The NSW Nationals in Government are one step closer to delivering on one of their hallmark election commitments with an expert panel set up to identify up to 15,000 kilometres of council-managed roads in rural and regional NSW that the State will reclaim.

The Nationals in Government will ease the burden of road costs on councils and local ratepayers.

Local roads are one of the biggest issues affecting the communities we represent, and we are determined to deliver a safe and well maintained road network.

This commitment builds on the $500 million we are investing through our Fixing Local Roads program to help councils fix their maintenance backlog and ensure safe and reliable trips on the roads our communities use every day.

NSW Nationals Leader and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the panel will conduct a review of the road classification framework and recommend roads for transfer to the State Government.

“This is about delivering on our election commitment to take the financial burden off local councils and ratepayers and builds on the record investment we are making in roads in the bush,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Everyone in a regional area has a story about a road that isn’t up to scratch and turns their knuckles white when driving on it – and that isn’t good enough.

“This project is even more important now, with the drought and bushfires heavily impacting regional councils – road maintenance is something they shouldn’t have to manage on their own.”

Deputy NSW Nationals Leader and Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole said the Panel will be conducting extensive consultations with councils and other key stakeholders, and is not expected to deliver its report until July 2021 at the earliest.

“This is a monumental task, with more than 180,000 kilometres of roads across the State’s entire road network and a complicated funding and maintenance program and it’s critical we give the Panel sufficient time to talk to stakeholders and do a thorough review,” Mr Toole said.

The members of the Panel are:
• Ms Wendy Machin
• Mr Peter Duncan AM
• Ms Jillian Kilby
• Mr John Roydhouse
• Mr Michael Kilgariff
• Mr Peter Tegart

The Panel will meet in the coming month and will prepare a discussion paper and consultation strategy for public release shortly afterwards.