Saturday, June 8, 2013
TD8's response to the Minister's response.
TD8 Action Group
A disappointing response has been delivered by Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, to a petition of 3000 signatures requesting him to reconsider the classification of the loop road leading to Ellenborough Falls (RMS signposted as “Tourist Drive 8”).
A change in classification from “Local” to “Regional” would give the two councils (GTCC and PMHC) desperately needed assistance to keep this important tourist road passable. It cannot be called a “safe” road even now, and its condition continues to steadily decline as the councils’ infrastructure backlogs grow. The classification system accepts “tourist destination of State significance” as a valid criterion for Regional Road status. Ellenborough Falls attracts visitors from all around the world.
We are disappointed this National Party Minister, and the two National Party MPs involved, did not use their powers to overturn the bad decision of the previous Labor government when it declassified Bulga Rd from Regional to Local in 1995. That previous government did not value the contribution of Ellenborough Falls to the tourism industry on the Mid North Coast. We thought this government would be different, particularly when it demonstrated the foresight to help fund Duffs and Marlee Bridges, for which we are grateful.
The two bridges are now built, and provide a good solid carriageway for 100 of the 60,000 metres that make up the loop drive. The remaining 59,900 metres must join the increasing queues as their councils’ capacities are spread ever thinner. It makes no financial sense for the State to invest in these bridges but abandon the roads they link.
We all know the funding formula for rural roads needs changing, yesterday. Rural rates alone simply cannot pay for the vast stretches of country roads which access produce, forestry and tourism for everyone, including urban dwellers. Rural roads are a State and Federal responsibility.
Until the system changes at crisis point, this petition was one great opportunity for the State to show discretion on a justifiable special case, but sadly it has failed to do so.
For further information, contact Sandra Kwa, spokesperson for TD8 Action Group.
Ph: 6553 4790 or 0409 269939