Road funding should relate to productivity

May 8, 2008

Gwydir Shire Council’s motion to the 2008 Shires’ Association Conference this year concerns funding for roads which carry a large number of trucks.

The grain trucks in particular in the north of the shire, have a huge impact on the roads which are usually built on black soil and thus are very costly to maintain to a good standard.

The motion reads: “That the State and Federal Governments are requested to recognise the absolute importance of maintaining an all weather access local rural road network within the most productive agricultural areas to ensure continuing economic wellbeing of the Australian economy through the acceptance of this criteria as a disability factor.

Further, that to meet this additional disability criteria the total allocation of funding towards rural local roads be expanded.”

The 2008 Shires’ Association Conference is being held in Sydney from June 2 – 4. The Shire President, Deputy President and General Manager usually all attend, along with any other councillors who wish to go.

The background to this motion is that prime agricultural land is often serviced by local rural roads that suffer badly from the ravages of the elements, especially the extreme events of floods or droughts.

The productive nature of the soil types makes the sealing and maintenance of all weather access roads more difficult and expensive.

The maintenance of a network of viable all weather access roads to markets for agricultural products is as important, if not more so, than access to high speed broadband, for example and should be funded accordingly.

The benefits that will derive from a National investment into these roads will result in a positive economic outcome.

Councillor Coulton told the meeting that Warren, Narrabri, Moree and Walgett Shires are all talking about funding for roads with high productivity. He said “You can drive for hundreds of kilometres around Walgett without seeing any tar.

This is a number 1 infrastructure priority. Mayor, Peter Caskey agreed saying  “We have a good case to put and it is in the national interest to increase funding for these roads.”

Compliments of The Bingara Advocate