Councils, business chambers and a leading regional organisation have partnered to push for better transport links between the Central West and Sydney.
The Central NSW Councils (Centroc), Western NSW Business Chamber and Regional Development Central West have teamed up for the Hands Up campaign.
They are encouraging businesses and organisations to join them in their push for better roads than the existing Bells Line of Road and Great Western Highway.
Centroc chairman and Lachlan Shire mayor John Medcalf said the state government had made an election promise in 2015 to secure a corridor to join Kurrajong with the M7 motorway but he was concerned it wasn’t going to happen.
‘’Our state and federal representatives are supportive of the better transport links, and we are meeting with both the Roads Minister and Minister in the next few weeks,” Cr Medcalf said.
“The Draft Future Transport 2056 Strategy, which was developed without any consultation in this region, has no solutions for our region, not even securing the corridor between the M7 and Kurrajong.
“Securing the corridor is an election commitment of this state government.”
Freight from western NSW is currently restricted by the quality of both roads over the Blue Mountains, while other regions can easily transport goods via the Pacific Highway and the Hume Highway.
Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager Vicki Seccombe said an improved road would bring the region into line with other areas.
“Addressing the current inefficiencies in transporting goods over the Blue Mountains will assist the Central West region to grow and prosper,” Ms Seccombe said.
“The region is home to approximately 19,300 businesses, many of which are in agricultural, retail and manufacturing sectors, which are highly dependent on transport networks.
“Assisting these businesses through greater efficiencies will allow these sectors to reach new and expanded markets, employ more people and strengthen the economy.”
Acting chairman of RDA Central West and Orange mayor Reg Kidd said the existing roads no longer cut it.
“We are still driving over bridges on the Great Western Highway that were built 180 years ago,” Cr Kidd said.
“While a testament to those great engineers, we need to get freight in High Mass Vehicles over the mountains to port and have a safe swift link by road for car travel. The current roads just don’t cut it.
“Strategic work carried out by RDA Central West shows that 80 per cent of the region’s freight goes through Lithgow. We have also done some work on linkages into Inland Rail which will be a game changer for this region.”
Cr Medcalf asked businesses and community organisations interested in joining the campaign to contact Centroc’s Forbes office on 68502323.
“We are talking to Western Sydney councils about their potential involvement and running a Social media MEME and Fake news facebook competition, with prize money of $1000 up for grabs,” Cr Medcalf said.