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Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Page: 12440

Mrs IRWIN (7:55 PM) —This evening I want to say a few words about the community of Warragamba-Silverdale and surrounds. It is a small, very close knit community, and as in most small communities the people of this western area within my electorate are vocal on those issues which impact their day-to-day lives. Issues like transport, roads, health and education are extremely important to these local communities. For a number of years now, the people in Warragamba-Silverdale and surrounds have been very vocal on the issue of local roads. In particular, the issue of Silverdale Road has been the centre of vocal protest and continues to be at the top of the agenda in this community. The problem arises because this road is a major access point to this community and is used by locals to travel between the townships and as access from outside the locality to Warragamba Dam. In recent times this road has fallen into disrepair. As it is classified as a local road in the road hierarchy, it falls to Wollondilly Shire Council to meet the cost of maintenance and repair, a burden that this council cannot meet alone.

This year the Rudd government announced a package of funding of $543,240 to the Wollondilly Shire Council for roads under the Roads to Recovery program. In addition, there is $400,000 for pavement and road surface improvements to improve skid under black spot funding for Silverdale Road, Farnsworth Avenue and Nortons Basin Road in Warragamba. But, as council plans to make improvements to this road through this federal government contribution and its own funds, the future of Silverdale Road as a safe thoroughfare is not assured. A serious long-term capital injection for this road is required, and this can only come through changes to the road classification from local road to at least collector road status or higher by the New South Wales government. This will ensure a continuing New South Wales state government contribution for the road.

This is a narrow and dangerous road where a minor accident can result in lengthy road closures. Speed, wet weather, fatigue and lack of concentration significantly increase the likelihood and severity of accidents. Fatalities do occur on this road. Locals are forced to use alternative routes during road closures, which can often add an hour or more to travel time. Recently the community instituted a community alert system which, in the event of an emergency such as a fire, involves a message being sent—for a small subscription cost—to home, work and mobile numbers or email, alerting members of the community to that emergency. It was first used on 14 October this year following a very serious accident on Silverdale Road, which was closed for several hours.

I have recently met with representatives of Wollondilly Shire Council in my office. The former mayor and the general manager briefed me on this and other issues across the shire. Silverdale Road was at the top of their list of concerns. As the council prepares for the opening of the information centre and for making the area once again a family-friendly destination, the influx of visitors unfamiliar with the area and these roads will only add to the problem. Locals fear more accidents, more injuries and more deaths. They have been lobbying for several years on this issue of the road classification, and no decision has yet been made.

My office last week called the office of the New South Wales Minister for Roads for an urgent update regarding this very issue. Sadly, I still have not received a response. The people of Warragamba and Silverdale in the west of my electorate should not have to wait longer for a decision to be made. There is no longer room for procrastination on this issue. I fully support the local community in their concerns. I urge the New South Wales Minister for Roads to ensure that the users of Silverdale Road, the motoring public and pedestrians, are protected by determining this issue without further delay. I urge the New South Wales Minister for Roads to change the classification of Silverdale Road so that the New South Wales government accepts its responsibilities in the rehabilitation of this very important road.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke)—Order! It being 8 pm, the debate is interrupted.