The National Farmers’ Federation has welcomed news the Federal Government will double the Roads to Recovery funding program, providing a much needed shot in the arm to dilapidated regional roads.
Minister Catherine King said the Government would gradually increase funding for the Roads to Recovery program from $500 million to a $1 billion program over the next four years.
NFF President David Jochinke said this increased funding would provide key resources to local government to maintain local road networks.
“Flooding in 2021 and 2022 significantly deteriorated critical road infrastructure across Australia and the systemic underfunding of the regional road network has slowed road repairs.
“Local roads make up about 85% of the nation’s road network but they just have not been given the attention they deserve.”
Mr Jochinke said the poor state of local roads had been a handbrake on productivity, holding back regional development and undermining safety and welfare for all road users.
“Not only do poor roads impede overall freight efficiency and slow the movement of freight but they also restrict high-productivity freight vehicles accessing ‘first and last mile’ roads essential for getting agricultural products from farm to market.
“Many rural councils are at breaking point with large road networks to manage and low populations.
“The average cost of maintaining a kilometre of local government road in metropolitan councils is typically shared between 175 people, while in rural and remote council areas the cost is shared between less than five people.
“The NFF thanks Minister King for her commitment to improving regional infrastructure though this new funding and we look forward to working with the Government to improve regional roads.”