The NSW Government has announced a $500 million boost to help metropolitan and regional councils tackle the mammoth task of repairing the State’s road network, following months of extreme weather events.
It is intended that the new Regional and Local Roads Repair program will provide more support for councils to continue to carry out urgent repair work to ensure people stay connected and safe.
The NSW Government advise, in their announcement, that they "have listened to councils and we understand the pressure they are under from many months of wet weather. This funding boost will help councils continue the huge job of bringing roads back up to scratch to keep our state moving”.
“This critical funding injection will help every council across the state patch up potholes as well as carry out other emergency repair work.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said he recognised that the road network had been battered, with hundreds of thousands of potholes opening up across the state and some roads washed away by landslips.
The $500 million announced, together with the $50 million already provided by the Government to help regional councils carry out emergency pothole repairs should go towards funding some of the major damage that remains across the South East network.
This funding is on top of the Government’s $1.5 billion budget allocation it is responsible to deliver for tax payers to maintain state roads such as the Princes, Snowy and Kings Highway each year.
The current Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway, said the application process "will be simple and the cash will be available immediately so councils can get on with the job of urgently restoring the state’s road network".
“The new funding will start landing in councils’ bank accounts within weeks so work can begin right away on repairing the essential roads locals, tourists and freight operators use every day,” Mr Farraway said.
$500 million might sound a lot but in the hand out of funding for 128 councils across the State there will be $280 million for the regions and $220 million for metropolitan areas.
Do the math:
There are eighty-seven councils in regional NSW are members of the 13 joint organisations: Canberra Region, Central NSW, Far North West, Far South West, Hunter, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Mid North Coast, Namoi, New England, Northern Rivers, Orana, Riverina and Murray, and Riverina.
Eurobodalla and Bega are part of the Canberra Region.
If the money is divided equally then each Regional Council should receive $3.218 million
Given that there are some Councils impacted more than others (and that there are some that have not been overly impacted) it will be interesting to see how the divide of the funding is conducted; by need or by
Funding under the $500 million Regional and Local Roads Repair Program is available to Local Government areas in both Greater Sydney and Regional NSW. Repair work must be carried out by 31 December 2023.