Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed the State government’s appointment of an expert panel to identify up to 15,000 kilometres of council-managed roads in rural and regional areas to be hand back to the state government.
LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott said local councils looked forward to working with the new panel members; Wendy Machin, Peter Duncan, Jillian Kilby, John Roydhouse, Michael Kilgariff and Peter Tegart.
“Local Government NSW, on behalf of councils, has been pushing for an end to cost shifting in the road system for some time,” Cr Scott said.
“We thank the Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW and the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads for responding to our calls to work with us to reduce the administrative and financial burden.
“The management of tens of thousands of kilometres of roads by rural and regional councils is yet another example of cost shifting, in which local councils take on more responsibilities for services and infrastructure without the provision of adequate funding.
“It’s one of the most significant problems facing councils. In 2018/19, about $820 million was cost-shifted to NSW councils, part of a burden estimated at $6.2 billion over 10 years.
“We trust the expert panel will work closely with LGNSW and member councils to ensure sensible choices are made.
“Councils must be consulted as the independent panel formulates its advice on which roads should be given to the state and how to prioritise each one.
“In doing so, it is our hope the panel will be able to deliver their report well in advance of July 2021, the delivery date indicated by the Deputy Premier.
“This project is even more important now, with the drought and bushfires heavily impacting regional councils. These communities simply cannot be expected to wait any longer than is necessary.”