New figures have revealed a $166.5 million backlog in funding required by South Coast councils to maintain local roads to a safe and satisfactory standard.
The NRMA has crunched the numbers on what it would take to repair poor road surfaces in councils across the state, finding South Coast councils had some of the biggest backlogs. Wollongong was found to have a backlog of $79.8m, Shoalhaven, $43.9m and Eurobadalla, $35.5m.
The funding shortfall was revealed as part of the NRMA’s Funding Local Roads report.
Earlier this week, Kiama MP Gareth Ward criticised South Coast councils for the backlog, and said while the state government had helped out significantly, it was council’s turn to inject extra funds into the regions’s roads.
“Councils need to get on with the job of making sure they improve local roads, and do the things they are meant to do,” he said.
“Councils are often very good at offering advice to everybody else about everything from federal, state issues, but when the acid is put on them to actually do their own jobs they tend to squirm a little bit.”
However, Eurobodalla Shire Council director of infrastructure services Warren Sharpe said council was working hard to address the backlog.
“It’s important to note the backlog has been reducing steadily, but under-funding from state and federal governments is one of the reasons for this backlog,” he said.
“It’s good the NRMA has highlighted this, as it helps us in our push for further federal assistance to help local governments in addressing these important issues.”
Mr Sharpe said council was thinking about long-term driver safety when it came to maintaining and repairing roads in the shire.
“We are focused on the road safety outcomes,” he said.
“Unfortunately, about 1200 people are killed on the roads Australia-wide each year. So we are focused on managing our infrastructure to improve our roads and make them more forgiving.”
Council is focusing on resealing and resurfacing roads currently, in order to manage the decline of road surfaces.
“We are working on our budget and long term financial plan to stop the decline of our roads over the next 10 years,” Mr Sharpe said.