Williams highlights road problems
Friday, 6th May, 2011
The poor condition of the Silver City Highway and its impact on Tibooburra residents and graziers was brought to parliament’s attention this week.
Local MP John Williams used his first speech as a member of the NSW Coalition Government to highlight the hardships faced by locals in having the road unsealed.
“It is of utmost importance to western NSW and the State generally that the Government ensures this road is completely sealed,” the Member for Murray-Darling said in a Private Member’s Statement.
“Over the years progressive efforts have been undertaken to have this road sealed. To date, only two-thirds is sealed.
“The recent change of season, which has seen severe dust storms and heavy rains to the region, has highlighted the fragile state of the highway as it has resulted in numerous road closures.”
Mr Williams said the Tibooburra and Western Division graziers, who relied on an all-access road, had suffered from continued road closures.
He said tourists could not enter the region, resulting in a large decline in passing traffic, and graziers could not get their stock to market.
“Tibooburra businesses rely heavily on tourists and other visitors to the region for survival, but road closures mean no tourists can enter the region,” Mr Williams said.
“Graziers cannot always move their stock in and out of the area and the conduct of Tibooburra’s businesses is often compromised when fuel and other vital services are affected by the condition of the Highway.”
He said on a recent trip along the highway with Upper House Member Rick Colless locals told them of their plight.
“Dan and Kathy Toole of the Toole’s Family Hotel (told us that) the 2010 season saw a significant loss of $100,000 incurred due to tour companies cancelling their bookings because of the rain and not being able to get to us,” Mr Williams said.
“Fenn and Cheryl Miller, owners of the Cameron Corner Store ... suffered a significant downturn, going from approximately 40-50,000 vehicles between March and October 2009, to approximately 7,000 vehicles for the same period in 2010.
“Vicki Jackson of Corner Country Store said just prior to Christmas 2010 we had to close our business doors because of the lack of tourist trade. We were not taking enough money on a daily basis to sustain the cost of overheads, re-stock or pay any accounts.”