The NSW Labor party is urging the the National Party to release the NSW Government report into its rural roads reclassification plan before polling begins in the Upper Hunter byelection.
Labor is also seeking a guarantee from the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government that its election commitment to transfer 15,000 kilometres of rural and regional roads to the State will not disadvantage Councils or cost jobs in the Upper Hunter.
Shadow Minister for Rural Roads Mick Veitch and Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren met Councillors from the Singleton and Muswellbrook Local Government Areas to discuss their concerns. Mr Veitch said the Government has ignored road maintenance in the Upper Hunter and left local Councils in the dark about the reclassification plan.
"This area has some of the worst roads in the State, especially in Dungog. This region pumps billions into the NSW economy and the people of the Upper Hunter deserve to know if they are getting their fair share before they go to the polls," Mr Veitch said.
"This Priority Report from the Independent Panel is sitting on the Minister's desk and is vital to the economic future of these Councils. The Government must release it before polling day."
Labor also wants the Government to reveal which roads will be transferred first and make sure Hunter roads are prioritised.
"Dungog is the only NSW council without a road maintained by the State. This means it's most exposed to job losses and could be financially crippled by this plan if it isn't done right," Mr Veitch said.
Mr Warren added "Labor has been calling on the Government to guarantee local jobs will not be put at risk. We have asked the Minister to give this guarantee many times, and each time he has refused."
Councils rely on contracts to maintain roads and jobs. Dungog Shire Council in the Upper Hunter region is responsible for all the local roads.
Labor is concerned Councils will lose their grants through the roads transfer process, which could cost jobs and financially cripple local governments in the Upper Hunter.
Mr Warren said the Government should prioritise thousands of Council workers who maintain the roads, instead of outsourcing to contractors.
"The election promise to transfer 15,000 kilometres of roads to the State was meant to ease financial pressure on Councils - not put local jobs and Council funding at risk."
"This means those Council workers have no protection or job security going forward. It's disgraceful. The people of the Upper Hunter deserve to know the truth." "
We have always said no Council should be worse off under this exercise. The Government must immediately sit down with Mayors and Councillors to chart a course where no Council will be worse off."
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