The NSW Nationals in the state government are encouraging councils to apply for the latest round of the Fixing Country Roads program to help enhance the productivity of the state’s farming, manufacturing and freight sectors.
Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the new round of the $543 million program will focus on shovel-ready projects that will deliver immediate benefits to communities.
“The NSW Nationals are improving the state’s freight connections so food, produce and raw materials can be transported more quickly and cost effectively, ensuring produce gets to market and the economy keeps moving, not only now but well into the future,” Farraway said.
“We want projects that build better, safer roads and bridges with higher speed and load limits that improve access for freight on the local and regional road network.
“Every 100km out of a truck driver’s way costs over $300, so helping councils to build the infrastructure that reduces travel times for industry will ultimately reduce costs for families.
Since 2014, over 80 regional NSW councils have received $462.5 million to carry out more than 320 individual projects, 260 of which have now been completed.
When all projects funded to date are completed, the Fixing Country Roads program will have provided an additional 1889 kilometres of sealed road, saving $8.55 million in reduced maintenance costs for councils.
Fixing Country Roads has provided around $40 million to the six councils in the Upper Hunter Electorate alone.
The Bucketts Way Route Access Strategy has delivered $8.3 million to MidCoast Council, Dungog Shire Council has received $10.6 million for bridge projects and Upper Shire Council has received $13.7 million for projects including work on Bunnan Road and replacement of the Cameron Bridge at Rouchel.
The Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) supports the program and has a been an advocate for increasing funding for rural and regional roads.
LBRCA President Wade Lewis says the program has enabled operators to reduce transport costs and increase the overall productivity and safety of the industry and the communities that they service.
“The NSW Fixing Country Roads funding provides an economic and productivity edge for the agricultural and heavy vehicle transport sector to achieve better outcomes for NSW businesses and communities, which are reliant on efficient, cost-effective and safe road freight services,” said Lewis.
Applications under the new round of Fixing Country Roads can be made until 5pm Friday, October 14.
For more information visit: nswroads.work/fixingcountryroads.