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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Another Broken Promise To Bega And Eurobodalla Communities

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway was forced to make an embarrassing revelation during a recent budget estimates hearing that not one single kilometre of road has been transferred under the key 2019 Liberals and Nationals Commitment to reclassify and transfer 15,000 kilometres of roads. Under intense questioning, a red-faced Minister could not bring himself to say the words “it is zero”, despite it being clear that zero roads have been transferred under the program. In a nutshell the State Government allocates funds for the upkeep of Classified Roads such as Durras Drive, Long Beach Road, Beach Road, George Bass Drive, South Head Road, Hector McWilliam Drive, Dalmeny Drive and Mystery Bay Road. These are main feeders in the region and, as such, are recognised as having higher than normal traffic and warranting financial assistance to keep them open and in good order. The roads are however, only partly funded with ratepayers funding the rest. The current NSW Government was all gifts and promises during the last election and made promises to kick the can and recognise its obligations to support cash-strapped local councils by reclassifying more roads. One example locally would be the Araluen Road.

It was once a classified road but Council gave that up to swap the funding support to Hector McWilliam Drive. The Araluen Road was once Main Road 72 but now it is a total mess that is costing ratepayers dearly. Across NSW there are 15,000 kilometres of roads just like Araluen Road, in a mess, underfunded and fully eligible to be reclassified and gain State funding for repair and maintenance. That was the election promise. The Minister dashed the hopes of regional motorists and cash-strapped regional councils that the glacial roll out of the program would be sped up, saying the Government’s key 2019 election commitment is “not a burning topic” amongst regional Councils. The Minister also cast doubt on whether the full complement of 15,000km promised would be transferred, repeatedly stating that the policy was “up to” 15,000 km. Shadow Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said the Minister’s evidence confirmed that the Regional Roads Transfer and Road Classification Review promise was a cynical attempt to pork barrel regional communities. “This was a “magic pudding” election promise, every Nationals and Liberal candidate could point to a potential road in their electorate which could be eligible for reclassification or transfer, and the Government still, nearly four years later, hasn’t transferred a single one of them,” she said. “What’s worse, after numerous questions Transport bureaucrats were unable to even confirm a dollar or kilometre figure for policy in 2022/23 and over the forwards. For a signature promise, this is astounding.” Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland MP said he was disturbed to hear the Minister’s admission that a city-based council was approved under a so-called “business as usual” reclassification yet Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shire Councils have been snubbed by the Liberal National Government. “We’ve got local roads like Araluen Road, Bermagui Road, Wallaga Lake Road, Andy Poole Drive, Bunga Street and East Street in Bega that have been put on the back burner by this Liberal National Government.” “I am appalled that the Government has failed to deliver in our local community after almost 4 years.” “The Government has delivered nothing but disappointment for the residents of the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shire.” “This is just another example of the Liberal National Government not delivering and not listening to our regional communities.” “One thing is for sure, under this Government, business as usual is putting the city before the regions, every time.”

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