Byron Shire to share in $312 million roads funding boost

Published on 22 April 2022

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Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon, has welcomed the news of the Australian and NSW Governments’ $312 million Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package saying it will have long-lasting benefits for communities in the Byron Shire.

Mayor Lyon this week met the NSW Minister for Regional Roads and Transport, Sam Farraway, and other Mayors and Members of Parliament in Lismore, to hear details of the funding package and to discuss the way forward in relation to the repair and rebuilding of roads and infrastructure in the Northern Rivers.

“This joint funding from the Australian and NSW Governments will go a long way to ensuring our roads and bridges are not just rebuilt, but they will be to a standard that will better withstand future floods,” Mayor Lyon said.

“The term people use for this is ‘betterment’ – which in the context of a natural disaster is the process of building a damaged road or bridge back better than its original condition prior to the event,” he said.

“This is about building resilience into our road network which is a very encouraging development, it is something European countries do very well, spending money on prevention, rather than recovery. 

“Traditionally, the State Government would only fund the restoration of an asset, leaving the cost of any identified improvements which could mitigate damage in a future event to Council.

“Given Council’s usually stretched financial situation, these improvements rarely, if ever, got funded.

“We have been lobbying for years for the idea of betterment to be funded as part of the recovery from a natural disaster, because it makes sense and it saves dollars in the long run as well as minimising disruption caused by these events,” Mayor Lyon said.

“The meeting with Minister Farraway, NSW Transport officials, local Members of Parliament, Mayors and General Managers was most valuable as we talked through how we can most effectively respond to the enormous rebuilding challenge before us and ensure that we have a coordinated, regional approach, given we are all competing in some way for the same resources. 

“Minister Farraway has visited the region several times since the first flood and it has been impressive to know he listened to our concerns around betterment, the need for it and then to effectively lobby on behalf of our region and come up with a result for our community.

“It sets a good precedent for the future and our ability to be resilient in the face of the expected increased frequency of natural disasters.

“Simon Richardson, our previous Mayor, was very good at recognising the desire in other people to do good things, irrespective of their political flag and he was able to obtain funding for our area through this approach.

“I intend to seek to emulate this approach with the intention being to secure as much funding as possible for the benefit of our residents and businesses.

“The recovery in the Byron Shire, and in the Northern Rivers, is going to be a long, slow process, and it’s going to test everyone.

“This sort of financial package takes some of the pressure off and for this I am very thankful,” Mayor Lyon said.

For media interviews contact Michael Lyon, Byron Shire Mayor, on 0435 646 365.

 

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