In what might seem like an unexpected turn of events, Greens Ballina MP Tamara Smith and Lismore candidate Sue Higginson say their party would prioritise more money for local roads.
The pair last week announced ‘needs-based funding for roads and parks in regional NSW and an injection of $195 million to address the backlog in road maintenance across the Northern Rivers’.
The road maintenance backlog currently stands at $70 million for Byron Shire, $65 million for Lismore, $42 million for Kyogle Shire, $10 million for Ballina Shire and $8 million for Tweed Shire.
‘Why do we pay taxes if only city folk get good roads and infrastructure for public amenity? Over the next 10 years, every single Sydneysider will have $1,900 per year, per person spent on them just for roads,’ Ms Smith said.
‘That would translate to about $90 million per year every year for the next ten years for the Ballina electorate alone. Imagine our councils being able to count on that money and plan accordingly..
‘We are supporting needs-based funding for regional NSW that isn’t tied to the politics or government of the day. I have constituents approaching me about the potholes at least once a week.
‘The government is happy to reap the tax rewards of Byron Shire’s thriving tourism industry, but it doesn’t want to maintain the infrastructure used by tourists, leaving local councils with a never-ending backlog of broken roads and failing infrastructure.’ said Ms Smith
Ms Higginson accused the NSW Government of ‘cost-shifting its responsibilities to local government thus eroding the ability of local councils to provide the services their residents expect and deserve’.
‘We have a number of significant environmental and climatic factors, such as high rainfall, volcanic soils, high temperatures and humidity that contribute to the state of our roads.
‘Our Northern Rivers Councils need real support and investment to get our road networks up to scratch.
‘We also need investment into research and development to build better roads so they are fit for purpose and long-lasting. There are so many new technologies and materials that we should be working with and our state government should be taking the lead,’ Ms Higginson said.