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21 June 2001

Are these roads fit for your children Mr Scully?

The Carr Government has paid no heed to residents’ pleas for the urgent improvement of the Cumborah to Lightning Ridge Road, said Shadow Minister for Roads, John Turner.

"Despite a recent spate of accidents caused by the poor state of the road, cries to the Carr Government for additional funding to upgrade the road are falling on deaf ears," said Mr Turner.

"Any chance that may have existed for the problem to be rectified was recently quashed, when a meeting scheduled between the Walgett Shire Council and the Carr Government to discuss possible funding, was cancelled by Roads Minister, Carl Scully.

Mr Turner said local member Ian Slack-Smith had advised him of the road problems, and that he had received countless letters from concerned residents in the area, worried at just how serious problems with the road have become.

"Mr Slack-Smith and the citizens raised concern for the safety and well-being of local children on the school bus. The letters state that the road is atrocious at the best of times but with the onset of wet weather, it becomes completely impassable," said Mr Turner.

One schoolchild wrote to Mr Turner saying "when it rains we have to travel 150kms one way to school and we get in trouble when we’re late from the teachers".

"Recently the children witnessed a car rolling just 200 metres in front of the bus. Such scenes are not uncommon - there have been four serious accidents in the last couple of months.

"For children as young as five to have to endure such dangerous conditions on a daily basis is just not good enough.

"Letter after letter speaks of broken axles, smashed windscreens and accidents. One wonders what it is that will make the Government sit up and take notice of this dangerous road," said Mr Turner.

One resident asked, "will it take the death of a road user ... before something is done?"

"The city-centric Carr Government’s refusal to act on the Cumborah to Lightning Ridge Road is evidence of its unwillingness to maintain rural roads. The Government consistently directs the majority of its funding towards glamorous, multi-million dollar city-based projects," said Mr Turner.

"It is not good enough that the people of rural New South Wales, for whom roads are an absolute necessity, are continually ignored.

"Not only are lives at risk, but Mr Scully might do well to remember that these people are tax-paying citizens and they deserve to have their roads repaired.

"By ignoring the pleas of the local community, the Carr Government is once again showing its complete lack of regard for the people of rural New South Wales," concluded Mr Turner.

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