Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce has led a high level delegation in Canberra this week to discuss the urgent need for the upgrading of the Mt Lindesay Road between Legume and Woodenbong.
Mr Joyce, together with representatives from local, state and federal government, regional business and other community stakeholders met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss to put forward the case for Federal Government funding for this project.
The meeting heard the Mt Lindesay Road is considered by many as the worst sealed road in Australia and over the years has been the site of numerous accidents.
Joining with Mr Joyce and Deputy Prime Minister Truss at the meeting were Nationals Senator John Williams, Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, Member for Maranoa, Bruce Scott, NSW Member for Lismore Thomas George, Mayors and General Managers representing Tenterfield, Richmond Valley and Kyogle councils as well as representatives of the Downs to Rivers Action Committee and the transport industry.
Following his inspection of the Mount Lindesay Road last year, Mr Joyce has thrown his full support behind community calls for the road to be upgraded as a matter of urgency.
Mr Joyce said the road, which had previously been a State Highway, presented serious safety concerns to the many vehicles which use the route each day including school buses and semi-trailers which must divert onto the unsealed shoulders of the road when passing each other with very little room to spare.
“Clearly action needs to be taken to upgrade this section of the road which forms part of an important East-West transport corridor between Casino and Warwick,” Mr Joyce said.
The meeting heard that while some $30 million would be required to undertake the works, the potential economic returns by improving the road could be up to $300 million over 30 years with major increases in the transportation of raw product, pigs, cattle and grain as well as the enormous tourism opportunities the upgrading would provide across the local region.
“Unfortunately, the mismanagement of the previous Labor Government has meant the Coalition has inherited a very difficult financial position, however we need to look at all possible funding options available through programs such as Roads to Recovery and other possible Federal, State and Local Government funding arrangements to ensure this much need project is undertaken,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce thanked Deputy Prime Minister Truss for listening to the concerns raised at the meeting and commended everyone in attendance for their strong commitment to this project.
“It’s great to see the representatives of the Local, State and Federal Government regions affected by the condition of Mt Lindesay Road all on the same page with this issue,” Mr Joyce said.
“I have spoken frequently about the importance of this development to the New England community.”
“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Deputy Prime Minister Truss and those attending the meeting to progress this project as soon as possible.”