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Building bridges can be challenging, come at a cost and do require considerable planning to ensure the right outcome. Bridges are integral to the community and the economy. When bridges fail, the impacts can be catastrophic and detrimental.

Not only is the Wanbanumba bridge an important structure to our region from an economic point of view, but also important for community connectedness and safety. Council insisted swift action to remedy a by-pass to enable safe passage until engineers are able to build a bridge with structural integrity and built for purpose. However, the by-pass is tenuous and a serious downpour may literally wipe out the temporary access.

Representations to State Government for funding support has been made by Council. The Hilltops Council is represented by two electorates, the Cootamundra electorate and the Goulburn electorate which is sometimes overlooked, although both members represent different parties they both represent government, the Hilltops Council and you.

The Mayor was recently advised by the Member for Cootamundra that Council’s application for bridge funding has been unsuccessful. In light of this unbelievable decision, further representations have been made with the Member for Goulburn to highlight the impact not only to her electorate and constituents but more importantly to the region. It would be easy for her to dismiss my concerns because the bridge is not in her electorate but refreshingly her response was beyond boundaries and regionally focussed.

The urgency to ensure this important piece of infrastructure on a regional arterial road cannot be understated and requires immediate action. Could this be a prime piece of infrastructure that fits the Restart NSW fund, it appears there is about 9.5 billion thus far unallocated as of June 2018 for regional NSW. We cannot risk failure of the by-pass, it is too important to our region.

As Council continues to assess infrastructure across our region, the impact of renewal is sobering and how it is addressed will require a carefully managed and comprehensive program going forward. A partnership with all levels of government will be paramount to achieve the outcomes required.

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