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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Greens promise more funds for roads

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Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith. Photo Tree Faerie.

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

Lismore Greens candidate Sue Higginson. Photo David Lowe

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.


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  1. How dishonest ! They have no capacity to change the roads budget and they know it. They should be called out on their so-called promises which they can’t deliver. I guess they’ll call a protest about this too. Good photo opportunities I guess.

  2. Yes, many local roads are a mess and councils have struggled for decades to maintain them, but it’s hard to understand how you can make a case for more funds for roads without mentioning the urgent need for more off road public transport-TRAINS-which would not only be more cost effective and sustainable, but would reduce emissions and road maintenance, especially when the Casino to Murwillumbah line is connected to Coolangatta.

    Locals,AND two million tourists, need better public transport, especially train services, not more large, taxpayer subsidised (empty) buses to damage our already decrepit roads.

  3. Dear Tamara Smith and Sue Higginson,
    Your call for the Berejiklean Nat/Lib State State government to pay for repairs to our roads makes sense. Recently I road-tested the cheapest hybrid on the market, a Toyota Corolla, for the Echo, an exceptionally economic and reliable car, only for a tire to disintegrate as I hit a pothole leaving Bangalow for Byron. When I called our local NRMA, they told me that it was now very common in Byron Shire for tires to explode when they hit a pothole. I find it incredible that the same government can spend huge amounts of money through Destination NSW promoting Byron as a tourist destination while refusing to either provide funding for the upgrade of our dangerous roads and refusing the obvious solution, a bed tax.
    Do you know of any legal way we residents can sue this government for the danger they bring to locals and visitors alike?
    It is only a matter of time before these potholes cause a death.
    Jim Beatson,
    Byron Bay


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