Speech: NSW Roads

Speech: NSW Roads Main Image

Mrs PHILLIPS (Gilmore) (17:46): I'm pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this motion today and to talk about the importance of improved roads and reliable transport for local communities. In rural and regional areas like those in my electorate, this is even more so, given the great distances local people have to travel to reach school, work or medical appointments or to visit family and friends.

In my electorate, the train line ends at Bomaderry and bus transport is extremely limited, so good-quality roads become twice as important—important for car travel but also important for the only public transport option. Local and state roads provide critical connections for local people, businesses, schools and primary producers who use the roads every day to go about their lives. Farming and tourism are two of our biggest industries, and we are proud of them, but both can impact substantially on the state of the roads. Our arterial road, the Princes Highway, is the key connecter for our communities to each other and the rest of New South Wales. It brings in feed for our cattle and transports our exports to their national and international markets. It takes our kids to school, and many people use it every day to travel to work. But the highway can also be dangerous, and our community has been waiting a long time for some of the hotspots to be fixed.

Since I had the absolute honour of being elected member for Gilmore, I have been working with the community to call on the government to bring forward the funding it committed at the election to fix the highway faster. Last week I told the House about the success of this campaign, as the government has announced it will bring forward $145 million in funding for the highway, including the Milton-Ulladulla bypass. This is long-awaited infrastructure that will make a significant impact on the lives of our community and our visitors. I want to see the funding brought forward as soon as possible, and I will continue working with the government and the community in a positive manner until we see this bypass built.

Christmas is fast approaching. It is a time when many in our community feel nervous about being on our roads. People worry about the increase in traffic and congestion, but they also worry about the increase in accidents, injuries and worse—an all too common occurrence. The bypass is not the only project that is desperately needed in our community to address this issue, and I would like to touch on a few others.

The Jervis Bay Road intersection is another project where the community and I have been working together in an effort to secure funding. This intersection is regularly raised with me by local people as being in need of serious and urgent upgrade. This is a notorious and dangerous intersection that has, sadly, claimed too many lives and continues to be a constant source of frustration for locals. The problem only increases in peak times like the school holidays, when tourists naturally flock to the beauty of Jervis Bay. Local group Vincentia Matters have been working tirelessly on this campaign, and I will continue to support them on this. The Princes Highway duplication is another essential project that will improve travel times, reduce congestion and improve safety on this road.

The cost of fixing roads can be quite high in areas as large as the Shoalhaven. The Shoalhaven City Council have over 1,700 kilometres of council serviced roads to maintain, and support from the Australian government is critical to their ability to keep these roads safe. I'm absolutely committed to making sure that our roads are receiving funding and attention from governments at all levels. The Black Spot Program is essential in ensuring local governments have the resources to undertake these necessary repairs and safety upgrades. I will continue to support the projects of the Kiama, Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla councils under this program. I encourage them to continue working with me to fix our local roads.

Again, I say that I'm absolutely thrilled that the government has started listening to the communities of the New South Wales South Coast and will bring forward funding for the Milton-Ulladulla bypass, but the job is not over. Much more needs to be done to make sure that local people are safe on our roads. I promise the community that I will not stop. I will keep working productively with all levels of government to pursue these important road upgrades. I will keep fighting to make sure that our roads are safe.