Moree Plains Shire Council (MPSC) general manager, David Aber, is in Canberra this week discussing problems with getting funding for our rural roads.
He has made a plea to local residents on Facebook to send in photos of our worst roads in the shire for him to illustrate to the federal leaders just how bad our roads are.
MPSC director of engineering, Ian Dinham, said in his opinion, our worst roads were the unsealed, gravel roads.
“Basically David is trying to get the message through to the federal leaders that they drive around on their nice ACT roads while our roads are in terrible condition and we’re struggling to get our produce to market,” Mr Dinham said.
Another argument the council is putting forward is the collection of $14 billion in fuel excise in which the Federal Government only return 10 per cent to road expenditure.
“Realistically if they want their Weetbix in the morning, then our road networks need to be improved, because nothing happens without roads,” he said.
According to Mr Dinham, the reason for our terrible road conditions has been the lack of funding during the past 35 years from the government.
During our two latest, major floods many rural roads were destroyed. The council will spend $43 million dollars during the next two years restoring the roads to pre-flood condition.
Local councils look after 90 per cent of the roads.
With a budget of $10.6 million, an extra $8 million is needed each year to keep the roads sustained, according to Mr Dinham.
He said if we were to improve our roads we would need billions of dollars.
The council has started to repair the roads since flooding with high traffic areas and bus routes a priority.
“We have engaged five contract teams plus our three roadwork crews to work six days a week for the complete restoration of the damaged roads.
“This could take them from 18 months to two years to complete,” Mr Dinham said.
Wayne Wicks, Wicks’s bus service, agrees the gravel roads are in an “atrocious” state.
“It’s because council doesn’t get enough funding, but when they do, they don’t do the job properly,” he said.
“As little as 10mm, sometimes less, can stop a bus run.”
He said the roads were a safety issue, but added, children were missing out on school because of the lack of maintenance.
“The Federal Government seems to turn a blind eye on our country roads, which is hard on our country kids.”
Meanwhile, Reynolds and Fogarty bus driver Laline Young, said parents had to drive eight children on her run, down the Rosedale Road, into Ashley because the road was too dangerous for her to drive on.
“The council have had funding for this road but they’ve ran out and haven’t been able to finish the job,” she said.
To submit your photos and comments on our worst roads email email@example.com or visit our Facebook page.