Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our State MP's Response

Andrew Stoner, Member for Oxley, visited Elands Store on Friday 7 May and spoke with a group of local residents, including Sandra Kwa from TD8. They continued a discussion about the potential eligibility of Marlee and Duffs Bridges for State assistance under any future Timber Bridges Replacement Programs, given that Bulga Road was previously a Regional Road, and the most recent RTA Review Panel recognised local councils' need for financial assistance for bridges on declassified roads.

In an email dated Monday 10 May, Mr Stoner has promptly confirmed his position on funding for the two bridges, and his support for Tourist Drive 8 generally.

In my opinion, there is a precedent for the NSW Government to use the Timber Bridge Replacement Program for roads which were a State responsibility prior to reclassification.

In my view this should apply to TD8 - in other words in my opinion it is the responsibility of the State Government to fund 50% of the cost of replacing Marlee and Duffs Bridges.

That said, David Gillespie is pursuing a Federal contribution, given that the TD8 is an important tourist route for regional economic development.

Should the Federal Government agree, it would be an equal one-third contribution between local, state and federal governments.

Kind regards

Andrew Stoner MP
Member for Oxley

Should the Coalition win the election next March, and should he retain his seat, it is quite likely that Andrew Stoner would become the next State Minister for Roads and Transport.

The four TD8 members who met with the present Labor Minister, David Campbell, saw first-hand his disinterest in our predicament. At least Andrew Stoner is from this region, knows the people, drives the roads - this is his habitat too, so surely he would be a more empathetic minister than the city-based one we have now?

Realistically, Oxley is a safe Nationals seat, so the votes of our small community here won't change the course of the next NSW parliament. However, Mr Stoner laments that Elands is the one booth he can't seem to win, and an historic turn-around next March, at this booth, would send out a message of protest against our treatment by the current minister.

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