Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Councils need Federal funding support for emergency road repairs

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Regional roads are in desperate need of emergency repair prompting Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack to call on the Government to step up support.

Mr McCormack is urging the Federal Government to provide a funding boost to Councils to repair damaged roads, which pose a significant safety risk for regional road users.

“Relentless rain and flooding has led to many regional roads falling into severe disrepair and the expected deluge this week will only exacerbate the problem,” Mr McCormack said.

“I have driven on many regional roads recently and have spoken to several regional Mayors and they all agree the roads have never been worse – anywhere you go.

“Road safety has to come first and this Government needs to understand regional people rely on our roads to get to and from work, to take their children to school and to sport or other activities.

“I’m more than happy to give the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development a tour of the roads around the Riverina electorate to highlight how desperate this situation has become over the past few months of heavy rainfall and flooding.”

Mr McCormack said some councils were already seeking special rate variations to help cover the cost of repairing roads. “With costs of living escalating, the last thing people need is to be slugged with a rate hike,” Mr McCormack said.

“Rising rates is an unpalatable option when mortgages, rent, petrol prices and grocery bills continue to escalate with no real plan from this Government to ease the pain on families and businesses, which have also had to endure the harsh health and economic effects of a global pandemic.”

An emergency road repair program would complement the highly successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program and ongoing funding through the Roads to Recovery program.

“Now is not the time to cut funding for the regions,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Nationals in Government provided record funding to local Councils to give them the autonomy to improve local roads based on local needs and I call on the Federal Government to build on this commitment to ensure these dangerous road conditions are fixed as soon as possible.

“With the October Budget coming up and country roads in a terrible state, there’s never been a more appropriate time for this funding.”

Narrandera Argus 13 October 2022

This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 13 October 2022.

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