Labor promises to halve local road maintenance backlog
The Hunter’s road maintenance backlog will be slashed by 50 per cent under a Labor government, Shadow Roads Minister Jodi McKay announced on Thursday.
The election promise would see $81 million allocated specifically to Hunter councils, including Maitland and Port Stephens, after an NRMA report found that region’s backlog totaled $162 million.
Maitland’s roads represented the largest portion of that figure, at $64 million.
“We’re the fastest growing LGA [local government area] in the state outside of Sydney, it’s understandable that our backlog is so high,” Labor candidate for Maitland and incumbent Jenny Aitchison said.
“Road condition, the pavement, the potholes, just the sheer weight of that is something that people complain about all the time.”
Rather than funding specific projects the money would target roads that have been rated as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ due to their current condition, which would be dictated by the councils.
Ms McKay said that the commitment would be funded from an election promise made last week that would see an additional $900 million invested in the state’s regional and rural roads on top of current government funding.
“We know that there’s an enormous burden on local councils when it comes to road maintenance, upgrades and repairs,” she said.
“These are roads that people use every single day that make a difference to how they move around their local community.”
The Liberal and National Government currently runs the $543 million Fixing Country Roads program.