Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland addresses the media after NSW Labor Leader committed to $9 million to repair bridges in the local council area.
Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland addresses the media after NSW Labor Leader committed to $9 million to repair bridges in the local council area. Contributed

$9 million promise to deliver new bridges for Kyogle

UPDATE 3.40pm: NATIONALS candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin is calling on the NSW Labor to double its pledge of $9 million to repair bridges in Kyogle.

Earlier today, Opposition Leader Michael Daley announced NSW Labor will match the $9 million promised by Federal Labor, if they win the March 23 election.

But Mr Curtin said NSW Labor have missed the mark on vital bridge funding for Kyogle because Kyogle has already been made a priority region for the NSW National's $500 million commitment to fix and replace regional bridges.

"Labor's announcement simply doesn't go far enough," Mr Curtin said.

"This last minute cash splash is nothing more than a bribe and doesn't go far enough to address the roads and bridges backlog in the Kyogle Shire.
"The NSW Nationals have already announced a $500 million fixing country bridges package and a $500 million fixing local roads package, on top of transferring 15,000km of the regional road network to state government responsibility.

"NSW Labor need to team up with federal Labor because they aren't willing to spend the state's money on a smaller community, they simply don't think Kyogle warrants a large investment from the state.

"The NSW Nationals package funds the entire bridge replacement so councils like Kyogle don't have to pass the burden onto ratepayers, unlike NSW Labor's announcement.

"The commitment made by the NSW Nationals is not dependent on waiting to see who the federal government is, we manage the budget properly which means we don't need the feds help."

Mr Curtin called on NSW Labor to commit to the full $18 million regardless of the outcome of the federal election.

ORIGINAL STORY: KYOGLE drivers might soon be seeing better bridge infrastructure across the region, following the promise by NSW Labor to provide $9 million to replace and upgrade bridges in the Kyogle Council area.

Opposition Leader Michael Daley made the announcement on Thursday that if Labor wins the March 23 election, his government will match a $9 million commitment by Federal Labor to help the Kyogle Council bridge renewal program.

Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland said the combined Federal and NSW Labor commitment of $18 million would assist council in repairing at least 100 of the 147 bridges in need of repair across the council area.

"Everyone knows we've got a large bridge maintenance backlog," Cr Mulholland said.

"There's 147 bridges that need to be replaced and may of those are in poor or very poor conditions, which mean they're load limited restricting people bringing their cattle to market and any heavy vehicles can't cross those bridges.

"This funding announcement means that maintenance gap will essentially be addressed."

If the funding is delivered, Cr Mulholland said council will need to match the $18 million promised and she will be asking council to consider applying for low or no interest government loans to cover the costs.

"We'll have to have those discussions with our council, there will probably be borrowing of money involved," she said.

The Nationals recently announced they will establish a $500 million to repair country roads and another $500 million to fix country bridges, if elected next week.

While Cr Mulholland welcomed the National's promise, she said Labor's commitment would provide direct funding to Kyogle.

"This promise is directly to Kyogle council," Cr Mulholland said.

"If the Nationals win, we've still got an opportunity to dip into that bucket but we'll be competing with other larger councils."

Mr Daley said providing bridges to regional areas "must be a top priority" for government.

"The people of the Northern Rivers region have every right to safe bridges," he said.