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OPEN ROAD 7
May and June mark Budget season for the NSW and Australian
governments. It’s a critical time for regional areas because we get
an outline of government spending on a raft of important sectors
such as agriculture, health, education and, crucially, transport.
Last year saw an increase in funding for regional highways in
western NSW under the Regional Road Freight Corridor. The
almost $115 million in funding was allocated in the Forward
Estimates for the Newell, New England and Mitchell highways.
Fast-tracking the funding was important and getting the work
done is even more so. These highways aren’t safe – on this there’s
no dispute. A number of them have seen considerable rain over the
last few weeks, which means they’re in even more need of repair.
These highways also carry a considerable amount of the state’s
freight task. That freight is expected to almost double in the next
20 years to 794 million tonnes. Regional highways aren’t coping
with current levels of freight and the risks to safety and
productivity if we don’t invest in these highways now are obvious.
The NRMA’s submission identifies a number of overtaking lanes
needed along the Newell Highway, an upgrade to the Great Western
Highway between Lithgow and Bathurst, and new overtaking lanes
on the Mitchell Highway between Bathurst and Dubbo.
We’re also calling on an increase in funding to the Roads to
Recovery program to help regional councils meet the backlog of
maintenance work. Getting this funding is crucial to supporting
Australia’s agricultural sectors in helping to deliver produce to
port efficiently. They’re also key to enhancing regional tourism
and, most importantly of all, getting our Members home safely.
Finally, I want to say how thrilled I am that the NRMA has
invested so heavily in Australia’s domestic tourism through our
planned acquisition of Australian Tourist Park Management.
This is a fantastic outcome that sees the NRMA as Australia’s
second largest owner and operator of holiday parks. Regional
tourism will be the big winner from the NRMA’s strong
commitment to domestic holidays.
LET’S USE BUDGET TIME TO BUILD ON LAST YEAR’S WORK
FIONA SIMSON Deputy President & Director
Greater Western NSW (Townsend Region)
FIONA SIMSON Deputy President & Director
What we can do to keep NSW moving
The NRMA’s 2017
practical solutions to
NSW IS IN A UNIQUE PERIOD
of infrastructure growth. Upgrade
announcements from previous
state and federal budgets are now
becoming reality across Sydney
and regional NSW and the ACT,
with major programs taking place
to vital road networks.
But the average Sydney worker
now spends more than six weeks
per year commuting and transport
costs consume 13.6 per cent of
average income, or over $22,000
annually for a typical family. It’s
estimated traffic congestion will
cost citizens $6.9 billion this year,
rising to $13 billion by 2031.
It’s in this environment that
the NRMA has developed a full
suite of solutions in our 2017
State Budget submission. Our
strategic priorities fall under
three categories – Safe Mobility,
Access For All and Sustainable
Communities – and they combine
traditional solutions with the
potential of the sharing economy
and smart vehicles.
Safe Mobility is about better
roads, increased preventative
maintenance, better vehicle safety
and delivery of road safety
education. We’re calling for more
autonomous vehicle trials and
legislation, greater transparency
around the Community Road Safety
Fund and steps to shrink the local
council infrastructure backlog.
Access For All identifies the need
for access to safe and reliable
transport options. Key elements are
improved suburban accessibility, a
boost for successful ‘pinch-point’
and clearway programs, plus more
commuter parking at train stations
and bus interchange terminals.
recognises that promoting
domestic travel and touring are
key considerations for transport
strategy, as well as for generating
economic activity and improving
regional NSW competitiveness.
All our proposals are guided by
the notion of shared value, which
dictates that measures should be
both economically productive and
It’s a concept that would have
resonated with George James, the
former NRMA CEO who passed
away in February at the age of 94.
Mr James served in the Australian
Army in World War II, rising to the
rank of sergeant, before returning
to civilian life and achieving a
similarly rapid rise to the top job in
our organisation in 1979.
This coincided with rapid growth
in NRMA Membership: we hit one
million Members in the 1970s and
were approaching two million
Members by the time Mr James
retired in 1987. On behalf of the
NRMA, I would like to pass on my
condolences to his family, which
includes 14 grandchildren and
KYLE LOADES Chairman
Former NRMA CEO
10/04/2017 4:18 pm
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