1 May 2020

Local council jobs secured by NSW government; Goulburn Road safety upgrades start

| Dominic Giannini
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The Big Merino at Goulburn.

Local council jobs – including those in Goulburn Mulwaree – have been safeguarded by a new NSW Government package that assists workers not eligible for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program. Photo: Visit NSW.

A suite of safety upgrades along Goulburn Road, as part of the NSW Government’s Safer Roads Program, is helping to kickstart a COVID-19-crippled local economy through regional infrastructure projects.

The 800m stretch of improvements will widen road shoulders and mark new lines to make it safer for motorists to travel between Goulburn and Crookwell, a town 40km northwest of the regional hub.

“This will improve safety along two curves of the road where six crashes have been recorded between 2012 and 2017, one of them fatal,” said Wendy Tuckerman, NSW state member for Goulburn.

“Improvements will include shoulder widening, installing a widened centreline, and line marking to alert motorists through noise and vibration if they’re straying from their lane.

“Roadside safety barriers will also be installed to protect road users from runoff road crashes on these curves, as well as improved signage and drainage.”

The Safer Roads Program is an $822 million, five-year partnership between Transport for NSW divisions and local councils to install and upgrade safety measures along existing NSW roads.

More than 200 projects have been funded for the next financial year – totalling $260 million – as part of the program, which is being seconded as an economy-booster through local infrastructure projects for COVID-19- impacted communities.

Council jobs, services and infrastructure delivery in and around Goulburn have also been underwritten by the NSW Government under its new council stimulus package which has set aside almost $400 million to keep council staff in a job.

Council workers who are not covered by the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program will be eligible for a state-funded Council Job Retention Allowance of $1500 per fortnight – equal to the JobKeeper subsidy – if their employment is impacted by COVID-19.

More than $110 million has been set aside for the retention allowance.

Ms Tuckerman said staff from the Hilltops, Upper Lachlan, Yass Valley, Goulburn Mulwaree and Wingecarribee shire councils can all access the program.

“Our local councils are a critical part of the local economy, and it has been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

“Qualifying staff at our councils will now be able to access the allowance, which will not only safeguard valuable local jobs but ensure council staff with a wide range of skills are retained to continue to serve our community.”

NSW Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the comprehensive COVID-19 stimulus package will safeguard council jobs, boost service and infrastructure delivery, and trigger economic recovery in local communities across the state.

Work along Goulburn Road will be carried out between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays until at least the end of June.

Single-lane closures and a reduced speed limit of 40km/h will apply during work hours, and a reduced speed limit of 80km/h will be in place at all other times for the safety of motorists.

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