To assist local governments with urgent repairs, the Minns Labor Government has announced it will be spending more than $700 million in new funding to upgrade and maintain regional roads.
The new Regional Emergency Road Repair Fund (RERRF), which will be announced in next Tuesday's state budget, will deliver $390 million directly into the hands of regional and rural councils for urgent road and pothole repairs, expanding the total fund for road repairs to $670 million.
The RERRF funding will be shared across all 95 eligible regional councils and authorities, based on the total kilometres of regional and local roads they are responsible for managing.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchsion said this structure supports councils in managing their roads and prioritising works based on the needs of their communities, particularly those damaged by natural disasters.
"This begins to address the inequity of the former government's Regional and Local Roads Repair Program which saw urban councils receiving five times more funding for flood recovery compared to regional, rural and remote councils," Ms Aitchison said.
"This funding commitment will ensure the roads used by regional communities daily are efficient, safe, and reliable so people can travel around town, go to work, education and healthcare, visit their family and friends, and keep our supply chains moving.
"Not only will councils have direct access to funding to fix potholes and make necessary repairs, the delivery of one of our key election commitments will enable preventative or unplanned maintenance to be carried out to ensure safer and smoother journeys for motorists."
Maintenance work funded under the new program may include heavy road patching, reshaping and smoothing unsealed roads, carrying out work to improve drainage from the road surface, rehabilitating sections of road and resurfacing work.
The government also announced it will create a new $334 million Regional Roads Fund for councils to build new roads and roundabouts, replace or repair old bridges and improve safety at crash blackspots in rural and regional areas.