- Prior to 2019 election commitment – Gunnedah Shire Council and Tamworth Regional Council seek NSW Government funding for the Rangari Road upgrade through the Resources for Regions program. Council advised application had been withdrawn as project would be funded by Transport for NSW. Project cost estimated at $12.9m at that time.
• March 2019 – Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson makes election commitment to seal Rangari Road.
• July 2020 – NSW Government announces $9m for Rangari Road upgrade – leaving a shortfall of $3.9m.
• November 2020 – NSW Government commits a further $1.4m through the Resources for Regions program, still leaving a $1.6m shortfall for the project based on 2019 cost estimates.
• September 2021 – NSW Government commits a further $1.6 million.
• Early 2022 – First tender process reveals project could no longer be delivered for 2019 estimate and available funding. Project scope redefined by councils prior to running a second tender process.
• May 2022 – Second tender process reveals redefined project scope also cannot be delivered within funding made available by the NSW Government.
• June 2022 – NSW Budget delivers additional $3.3m (not $3.6m as announced by the Member for Tamworth), still short of the required amount to enable councils to enter a contract.
• June 2022 – Both councils contact the Member for Tamworth, the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, and Transport for NSW seeking certainty that the full funding would be forthcoming to enable councils to responsibly award a contract.
“The latest Budget announcement was welcomed, but again failed to deliver the full amount,” Cr Chaffey said. “This has led to delay after delay with this project. We are still unsure how that shortfall will be met, and whether funding has also been allocated for any potential variations or cost overruns.
“We will carefully monitor delivery of this promise. What we are thankful for is that, through this announcement, the Gunnedah community cannot be left with the shortfall.
“It has been a frustrating and disappointing process. We look forward to an end to politics on this important issue, and a completion of the upgrade of Rangari Road.”