With the NSW election only weeks away, candidates across the political spectrum have been making many promises to improve the state's transport links and keep people connected with school, work and other essential services.
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We asked some of the candidates running for the seat of Dubbo five questions to gauge their vision for the next term of government.
Labor's candidate for Dubbo Josh Black said he thinks the public transport options in the Dubbo electorate are insufficient for the needs of the region's growing communities.
He said - if elected into government - the Labor party would be committed to "assessing" the community's transport needs to see what can be done to improve public transport options both within towns and between towns.
"Public transport options are fairly limited, especially services between towns, after 12 years of this government," he said.
"A NSW Labor Government will establish an industry taskforce to assess the findings and recommendations of the NSW Legislative Council's Transport Committee and work to improve bus services for passengers right across NSW."
"If elected I'll be looking at how an airport bus service could be made to work with flight times and existing operators. There may be an opportunity for a government-subsidised new operator to offer this service."
Mr Black pointed to the Town-Link service which links Dubbo to Narromine and Wellington as a "good starting point" which could be made even better. He would also like to see more connections between Dubbo and Mudgee and beyond to Bathurst.
"A group from Mudgee has contacted me with a proposal to re-establish a passenger rail link between Dubbo-Mudgee-Bathurst for access to the Bathurst Bullet. So, right across the electorate people are keen to see public transport strengthened and expanded," he said.
"I would like to see what opportunities there are for connecting by bus from Dubbo to the Bathurst Bullet, so that people can access the electric train at Lithgow at various times of the day."
Asked about what he thinks of the electorate's public transport links, incumbent Nationals member Dugald Saunders said his government "has a proven track record in building a strong economy and investing in the infrastructure that matters to keep our state moving forward".
He pointed to the government's promise to deliver an extra 58 services in Dubbo as an example of the work they're doing to improve public transport in the area.
"This is being rolled out under our '16 Regional Cities Services Improvement Program'. It is anticipated that Dubbo will be ready for a complete Go-Live of improved bus services in mid-2023," he said.
"We are also investing in real-time tracking on bus services so passengers spend less time waiting at the bus stop and more time at their destination. Further, we're trialling contactless payments starting in Bathurst and Dubbo."
As well as public transport, both candidates have said local roads and highways will be high on their agenda.
Mr Black said the NSW Labor party would commit $1.1 billion to capital upgrades on roads across the state over the next three years should they form government.
He said his party's focus on regional roads was in contrast to the government's "obsession" with spending on tunnels in Sydney.
"The last 12 years have seen a major decline in the condition of our highways. Better maintenance is required, along with improving the road network for the future traffic loads," said Mr Black.
"One thing I'll continue to advocate for is a Newell Highway Heavy Vehicle Bypass for Dubbo. Everyone knows that the River Street Bridge is in the wrong position to get the trucks out of residential West Dubbo, or to ease daily local traffic congestion."
"Everyone else seems to be able to get a bypass, except for Dubbo. That needs to change."
Mr Saunders said a re-elected coalition government would also invest a further further $1 billion to upgrade the roads across regional NSW.
He said the New Dubbo Bridge project - which ground has just been broken on - was a good example of the government's commitment to improving road transport in the Dubbo electorate.
"Major work is now underway to lay the foundations for the New Dubbo Bridge across the Macquarie River," he said.
"The Australian and New South Wales governments have jointly funded the New Dubbo Bridge project, which forms part of more than $1 billion in upgrades along the Newell Highway."
"It will improve traffic efficiency, reduce congestion for locals, visitors and the freight industry, and improve access across the Macquarie River floodplain during extreme weather events."
The state election is set to be held on March 25. Kate Richardson - who is running for the seat of Dubbo for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party - did not provide responses in time for publication.
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