Oberon wants non-rateable land election commitment honoured

MAYOR Kathy Sajowitz says Oberon has an election commitment from the NSW Nationals to help ease the burden of non-rateable land, but the devil, as always, will be in the detail.

Cr Sajowitz provided an update on the matter in the business paper for Oberon Council's most recent meeting.

According to Cr Sajowitz, 47 per cent of the Oberon local government area (LGA) is unrateable, predominantly due to it being a Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) asset, national park or crown land.

"As a timber town, forestry is essential to ensure the future economic security and growth of Oberon," Cr Sajowitz's report said.

"With the acquisition of private plantations by FCNSW over the years, many of which are located in pockets around the LGA and are serviced by local roads originally constructed to benefit farm vehicles, not log trucks, the impact and cost on infrastructure during and after harvesting operations is substantial.

"As a consequence, the impact of heavy haulage on local and regional roads is an unfair burden on Oberon ratepayers who expend funds to ensure the infrastructure meets standards."

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A working party of 13 NSW councils affected by the problem was formed to lobby the NSW Government for a solution.

Cr Sajowitz said she received a letter from Deputy Premier John Barilaro in February "outlining a National Party election commitment to address the issue".

Cr Sajowitz said Mr Barilaro said the NSW Nationals would spend an extra $1 billion to fix local roads and bridges in NSW and would reclaim up to 15,000 kilometres of local roads as regional roads to take the costs from councils.

Included in the $1 billion funding commitment, a special category of priority roads affected by forestry will be established, according to Cr Sajowitz.

With the NSW Coalition retaining government, Cr Sajowitz said the "devil will be in the detail" of the commitment.

She said it is unclear if councils will revert to the previous situation once the funding runs out or if the funding will be revoked under a change of government.