Thursday, 24th March, 2011
By Gayle Hogan
Pastoralists were suffering because of rain-damaged and inaccessible roads, an organisation representing them in the western division said.
The Pastoralists Association of West Darling (PAWD) President, Sue Andrews, said many station owners were left stranded following heavy rain.
"Mainly because the roads are in such a bad state of disrepair," Mrs Andrews said.
She said it was time main roads like the Tibooburra and Pooncarie roads were fully bitumised.
"It's a disgrace really. It's wrong that they don't do it."
Mrs Andrews welcomed an election promise by local MP John Williams to pursue funding to fix some of the roads in the region, but wanted to see the expected time frame to do so reduced.
Reliable roads were needed by pastoralists in case of a medical emergency, to travel to buy supplies and to get their stock to market, Mrs Andrews said.
Many had been mustering and getting their stock onto trucks for market only to have the trucks unable to reach the rain-damaged roads.
"It creates a lot of work," Mrs Andrews said.
She said property owners on the river were among the worst affected.
Despite all this, she said rain was still better than dust.
"I assure you, anything is better than a drought," Mrs Andrews said.
"At least they're getting a good price for their stock at the market."
Mr Williams and Nationals Whip Rick Colless toured the Cobb Highway (Wilcannia to Ivanhoe) and Silver City Highway (Broken Hill to Tibooburra) earlier this month.
They promised to present a strong submission to Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner in an attempt to gain a commitment from Infrastructure NSW which had $5 billion of new money, with $1.6 billion hypothecated to regional NSW if the Coalition was elected.
At the time, Mr Williams said towns like Tibooburra, which had been isolated due to rain-damaged roads, were hurting.
"All businesses are suffering," Mr Williams said of the Tibooburra township.
"We've seen stock transport virtually non-existent at a time when stock prices are at their highest.
"I think the immediate issue is to ensure the completion of a bitumised road through to Tibooburra."
The unusually wet weather was also blamed for the cricket and mouse plague which has caused grief across the city, was responsible for the cancellation of
Saturday's horse races and it seemed the recent downpours had damaged a number of homes.
President of the local Master Builders Association, John Franklyn, said there were many reasons the rain had caused some ceilings to collapse.
Aged roofs, faulty workmanship, loose nails and debris blocking gutters and downpipes could be to blame, Mr Franklyn said.
"If they fail then they don't comply with Australian standards," he said.
"People need to ensure contractors are licenced and appropriately insured and cleaning gutters and debris and unblocking downpipes should be an annual event in every household."
Mr Franklyn also suggested people with vermin in their roofs seek the help of professional pest controllers as mice were damaging cables and urinating in the ceilings.
A total of 396.6mm has fallen this year, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).
The mean annual rainfall for the city is 256.2 mm, it said.
The wettest day this year was March 9 when 64.2mm fell.