THE future prosperity of regional centres like the Coffs Coast is under threat after the Federal Budget failed to invest in country NSW, according to the NRMA and the NSW Farmers’ Association.
Rallying yesterday, NRMA president Wendy Machin and NSW Farmer’s president Charles Armstrong said both organisations were disappointed that regional NSW had again missed out on road funding.
“There is nothing in this Budget for regional roads, even though communities and industry rely heavily on the road network,” Ms Machin said.
“Regional roads that attracted so much attention over the year for a number of fatalities, such as the Pacific and Princes highways, have been given no additional funds to make them safer.
“The NRMA is very concerned our regional highways will continue to fall behind without a major injection of funds to maintain and upgrade the network.”
Ms Machin criticised the Government’s failure to invest in a year when the amount contributed by taxpayers and business in fuel excise will reach a record $16.1 billion.
“The fuel tax bonanza comes mainly from diesel, which makes the decision to provide no new funding for regional roads more bizarre,” she said.
Mr Armstrong said the NSW Farmers’ Association has serious concerns about transport inefficiencies, inputs to agriculture and delivering produce to consumers. “The lack of funding for rail branch lines to move wheat is a good example,” he said.
“We are disappointed the budget has failed to deliver meaningful investment for infrastructure in rural and regional NSW.”