Council declares road emergency

Published on 15 November 2022

Road Closed sign in flood

Kempsey Shire Council unanimously voted to join Local Government NSW and Country Mayors Association of NSW in declaring a state-wide road emergency on Tuesday.

Speaking to at the ordinary meeting of Council on Tuesday morning, Mayor Leo Hauville said “We need help. Our community needs help. Other regional and rural communities across the state and beyond need help. We desperately need our leaders to lead.”

“Our road network, and the road network of shires across the state, have disastrous damage. We are facing a task that is beyond the reasonable scope of any local government authority.”

The motion, which came in response to the unprecedented flooding, called for an acceleration and significant increase in funding from the New South Wales Government and a boost to existing and new funding from the Federal Government.

The declaration – and urgent call for the NSW and Federal governments to increase their existing road funding commitments in the wake of the floods – comes on the back of an estimated $2.5 billion in road damages state-wide and a collapse of the local and regional road network.

A total of 126 of 128 New South Wales local government areas have had natural disaster declarations within the last 12 months.

The mayor said that Kempsey has faced an unprecedented and unrelenting series of natural disasters that has seen residents and business owners cleaning up again and again, people isolated, workers unable to get to work, and students unable to get to training or school.

“We are all aware Kempsey Shire has been hit by a seemingly relentless wave of heavy rain and flood events in the past two years,” said Cr Hauville.

“Add to this our very real and immediate concern for our primary producers. This latest rain event has hit at a critical time. Winter crops are ready to be harvested and the window for planting summer crops only lasts a matter of weeks. Livestock are ready to go to sale.

“The local and regional road network is critically enabling infrastructure. It is vital to our primary producers, and the key to keeping affordable food on the table across New South Wales and beyond.”

The Mayor will now write to the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP, Premier of New South Wales, pleading for immediate action.

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