2019 state election: Candidates pledge to provide funding to fix roads

Cootamundra candidates Steph Cooke, Mark Douglass, Jim Saleam, Matthew Stadtmiller and Jeffery Passlow.
Cootamundra candidates Steph Cooke, Mark Douglass, Jim Saleam, Matthew Stadtmiller and Jeffery Passlow.

Steph Cooke who is standing for the Nationals in Saturday's state election says she is seeing first hand the results of road funding.

"The NSW Nationals in Government have spent just under $25 million on roads in the Cootamundra electorate under the Fixing Country Roads project," Ms Cooke said.

"I have driven more than 120,000 kilometres during my work as Member for Cootamundra and I can see how this investment is paying dividends.

"The NSW Nationals’ commitment to roads will continue.

"I will work closely with Hilltops Council to identify and pursue funding for projects needed to make sure the shire's roads are safe and efficient for private and commercial road users as part of the Fixing Country Roads program.

"The drought is creating additional heavy traffic across regional NSW, with increased truck movements making sure relief initiatives are well supplied.

"This will inevitably increase wear on road surfaces, which is why the Drought Relief Heavy Access Program is making up to $300,000 available to Hilltops Council as part of the $1 billion Emergency Drought Relief Package.

"The NSW Nationals will also take responsibility for up to 15,000 kilometres of regional roads and alleviate councils' financial burden. In Government we will work with Hilltops Council to identify roads which would be suitable for this transfer and ensure that these roads are suitably maintained without being a cost burden to ratepayers."

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Matthew Stadtmiller believes "bypasses can have detrimental effects and it needs to be judged how much is contributed to these towns from the passing traffic".

"Jugiong which was formerly on the Hume Highway was bypassed 20 years ago and has only really gotten back on its feet in the last five years with a boom in employment from the motel, cafes and the local pub.

"It took locals a lot of time and hard work to improve their town. If government is going to bypass a town they must have a plan and must understand how it will affect business," he said.

Country Labor candidate Mark Douglass told the Young Witness "Country Labor’s policy is to increase investment in rural roads administered by local councils".  "A Daley Labor government has announced it would increase investment in rural roads by $900 million extra each year," he said.

"This will help alleviate the massive burden that has been placed on councils by the cost shifting from the state government to councils and ratepayers." In relation to a bypass for Cowra he said he supports the proposal.

"I have been fully briefed by Cowra council but am awaiting a full discussion with Hilltops Council. The Young bypass would appear to be a good idea," he said.

Independent candidate Jim Saleam said "everyone complains about country roads and our truckies would be the first to ask for by-passes around the major towns".

"All upgrades are welcome, but if freight is to be greatly increased along our roads towards Warren Truss’s ‘China railways,’ then the purpose is negated. And it will be," he said.

Greens candidate Jeffery Passlow believes heavy vehicle bypasses "are essential".

"There are more heavy vehicles on our roads than ever before, probably due to the closures of branch rail lines," he said.

"Various governments have painted us into a corner. Rail lines have been let rot, they need to bite the bullet and build bypasses to get the behemoths out of town traffic," he said. Mr Passlow believes the increased spending on roads is directly related to the election.

"I would advocate that this be continued, increased even. I would advocate for the enforcement of load limits or the upgrade of roads," he said.