Focus to remain on Great Western Highway

Transport Minister Paul Toole told Centroc councillors the focus on the Great Western Highway will continue.
Transport Minister Paul Toole told Centroc councillors the focus on the Great Western Highway will continue.

Weddin Shire mayor Mark Liebich has described the most recent Centroc Board meeting as "very constructive" involving multiple ministers, good news regarding the proposed increased to the Emergency Services Levy and funding for the Great Western Highway.

"What was unusual about this meeting was we usually mix business with when ministers speak," Cr Liebich said.

"This time we didn't try to jam business in between when the minister's spoke.

"This actually worked really well, we had minister after minister coming to speak, talking about things happening around the state.

Cr Liebich said there was good news around the Emergency Services Levy following reports of councils facing up to 25 per cent increases in the levy.

"Apparently the levy is going to be waived this year, it was a lot of money for a lot of councils and nobody actually had it in their budget.

"It was going to make a lot of difference to a lot of councils.

"At the moment there are no perimeters around what they are going to do, so the government really needs to get all those things sorted out before they put the cost on to councils.

"Moving forward, next year we're going to have to be mindful (of the charge) when we are doing the budget," he said.

Weddin General manager described the change as "great news" but added "we haven't been formally advised of it".

Minister Paul Toole, Cr Liebich said, advised local mayors that the focus on improvements to the Great Western Highway would continue.

"Is that instead of the Bell's Line of Road", Cr Liebich was asked.

"There is still money available for Bells Line but the fastest route will be the Great Western Highway," he said.

"Apparently plans are being done at the moment for a second route from Lithgow through to Katoomba.

"It's going to be great for the west of the state.

"Everybody knows there are great roads in (to Sydney) from the north and great roads from the south, but a huge block from this side," he told this month's council meeting.