In Regional

Victor P Taffa

For how much longer must Queanbeyan and the surrounding district accept a substandard delivery of service from our State Government?

On a recent trip to Southern New South Wales I experienced firsthand just how bad the roads and railway lines are. Roads such as the Monaro and Kings Highways are too narrow and so heavily overused as to make these corridors dangerous to the travelling public. The Southern Railway line from Sydney is inadequate and does not have electrification.

Upon leaving Sydney I passed through Goulburn and continued onto Queanbeyan. Once upon a time these roads in and out of Queanbeyan could handle the traffic but because our railways have not been upgraded too much traffic is forced onto the roads.

As my destination was Cooma to stay with my Aunt I kept going and found that despite resurfacing works the Monaro Highway to Cooma is totally inadequate to handle the volume of traffic that it does.

About 2 years ago my cousin Metree Taffa and his family were almost killed on the Monaro Highway at Royalla. The accident was so bad the road surface burned. They were lucky to survive.

While in Cooma I talked to the locals and the reason for the poor condition and width of the roads in and out of Queanbeyan is because the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) conducts traffic counts in the quietest part of the year. Why wouldn’t a professional organisation such as the RTA conduct traffic counts 4 times per year, once per season?

Traffic flows vary according to the season and if counts were conducted once in every season then road funding could be increased and justified on a far more relevant basis.

Locals in Cooma also remark that to obtain many services travel to Queanbeyan and Canberra is a necessity and particularly during the Ski seasons the Monaro Highway is not up to scratch.

Having stayed in Cooma I came back through Queanbeyan and proceeded along the Kings Highway to Braidwood and Batemans Bay. The cart track to Batemans Bay that leaves Queanbeyan is a disgrace. This is called the Kings Highway.

What are the solutions?

The debated By-Pass for Queanbeyan needs to occur. The Monaro Highway between Queanbeyan and Cooma should be a 6 lane divided Highway. The Railway line to Queanbeyan should diverge and continue to Braidwood and Batemans Bay.

Proceeding in the other direction from Queanbeyan the railway should continue to Cooma, Bombala, Eden and join with the Illawarra line. The Southern Railway line to Canberra should be extended to Albury.

When many say that there is ‘no money’ for these vital pieces of infrastructure I would say Why not?

The residents of Queanbeyan might think that people in Sydney receive the ‘lion’s share’ of funding and that we live in paradise. The truth is the problems in Sydney are exacerbated by planning policies that suggest that everyone lives on the tiniest square inch of land that is left lying around.

As the old saying goes ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ is irrelevant because New South Wales is broke and will take a lot to fix it.

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