Federal Nationals Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie has announced a $5-million funding boost for the Cedar Party Creek Bridge Replacement project at Wingham.
The project, worth more than $20-million, is being undertaken by Transport for NSW in collaboration with MidCoast Council.
Dr Gillespie said the Cedar Party Creek Bridge replacement project would see the construction of a new reinforced concrete bridge, including two traffic lanes, a widened shoulder, and a shared path.
“I know council had been working with the former State Member for Myall Lakes, the late Stephen Bromhead, and current State MP Tanya Thompson to secure state funding for this important project. With the recent cost escalation, this successful Federal funding application will provide a real boost to the project which will soon get underway.
“Council is currently assessing tenders for the project and construction is expected to commence on the new bridge project after Easter,” Dr Gillespie said.
The $5-million funding grant has been made available under the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program. The program was established under the former Nationals Government in the 2014-15 Federal Budget, delivering on a 2013 election commitment to provide $300 million, to be matched dollar for dollar, to renew and upgrade deteriorating local bridges.
In the Lyne electorate alone, 32 bridge projects have been funded under the program.
The initiative was an important element of the Coalition’s policy to boost national productivity and economic growth by enhancing the productivity of the national freight task.
Introduction of the program recognised that for many councils the cost of renewing and upgrading deteriorating bridges was beyond their financial resources. Restrictions and load limits imposed on bridges were significant barriers to higher productivity trucks being able to access farms and loads of primary resources for domestic or export markets.
The program has been very successful, with all designated funding rounds oversubscribed.
In a recent meeting with the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, Dr Gillespie raised concerns that the program had been referred to a 90-day Strategic Review of the Infrastructure Investment Program for potential ‘reform.’
In November 2021 the former Federal Government reformed the program from a round-based application program to one accepting applications continuously. At the March 2022-23 Federal Budget the former Government committed $464 million for the Bridges Renewal Program over the forward estimates, with an ongoing commitment of $85 million per year from 2026-27.
“Our local area has seen dozens of new bridges funded under this important program and I would be very disappointed if the program is abolished by the Albanese Government after the review,” he added.