The state’s peak farming body has issued a challenge to match a billion-dollar Western Sydney roads pledge across regional NSW.
It’s been more than a week since the Premier announced $1 billion to “upgrade critical roads” in Western Sydney, while the rest of the state was left to make do with a $500 million road repair fund for local roads. NSW Farmers Vice President Rebecca Reardon said there was an even greater need to fix country roads, and called for far greater funding – and resources – to tackle the problem properly.
“We’ve seen funding promised to local councils to repair potholes – but the damage is significant – multiple patching of the road surface is not going to increase safety,” Mrs Reardon said.
“Our backroads have become defacto highways over the past year and while there have been some big-ticket announcements, there are no clear plans of how to tackle this very serious issue that’s impacting safety and livelihoods.
“The farming communities of our state produce the food Sydney needs, it’s only fair we get safe, fit-for-purpose roads.”
There was an estimated 10,000km of flood-damaged roads across the state, and while local councils were doing their best to prioritise works Mrs Reardon said it was clear it was a huge task given the unprecedented damage.
“And while we’re calling for a billion-dollar funding pool, the money must be accompanied by a workforce and access to materials – both are in short supply – and a strategic approach to the road network.
“The damage has led to increased traffic on regional roads at a time when harvest vehicles also need to move safely, and we will continue to raise this issue until we get a solution.”