Local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin has defended the NSW government’s record on rural roads after Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Greens) claimed that ‘just $50 million will be spent on fixing blackspots on rural roads this year, while a mind boggling $16.8 billion will be spent on Westconnex in Sydney.’
Newtown MP Jenny Leong (Greens) said, ‘City voters don’t even want Westconnex. Our office has been inundated with phone calls, emails and submissions opposing WestConnex and the extension to their airport. We wish this exorbitant waste of money could be spent where it’s needed – saving lives on country roads.’
Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith added, ‘It beggars belief that a Nationals road minister would spend more money on a kilometre of road in Sydney than on fixing blackspots in the regions.’
‘Regional people represent a third of the population but nearly 70 per cent of the road toll according to government figures – isn’t it time the regions got the funding they need to reduce this horrendous imbalance?’
Franklin told The Echo that comments by the member for Ballina were incorrect, yet did not mention Westconnex.
He said, ‘More than $120 million of road infrastructure improvements, designed to reduce the number and severity of crashes on the state’s roads, will be carried out over the next 12 months.’
‘The 2018 NSW budget announced a boost of $600 million in additional funding for road safety improvements including infrastructure safety upgrades over five years. This brings the total investment of targeted safety treatments on our roads to $820 million over five years with $640 million allocated to Saving Lives on Country Roads and $180 million to Liveable and Safe Urban Communities. 277 projects will be delivered this financial year through these programs. These projects are part of a $1.9 billion investment in road safety over the next five years.
‘The NSW Liberal and Nationals government is committed to investing in our regional communities and fixing our rural and regional roads.’