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Greater Taree City Council seek safer roads funded by rate increase

Greater Taree City Council.OCTOBER’S Greater Taree City Council meeting gave the green light to consult with the community about the state of their roads and the introduction of a special rate variation.
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With over 1,700km of roads in our local government areaand with a relatively low-density population base of 49,000, GTCC say that rates income is insufficient to maintain our network to an acceptable standard.

Even with a significant 40 per centof all rates income being diverted to our ailing road network, it’s simply not enough to keep up, council say.

“The health of our road network is failing, and without intervention its deterioration will soon get to a point that is unacceptable to our community,” explains Ron Posselt, general manager.

“What we’re looking at is a planned maintenance and renewal works program that will focus on delivering safer roads.It won’t mean totally new roads and bridges, but we can halt deterioration and maintain the network at a reasonable and safe standard.”

The proposal to be tabled with community during an upcoming consultation process, is a program of works dedicated to a variety of maintenance and renewal treatments that is funded through a special rate variation (SRV). A SRV of 6 per cent over a period of 6 years would provide the required $10 million per annum addition to the infrastructure budget by year six, council says.

The consultation process to take place during November is an integral part of determining whether or not a submission seeking a rate increase will be made to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

If so, the submission must be made by mid-February 2016, demonstrating the importance of the SRV to sustainability of our region, the impact of not introducing the SRV, and the level of community support.

Roads has been top priority for council over many years, with $120 million invested over the past five years.

“But the model for distributing the Federal and State government funding component is broken”, says Ron.

“Federal assistance grants are currently allocated on the basis of population density, which sees metropolitan councils with large high density population and corresponding rates income get more FAGs grants,while rural and regional councils suffer.

While we are very grateful for the increased Roads to Recovery funding over the next two years from fuel excise indexation, we would like that money to be permanently provided for local roads as a return to regional and rural communities.”

The upcoming consultation process aims to provide information about why our roads are in poor condition and what needs to be done, so that people can have an informed view and take part in meaningful discussions.

A number of initiatives, including a pop-up shop in Taree’s CBD in November, will provide the community with the opportunity to have their say.

More information is available at 老域名gtcc.nsw.gov备案老域名.

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