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Thu March 21 2019

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Australia’s local roads and bridges get $1bn funding boost

26 Feb The government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia has allocated AU$1bn (£560m) to help clear the maintenance backlog on local roads and repair the worst timber bridges.

“Today’s commitment from the NSW Liberals & Nationals creates a new legacy for the management of our local road network, enabling us to rapidly improve the condition of regional and rural local roads and hundreds of timber bridges in poor condition,” said NSW deputy premier John Barilaro.

The package includes:

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  • the establishment of the AU$500m Fixing Local Roads programme to assist councils in repairing, maintaining and sealing important local roads;
  • the establishment of the AU$500m Fixing Country Bridges programme to replace the worst timber bridges in regional and rural communities;
  • a process to transfer up to 15,000km of council-owned roads back to the state; and
  • the establishment of an Independent Expert Panel to oversee the asset transfer process.

Minister for roads, maritime and freight Melinda Pavey said deteriorating timber bridges are one of the largest ongoing costs to regional councils across NSW. “Regional councils currently maintain over 1,800 timber bridges across NSW, some of which are over 100 years old,” she said. “Through the $500 million Fixing Country Bridges program councils will be asked to nominate bridges that are currently rated in poor condition to be included in the fund.

Pavey said the Fixing Local Roads program will ask councils to apply for grants to repair priority council roads and fill potholes. “Local councils will be able to repair, patch or seal priority local roads under this new fund, which will complement the existing Fixing Country Roads fund that focuses on freight and brings a total offering of $1.54 billion to regional councils,” she said.

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