A re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government will invest $1 billion in the regions to upgrade the roads communities use every day, fast-track freight and rebuild transport infrastructure after disaster.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the landmark commitment would improve the resilience of the road and rail network right across NSW, benefitting the regions for generations to come.
“This is a state-building initiative that will drive safety and drive productivity, ensuring people and products get where they need to – and that when disaster strikes, communities and supply chains remain connected,” Mr Toole said.
“In 2019, we made history with a $500 million investment to help regional councils fix their local roads. It’s improved thousands of kilometres of the local roads our communities use every day and benefitted every regional LGA in the State.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that there’s more to do which is why we’ll inject an extra $400 million into the Fixing Local Roads program so we can help councils turbocharge their efforts on road maintenance.
“We’ll also invest a further $600 million in the road and rail network through a new Fast Tracking Freight program and a Build Back Better program.
“We want a road and rail network built for the long-term with the capacity and strength to survive fire and floods, to meet the growing freight task and to get product to market cheaper and more efficiently.
“As anyone in the bush knows, we can’t keep replacing these roads and rail lines and expecting something different the next time a disaster rolls through – we have to put in the money now to keep our State moving forward.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and recent floods forward thinking was needed to strengthen the state’s supply chain.
“Betterment isn’t a last minute thought bubble or cash splash. This has been a 12-month journey since I signed the first co funded betterment pilot in the country to rebuild infrastructure in the northern NSW post floods,” Mr Farraway said.
“This is what the community expects and this is the policy direction we need to move in when it comes to disaster recovery.
“International studies have shown for every $1 spent on mitigation, you save $10 in recovery. A NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will invest that dollar now when others won’t, because we are serious about delivering the projects that matter to regional communities.
“Freight is worth $66 billion a year to the NSW economy and the freight task is only growing.
“Our new Fast Tracking Freight program will make it easier for rail freight projects to get off the ground and get our food and fibre from paddock to port.”
The funding commitment includes:
· A $400 million injection for Fixing Local Roads to help regional councils continue their work to repair, maintain and seal the roads their communities use every day;
· $300 million for the establishment of a new Fast Tracking Freight program to tackle freight pinch points on the road and rail network, better connect road and rail with key and emerging freight hubs and increase the capacity and reliability of the network; and · $300 million for a Build Back Better program to invest in more resilient State, regional and local road and transport infrastructure across regional NSW.