BRAIDWOOD TIMES: Braidwood benefits from NSW budget

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Braidwood benefits from NSW State budget

Braidwood Times – Elspeth Kernebone 21 June 2017

When John Barilaro’s office called Julia Gibb on Monday to tee her up for some exciting news it marked the end of 10 years spent trying to improve conditions on the Nerriga Road.

Sure enough, Tuesday’s state budget included $70 million for roads in the Queanbeyan Palerang region, $38 million for new projects.

Part of this money will be used to fully seal the road between Charleyong and Braidwood.

Of this, $2 million was designated for the Charleyong bridge.

“It’s really really exciting news” says Ms Gibb. Improvements to the road will not only improve the lives of people who live between Braidwood and Nerriga, but will open up new possibilities for Braidwood itself, she says.

“It opens up so many opportunities for the town” says Ms Gibb.

“What warms my heart is that it isn’t just about the Nerriga road, it actually opens up so much for the town.”

She believes the road could change how tourists travel between Nowra and the north and Canberra, and may draw even more tourism to Braidwood.

In addition to this, constant grading and maintenance on the road sucked funds which could have been better used for other projects in the community, says Ms Gibb.

Member for Monaro John Barilaro also welcomed the investment in the region’s roads.

“Nerriga Road is an important yet unfinished link in our regions road network that has been overlooked by successive Governments for years,” said Mr Barilaro.

“The tourism and business benefits an upgrade of this road would bring to the region cannot be overstated.”

In May Mr Barilaro pulled the unique move of petitioning an agency within his own government, when he began a petition in May to the RMS seeking to demonstrate community support for funding for the road.

QPRC Administrator Tim Overall expressed his pleasure at the news in a statement on Tuesday.

“When Queanbeyan and Palerang were merged, the need for funding for our road network was immediately apparent. I have been lobbying the state and federal governments for further funding and am extremely pleased to see that Nerriga Road and Old Cooma Road in particular have received significant funding in this year’s state budget,” said Mr Overall.

Roads and schools were the two big wins for Monaro in this year’s state budget. Braidwood Central School welcomed the news that it would be receiving funds from the $4.2 billion invested in the state’s schools over the next four years.

Mr Barilaro welcomed the spend in Monaro, saying roads spending would bring benefits to tourism and business in the region.

“No matter where you live, you deserve to be safe on the road,” Mr Barilaro.

“There is also nothing worse for a local economy than roads that are not up to the task, that’s why we are committed to improving our local road network.”

In addition to works on the Nerriga Road, the fund will be used for the Ellerton Drive Extension, improvements in Bungendore at the intersection of Molonglo and Malbon Street and an upgrade to Lanyon and Tompsitt drive in Queanbeyan.

Back in Braidwood, Ms Gibb is just excited for the future of the community with funding secured for the road.

Her son, now 11, has grown up travelling the road twice a day for school.

She is pleased that the road will improve safety for kids, locals and tourists.

“We are looking forward to being able to travel on a safer road” says Ms Gibb.

“We won’t know ourselves”