The NSW Labor Opposition has raised fears the Liberal-National Government’s rural and regional roads reclassification plan is actually an underhanded ploy to slash vital maintenance funding to councils. An expert panel has been established to identify up to 15,000 kilometres of council-managed roads in rural and regional areas to hand back to the state, in a bid to “ease the burden” on councils and ratepayers. But Labor’s Shadow Minister for Rural Roads Mick Veitch has warned if this process isn’t done correctly then the opposite could happen. Mr Veitch said his concern is the Liberal-National Government may only take responsibility of low-maintenance roads while also cutting council funds to uphold the remaining roads. “There is a real risk councils could end up further disadvantaged as a result of this, leaving them with high-cost roads and less funding to maintain them,” Mr Veitch said. “This is a big task and it is critical it’s done well and with council’s interest at the heart of it. I am really worried that this won’t happen and this is actually an underhanded ploy to slash vital maintenance funding to councils to save some money given the amount of budget blowouts from this government.”
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