The NSW Liberals and Nationals’ commitment to upgrade regional roads and bridges would improve safety and reduce costs for consumers and exporters, the CEO of the Australian Trucking Association, Ben Maguire, said today.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, announced today that the NSW Liberals and Nationals would, if re-elected on 23 March, commit $500 million to fix local roads and $500 million to replace the worst timber bridges in regional and rural communities.

Mr Maguire said the commitment would, if implemented, improve road safety for everyone.

“The condition and design of the road network is a key safety issue. Every road project makes the roads safer, particularly when the road is upgraded to modern standards at the same time,” Mr Maguire said.

“The ATA particularly welcomes the NSW Liberals and Nationals’ commitment to fix the state’s deteriorating timber bridges.

“The poor state of these bridges often prevents trucking businesses from using longer, safer truck combinations.

“Using more productive trucks would reduce the growth in the number of trucks on the road and reduce costs for consumers and exporters.”

Mr Maguire said it was essential that the road and bridge upgrades under the program be accompanied by improved access conditions.

“As a condition of funding, councils should be required to classify their roads and bridges for an appropriately higher level of truck access, or at the very least be required to approve truck access permits in a timely way,” he said.

“It’s also essential that councils be required to consult with local trucking businesses as part of the grant process.”