Promised federal funding for roads withdrawn

GREATER Taree City Council has been informed that promises of $12.7 million in Australia Government funding for Manning Valley roads and bridges have been withdrawn.

This commitment, as well as $17.6 million in funding to Bucketts Way was made in 2011 by the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and previous local member Robert Oakeshott.

Council had progressed through the required funding stages with the Commonwealth as agreed. Affected by this decision is the construction of the Dickensen and Dyers Crossing Bridges, Old Bar, Manning Point and Gloucester Roads.

Given the importance of this matter and the major impact such a decision has on our region, Greater Taree City councillors and senior staff met this morning to discuss the advice received and decide options for proceeding with conversations with the Federal government.

"We would like to continue discussions to ensure the promised and critically needed roads funding will survive," mayor Paul Hogan said.

It is understood that the $17.6m BuckettsWay upgrade, being managed by Gloucester Shire Council, is also affected by this decision to cut funding to the Community Infrastructure Grants program.

"We are, however, buoyed by a conversation between Gloucester's general manager and our local member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie, in which Dr Gillespie confirmed the government's intention to fund the Bucketts Way from an alternative source," Cr Hogan said.

Council's general manager, Gerard José , echoed the words of the mayor and councillors when he said that "the news from Gloucester Shire is heartening. It is clear Dr Gillespie takes seriously his role of supporting this community and this is demonstrated in his commitment to ensure funding of the Bucketts Way upgrade. We have had very productive working relationships with the previous federal members, who worked hard for funds to enable local government to deliver essential infrastructure improvements and we know that Mr Gillespie feels similarly about this community"

"It is often regional communities and their councils that are most affected by such decisions. We look forward to meeting with Dr Gillespie to discuss the critical impact this decision would have on our community so that when he heads to Canberra he is fully informed," the mayor, Cr Hogan said.

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