Illawarra loses out on roadworks funding

The NSW government funding increase for roads maintenance in the Illawarra is the lowest of seven key regions, while the Hunter’s allocation almost doubles.

Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay on Friday released a range of figures highlighting a record level of funding for road and bridge maintenance.

‘‘In 2013-14, the NSW Liberals and Nationals governments has committed $1.54 billion towards the maintenance and repair of roads and bridges on state and council-owned networks – this is the largest funding commitment for maintenance in the state’s history,’’ Mr Gay said.

The Illawarra’s funding for road and bridge maintenance in the 2013-14 financial year is $46 million, which is an 11 per cent increase from the $41 million the previous Labor government spent in 2010-11.

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That 11 per cent figure is the smallest of the seven key regions, which includes Western Sydney, South Coast, Central Coast and Western NSW.

Western NSW is getting $528 million or 21 per cent more in funding, and the South Coast (which starts just after Kiama), scored $184 million – a 37 per cent increase.

That region represents just over half the land mass of the state and includes a number of bridges and roads impacted by floods in recent years.

The Hunter region’s funding will improve by 45 per cent to $185 million, more than three times the amount the Illawarra will receive.

The big winner is Western Sydney, where funding rises 83 per cent to $217 million.

A spokesman for Mr Gay said the funding for roads maintenance was allocated on need ‘‘particularly taking into account road safety considerations’’.

The spokesman said the $46 million – some of which has already been spent in the Illawarra – did not include highway upgrades, which were funded separately. The funds would help address a range of maintenance issues, he said.

‘‘The maintenance budget not only includes minor improvements to roads, but funding to fix potholes, remove graffiti, tidy roadside vegetation, including funding provided to councils,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s to pay for the work people want to see carried out on the roads they drive every day.’’

The $46 million road maintenance budget also included those roads owned by Wollongong City Council.

‘‘The NSW government supports local councils with funding to help improve and maintain local roads,’’ the spokesman said.

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