Roads can be a cause of angst for many of us and I can understand why. They are a fundamental part of life in rural and regional Australia, most of us travel them in some form or another every day. But how much do we know about where the funding for new builds, repair, upgrade and general maintenance of this critically important public infrastructure comes from?
Each level of government - local, state and federal - is responsible for particular roads in the New England.
At one level, the federal Government provides pre-determined base level funding under its Roads to Recovery Program to every Local Government Area (LGA) in the country.
Accordingly, Tamworth as the largest LGA in New England, receives the most under this program with total funding for the current 2019-20 to 2023-24 allocation valued at $15.9 million.
Unbeknown to many of us, council is quietly going about the repair of many of our region's roads with the help of this funding. Some either complete, underway or in planning include Oakhampton Road near Split Rock Dam, Watsons Creek Road, Niangala-Weabonga Road, Kaytoun Road at Attunga, Wimborne Road at Manilla, Warminster Road at Somerton, Barry Road at Hanging Rock and Moys Lane at Rushes Creek to name but a few.
Major road projects are also front of mind in funding considerations and the recently completed Jewry Street Bridge duplication a leading example. This $3.5 million project was fully funded by the Federal Government and is now easing congesting in the north of the city.
Federally funded black spots on the Werris Creek Road have also received almost $1 million for improvements in recent years with the latest 2019-20 funding round delivering $470,000 to upgrade a section south of Woodlands Road at Currabubula.
Still on black spots, we also delivered $800,000 under that program to improve safety at the intersection of Moore Creek Road and Browns Lane. Moore Creek is becoming busier by the day so the work undertaken there will be vital for our future growth of Tamworth and surrounds.
That leads us to one of the next big infrastructure projects coming up for Tamworth and its expansion.
As the city grows, so too will local industry and our transport hubs. That's why our government is investing $4.53 million in a new five-leg roundabout on the Oxley Highway at New Winton Road and Country Road, Westdale.
The near $10 million road project will link to a new industrial precinct and streamline access to the increasingly popular Tamworth Regional Airport.
It is all helping to connect a corridor of commerce through the heart of our electorate, linking capital cities to our north and south via the New England Highway, as well as between agricultural producing areas in the west across to the coast in the east of the state.
Barnaby Joyce is the federal Member for New England