Northwest and Western Sydney Mayors campaign for pothole repairs fund
Published on 23 November 2022
Pictured: Hawkesbury Mayor Sarah McMahon with Hornsby Mayor Philip Ruddock and Hills Shire Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi pictured at Thompson Square in Windsor.
Mayors across Western Sydney and Northwest Sydney have united to campaign for the establishment of a metropolitan road repairs fund to help support Sydney councils with the extent of damage across their respective road networks.
Mayors from The Hills Shire, Hawkesbury and Hornsby and others who are supporting the cause, including Wollondilly, Penrith and Campbelltown have called for funding from the State and Federal Governments after many Local Government Areas (LGA) experienced record-breaking rain and multiple flooding disasters over a three-year period.
The joint campaign comes after Local Government NSW declared a ‘Statewide Roads Emergency’ at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hobart. The declaration, that was supported by NSW mayors, urged the State and Federal Governments to increase funding commitments to help local councils repair their road network before the situation becomes even more dire.
The NSW Government has already announced it will provide $50 million under the Fixing Local Roads Pothole Repair Program to regional and rural councils to address their highest priority pothole requests.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Peter Gangemi said Sydney councils, especially those with large rural or semi-rural areas, are in desperate need of a similar fund to assist with repairs to return roads to a standard residents’ have been calling for.
“Just like rural regions, The Hills Shire has also been affected by persistent wet weather systems. On top of this, residents have endured several major flooding disasters in the last few years and our roads are deteriorating much quicker than our modelling could have predicted under a third consecutive La Nina. Despite about two-thirds of our Shire being considered rural, it is hard to understand why we are still not eligible to apply for this funding,” Mayor Gangemi said.
“In addition to the record rain, we are seeing more requests for pothole and road repairs than ever before. In 2019, Council received 1680 calls to fix potholes and carryout road patching work. This has now grown to 5086 requests in 2022 – and we still have just under two months to go.
“What we are calling for is greater support for councils across NSW, so that we can fix our roads that our community expects and deserves,” Mayor Gangemi added.
Mayor of Hawkesbury City Council, Sarah McMahon said since the July flood, Council has filled 9,400 potholes. In the past three years, $1.07 million has been spent repairing potholes, with another $1 million to be spent this year. This is on top of the $240 million in flood related repairs and other routine upgrades and maintenance that is currently being managed.
“After six floods in three years, roads in the Hawkesbury and right across Sydney are in dire need of coordinated and well-funded assistance from the government,” she said.
“Our thoughts are with the LGAs and residents out west as they battle their own current flood crisis, but back here in Sydney we have councils that have been struggling for more than two years now to manage crumbling road networks, and flood evacuation routes that are not fit for purpose.
“Without assistance to recover and future-proof these networks, millions of motorists will continue to be put at risk every day,” Mayor McMahon added.
Mayor of Hornsby Shire Council, Philip Ruddock said the recent weather events have been unprecedented and resulted in significant damage to roads across the Shire, particularly in the rural areas.
“Hornsby Shire Council endeavours to be as responsive as possible to report of potholes and is proactive in its work. Our focus has been to make the roads safe for our residents,” Mayor Ruddock said.
“While we have repaired thousands of potholes, this is just a band-aid solution and significant money needs to be spent on addressing major road failures.
“Hornsby Shire Council has a budget of $3.2 million in the current financial year for road restoration and maintenance and we anticipate this will be fully expended by Christmas. It is estimated that we will need a further $3-5 million to address road failures resulting from this year’s weather events.
"Hornsby Shire Council has made numerous representations to the State Government seeking funding for flood and rain damage, including damage to our local roads.
“I am pleased to join with Hills Shire Mayor, Dr Peter Gangemi, and other fellow Sydney Mayors in seeking assistance to repair our rain damaged roads,” Mayor Ruddock added.
Mayor of Penrith City Council, Tricia Hitchen echoed similar sentiments.
“Roads around the Penrith LGA have been damaged by the spate of floods we’ve experienced, particularly over the past 18 months, and with a wet summer predicted it is important that we act fast – but we require additional funding to achieve this,” Cr Hitchin said.
“Penrith’s footprint has a mix of urban and rural areas, and we must give residents in every part of our City equitable access to quality roads, to ensure the safety of all community members and visitors.”
Mayor of Campbelltown City Council, George Greiss said Council had filled in 5839 potholes this year, growing from 2398 throughout the entirety of 2021.
“The severe wet weather experienced throughout the year has had a devastating impact on some of our busiest roads and continues to place significant strain on our maintenance program,” Cr Greiss said.
“We’re calling on the NSW Government to provide urgent assistance and funding to ensure we can service our community to the standards they deserve,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Wollondilly, Matt Gould said councils needed State Government assistance to get NSW roads repaired following the damage caused by the wettest year on record.
“Wollondilly roads have been battered throughout 2022 with five separate storm events causing major flood damage right across the Shire. We currently have an estimated $140 million damage backlog to get through,” Mayor Gould said.
“Wollondilly is the southern gateway to regional NSW and is relied on as the major connection from Sydney to Goulburn, Canberra and the Illawarra. In light of this, we are calling on the State Government to urgently give us access to funding to get these potholes fixed,” he added.