Sydney (Tribune International, Labour Media Release, 29 June 2020): Labor says the NSW Government’s $1 billion roads announcement will barely make a dent in the State’s $11.5 billion road funding black hole and doesn’t include overdue election promises.
The $11.5 billion black hole revealed by internal government documents shows:
- $6.72 billion of unfunded road election commitments in Sydney alone
- $3.8 billion road maintenance backlog
- $917 million funding shortfalls for ‘high priority’ road projects
Labor Shadow Minister for Roads John Graham said: “The Government keeps throwing on hard hats to make announcements. But they run for cover when it’s time to build and maintain these roads.”
“This announcement is less than a tenth of the funding transport officials warned the Government was needed to fix the backlog and meet election promises.”
“There is no overlap between the 11 ‘pinch points’ identified for funding and a dozen unfunded election promises. Additional funding is a start, but they’ve got to stop patting themselves on the back and deliver their election commitments.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Rural Roads Mick Veitch said: “This Government has an appalling record of mismanaging the State’s roads. You wouldn’t trust them to run a chook raffle.
“The Government must urgently address the $3.8 billion road maintenance backlog which puts NSW motorists at risk.”
Mr Veitch said road maintenance was a particular concern for regional and rural communities because of Government plans to rip $150 million from councils.
“Local councils manage a big share of the State’s road infrastructure, particularly in rural and regional NSW. Slashing funding jeopardises ongoing road maintenance, putting lives at risk,” Mr Veitch said.
Mr Graham said Labor welcomes additional investment in road projects, but urged the NSW Government to use local workers, businesses and materials to build roads that are NSW Made.
“If the NSW Government is going to spend taxpayers’ money it should be to support NSW businesses and create NSW jobs, particularly during a recession,” Mr Graham said; “Every single one of these projects should use local content, create local jobs and employ local apprentices.”
“The NSW economy is going to need a lot more than $1 billion of roads projects to lift us out of recession. If this is all the government has up their sleeves, we’re in trouble.”