There was a recent report published by NRMA that may have led to some misleading assumptions about Upper Lachlan Shire roads.
It is worth recognising that the NRMA does diligent work in trying to draw attention and funding towards the state's roads, and that is much appreciated, however in determining their "poorest road conditions by Local Government Area (LGA)", they have used a questionable measurement.
First the report generates a formula for the cost to an LGA for crashes and fatalities, then it divides that number by the population of the LGA. It doesn't apply any qualitative assessment of the roads, or analyse the amount of traffic on those roads.
The same report compares ULSC data to three neighbouring LGAs - Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley and Wingecarribee. It is worth noting that, in that comparison, ULSC recorded the lowest number of crashes, the lowest number of fatalities and the lowest cost impact of the four LGAs.
That is even more significant when you consider ULSC covers more than twice the area of Wingecarribee and Goulburn Mulwaree, almost twice as much as Yass Valley and contains 2,100km of roads.
The Upper Lachlan Shire, which also has by far the largest road network of the four, obviously doesn't just serve locals. Providing access to Oberon, Bathurst, Orange, Wyangala and further west, and in the other direction, to Sydney, Canberra and the South Coast, our roads are used heavily by visitors and so a measurement simply divides cost to the LGA by ratepayers is missing a lot of relevant information.
We have much work to do. With our small number of ratepayers it is always a challenge to maintain our large network of roads and we have been very fortunate and very reliant on the funding provided by state and federal government.
Events coming back
It was very pleasing to see a couple of outdoor community events take place on the weekend, both drawing good crowds.
The return of the Taralga Show was a boost to the township, both economically and in terms of morale. It brought residents out of their homes and visitors to the town, generated business for the community and marked some semblance of a return to normality.
In Crookwell, the Celebrate our Streets gathering was also well-attended. It was great seeing communities able to come together again. Both events took appropriate COVID precautions, and we as a community will continue to do that, but when safe opportunities for coming together present themselves, let's take them.
Crookwell Potato Festival
Speaking of events and coming together, the Crookwell Potato Festival is also returning this year, albeit in a different format.
Running from April 3 to 19, events will include a golf tournament, open air movie night, kids fun day out, Crookwell Potato Festival art show, Potato Day, Mad Spud Day Out, Lunch in the Library and a lot of other activities.
For further details, look up the Crookwell Potato festival on Facebook or see the story on the last edition of the ULSC bulletin.
- John Stafford is Upper Lachlan Shire Council mayor.