$50 million for councils to fix NSW roads

THE second round of the NSW Government's Fixing Country Roads funding is open with a further $50 million available to councils to help repair council owned roads and bridges.

Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay said the NSW Government is committed to helping councils fix freight pinch points that are costing local industries, businesses and ratepayers every day of the week.

"Fixing Country Roads provides targeted funding for infrastructure projects on council owned roads which will remove freight connectivity constraints and is 'on top of' record levels of grant funding to councils since 2011," Mr Gay said.

"The aim is to better connect local and regional roads to state highways and key freight hubs like grain silos, saleyards, rail heads, supermarket distribution centres and depots to get products from paddock to port more efficiently.

"Improved freight means a reduction in transport costs for local industries and businesses resulting in cheaper products at market for ratepayers, it also means less 'wear and tear' on council owned roads.

"Round One has been a huge success with more than $43 million in funding provided to 77 local road projects across 60 local council areas, the majority of which are due to be completed this financial year."

Mr Gay encouraged councils to get their funding applications in and make the most of the assistance available, including grant writing workshops as well leveraging other funding initiatives.

"Councils have six weeks to get a one-two page Expression of Interest (EOI) in, which will be followed by a more detailed funding application for shortlisted applicants," Mr Gay said.

"We want to ensure every council has equal opportunity to access Fixing Country Roads funds and we have our guys on the ground holding grant writing workshops as well as providing one-on-one assistance to councils.

"More than fifteen grant writing workshops have already been held across the state with more than 200 council staff attending, we have another eight planned for November alone.

"We also want councils to think about all options available to them and leverage funding from other programs such as the Federal Government's Bridges Renewal Programme, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme and National Stronger Regions Fund.

"By partnering together in Round One, the NSW Government and local councils turned more than $43 million into $73 million worth of infrastructure improvements for the state - we want to see the same if not better for Round Two."

The Fixing Country Roads EOI phase closes on December 11 and shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a more detailed application.

Successful projects are expected to be awarded funding at the end of March 2016 for delivery in the 2016/17 financial year.

The Infrastructure NSW Regional Independent Assessment Panel, which includes representatives from Local Government NSW, Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association of NSW, NSW Farmers Association, and the NRMA will assess project applications.

For information on the Fixing Country Roads funding criteria, program guidelines, key dates and information on how to submit an Expression of Interest online, visit www.freight.transport.nsw.gov.au.

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