Tuesday, 04 July 2023

The Albanese Government is now threatening thousands more local projects by taking aim at a raft of longstanding local road programs.

In disturbing revelations in Senate Estimates, the Roads to Recovery program, Bridges Renewal Program, Black Spot Program and the Heavy Vehicle Safety & Productivity Program are all now at risk of being axed under Labor's 90-day infrastructure pipeline review.

These programs are designed to help reduce vehicle accidents, eliminate dangerous sections of roads and supplement councils’ road funding.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator Bridget McKenzie said local councils across regional Australia are now being thrown into uncertainty with flow-on effects to local contractors, businesses and communities.

“This has all the hallmarks of a scorched earth policy against all councils’ highly regarded road programs,” Senator McKenzie said.

“By including these programs in the infrastructure review, the Labor Government is signalling a complete rethink on Commonwealth road funding to local councils.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said these programs have a strong legacy and have made roads in the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury safer for decades.

“Programs like the road safety Black Spot Program and Roads to Recovery provide critical funding that have given road users in the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury and their families greater peace of mind for decades,” Senator Payne said.

“Vital works conducted on roads under these programs such as Sir Henrys Parade in Faulconbridge, Leura Mall in Leura, Tennyson Road in Tennyson or Tizzana Road in Ebenezer have allowed residents in Macquarie to get home to their families safer and sooner.”

“Our local councils depend on this funding to upgrade and maintain our local roads, intersections and highways.

“If Labor’s review scraps Roads to Recovery, the Blue Mountains City Council and the Hawkesbury City Council will be forced to increase rates on families to maintain its commitment to fixing local roads.

“These programs support local priorities in regional communities to fund much needed upgrades for tens of thousands of kilometres of roads and have never been at risk under previous Labor governments.

“This Budget has been a litany of disasters for Macquarie and confirms that regional communities like ours are indeed in the middle of a two year funding drought thanks to the Albanese Government.”


Fast Facts:


  • The road safety Black Spot Program has been fixing dangerous sections of road continuously since 1996-97 under the Howard Government,
  • Roads to Recovery has been essential in upgrading local roads since 2001
  • Bridges Renewal Program has addressed first mile challenges since 2015-16.