The Newell Highway Taskforce held their Annual General Meeting and Regular Committee Meeting on Tuesday 13 September 2022 in Parkes and online via Zoom.
During this meeting, the election of Chair was held, with ongoing Chair, Mayor of Parkes Shire, Cr Ken Keith OAM re-elected as Chair and Bland Shire Councillor, Tony Lord, re-elected as the Deputy Chair.
Cr Ken Keith OAM said, “It is an honour to have been re-elected again for the 13th year. I am proud to lead such an enthusiastic and productive group.
“When the taskforce began at the instigation of the then member for Dubbo, Dawn Fardell MP, the Newell did not even have the funding to maintain the highway. Over the ensuing years we have seen both State and Federal Governments recognise and invest in this vital corridor,” added Cr Keith.
Current initiatives for the Taskforce include:
- An additional 40 overtaking lanes
- 2m centreline separation of traffic
- Bypasses of Moree completed, and Parkes underway
- Heavy duty pavements on the northern black soils
- Widened clear zones
- Additional truck rest stops.
Over $1.4 billion has been spent or committed by the State and Federal Governments.
Important projects that the taskforce is currently also seeking Government commitment include:
- The Forbes – West Wyalong flood mitigation
- Bypass of Coonabarabran
- Inland Rail grade separation
- Intersection upgrades at Narrandera
- More truck stops
The committee resolved to petition to The Hon Sam Farraway MLC, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and The Hon Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government seeking the State and the Federal government’s commitment to the following along the Newell Highway:
- Intersection at Narrandera with an irrigation way
- Coonabarabran Bypass
- Dubbo Bypass
- Heavy duty pavement continued upgrades
- Forbes/ West Wyalong flood immunity
- Poisoned Waterholes Creek, south of Gillenbah
- Inland rail grade separation continued roll out
- More truck rest stops
- Truck driver training
- Intersection between Newell Highway and Kidman Way
- Intersection between Newell Highway and Conargo Road
Chair of the Newell Highway Task Force Cr Ken Keith OAM reminds the community to be mindful in light of the recent wet weather.
“We ask that all road users during this La Niña rain period drive safely and appreciate the difficulties the various road authorities are having trying to maintain the road network,” Cr Keith concluded.