A NSW Labor Government would review the state’s road classifications after years of complaints from regions about unfair road funding, said Opposition Leader Michael Daley in Dungog after promising $10.5 million in road funding for the shire if Labor wins the March state election.
The classification review was announced in Dungog today in a shire which is the only council in NSW without a state or federal road. The lack of state or federal responsibility for the area’s road network leaves Dungog as a local council with “an extraordinarily large road budget in incredibly difficult circumstances”, said NSW Country Labor Upper Hunter candidate Martin Rush.
“The council has a small rate base, heavy vehicles account for 14 per cent of traffic movements in the area, and 51 per cent of council expenditure is directed to maintaining roads, footpaths and bridges, which is one of the highest proportions of all of NSW,” Mr Rush said.
The $10.5 million commitment will meet half the council’s $21 million road infrastructure backlog.
Mr Daley said Labor would review the state’s road classifications to ensure rural and regional NSW received its fair share of infrastructure funding.
“NSW Labor’s priorities are schools, hospitals and infrastructure, not Sydney stadiums,” Mr Daley said.
“That’s why we’re committed to spending $10.5 million to reduce the road maintenance backlog in Dungog Shire. It is the only council in NSW without a state or federal road. NSW Labor will implement a review into road classification and work to ease the burden Dungog and other councils like it, have to bear in terms of spending on rural and regional roads.”
NSW Deputy Opposition Lader Penny Sharpe said Labor knew how difficult it was for councils in rural and regional NSW to deal with disproportionately large road budgets.
Mr Rush criticised the NSW Government’s controversial Sydney stadium rebuilding plan and said the government’s first priority should be “schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and the needs of ordinary people”.
“The Berejiklian Government has had no plan to deal with Dungog Shire Council’s future,” Mr Rush said.
“Road funding is safety funding and should be prioritized before spending billions on Sydney stadiums. That’s why NSW Labor will work with Dungog Shire Council and the people of Upper Hunter by investing $10.5 million to halve Dungog Shire Council’s road infrastructure backlog and give the people of Upper Hunter the infrastructure they need,” he said.
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