Getting the State of NSW to take back roads that were formerly the State's responsibility before they were handed of to local government was the focus of the Local Roads Congress 2022 on June 6.
MidCoast Council deputy mayor was appointed to the Roads and Transport Directorate to represent NSW councils by Local Government NSW at the Congress, held at NSW Parliament House.
MidCoast resident Wendy Machin, who chairs the independent panel that advises the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads on the review of regional road transfer and NSW Road Reclassification Review was also amongst the presenters.
As well as local government representation, the directorate includes representation from the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA).
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Cr Tickle's presentation included case studies from Nambucca, Bellingen, MidCoast and Dungog local government areas, and showed the length of former highway or State main roads now being maintained by those councils, as examples of how similarly affected councils are impacted in terms of financial sustainability.
He described the ethical consideration of this and called on the State government to consider the cost of ongoing maintenance of former highways where there is a realignment as part of the cost estimates in new highway construction.
In MidCoast Councils case, the estimated former highways or state roads came to 161 kilometres, plus 140kms of The Bucketts Way. Seventy-eight bridges or culverts are included in those road lengths. The estimated asset value to MidCoast Council for those assets being $557 million.
Cr Tickle pointed out that the depreciation provisioning of former State roads that have been added to council assets impacts to a significant degree the sustainability of regional councils and how this is represented in councils' financial reporting and accounting.
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Cr Tickle expressed the view that the ethical consideration of this is not being captured in the reclassification review process and where former State roads have been shifted to become the responsibility of local councils, then they ought to form a significant proportion of the 15,000kms that the State government announced would be returned to the State.
"The last round there were 378kms the State took back. MidCoast Council missed out because we've been calling out for at least the Lakes Way to be taken back," Cr Tickle said.
Cr Tickle said he was pleased with the way the presentation went, adding that both the shadow transport minister and Wendy Machin requested a copy of the presentation.
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