Dubbo Regional Council needs at least $9.8 million to maintain local roads to a safe and satisfactory standard.
That’s according to the NRMA’s latest Funding Local Roads report.
The NRMA said the funding backlog, which is the gap between what council spends and what it earmarks as necessary in order to keep the roads to safe standards, has reduced by 6.7 per cent to $9.8 million in 2016-17.
It was $10.6 million in 2015-16 and $ 6.7 million in 2014-15.
A spokesperson at Dubbo Regional Council said the cost of road maintenance and construction is continually rising above the capacity of councils to keep up with these increases.
“An increased volumes of heavy vehicles utilising council’s roads is causing roads to deteriorate at a faster rate, requiring more funds to manage the road network,” the spokesperson said.
“The state government provides funds to council for some roads, which are key linkages between the council area and the state highway network.”
The spokesperson said council staff are preparing an overall roads strategy based on its Transport Asset Management Plan.
“It will identify in more detail the various road maintenance and renewal programs, as well as upgrading and enhancement projects across the road network, all aimed at ensuring an appropriate level of service to all road users across the council area.”
Like Dubbo, most councils in the Central West are falling short of funds.
The NRMA said Bathurst, Orange and Mid-Western councils had the biggest infrastructure backlogs at $51.7 million, $26.9 million and $24.4 million respectively.
They were followed by Blayney ($11.1m), Narromine ($5.3m), Forbes ($3.8m), Parkes ($3m) and Cowra ($1.1m) councils in the region.
“We know that there are councils which are struggling with revenue streams and it is very difficult for them to find the funding they need to maintain the backlog,” Mr Khoury said.
“The other reason could be the large geographic area, which means councils have a large road network to maintain.”
Of the total $2.2 billion funding shortfall in the state, $1.7 billion alone belonged to regional councils. This is because 80 per cent of the 84,859 kilometre road network across NSW is managed by local councils.
“The money they [councils] receive is not enough,” he said.
“We recommend that councils should get more money from the Snowy Hydro Legacy and Regional Growth funds.
“The Federal Government can reserve between two and five cents per litre of the fuel excise for local roads and also the NSW Government should re-categorise strategic roads across regional areas to state roads.”
Mr Khoury said re-categorising roads will open more revenue sources for the maintenance of these roads.