Bega roads breakdown; NRMA highlights rising backlog

The Bega Valley is staring down the barrel of an increasing roads infrastructure backlog  in the order of $1.89 million.

The startling amount comes as the NRMA released its annual Funding Local Roads Report, which highlighted a figure approaching $2billion is needed to bring the state’s roads up to “a satisfactory condition”.

According to the report, Bega Valley's infrastructure backlog as it relates to roads increased by 28.4 per cent in 2015-16 from the previous year, and stands around $1.89million.

Over the same time frame, neighbouring Eurobodalla reduced its backlog by 78.8 per cent, down from $34m to $7.2m.

Bega has significantly more road assets than Eurobodalla – NRMA put the Valley’s total value at $402.9m – but the backlog increase, as a percentage of total assets, is far higher than even larger councils in the Illawarra and South Coast.

The NRMA said over 80 per cent of Australia’s roads are maintained by local councils, with many struggling to fund the work.

NRMA regional director Fiona Simson said a variety of factors were behind the backlog, including population growth and increased density in regional centres placing pressure on the road network, falling council rates revenue and inadequate funding systems. 

“Local councils have a tough job maintaining local roads, with insufficient funds to cover basic road maintenance such as fixing potholes, gutter repair and repainting faded lines,” Ms Simson said. 

“The lack of an effective long-term solution will mean a worsening NSW local and regional road network, with road safety being a significant concern,” Ms Simson said. 

“Increasing local roads funding will benefit the broader community, as crashes on local roads represent 75 per cent of the $7.1billion annual cost of crashes to the NSW economy.” 

The NRMA has called on governments to increase funding to support this work and welcomed a $500million commitment from the NSW Government for the Fixing Country Roads Program. 

Its recommendations include fast tracking Roads to Recovery funding program, delivering a percentage of the fuel excise levy to local councils for road maintenance, and providing local councils with low interest infrastructure funds.

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