A Dungog woman has been left with a hefty repair bill after three of her tyres burst within a week while travelling on the shire’s roads.
Rebecca Potter said driving around her town was like getting around the “Wild West” by horse and cart.
“The pot hole I hit cracked my rim I have low profile tyres,” she said.
Mrs Potter will have to pay hundreds of dollars to replace her rims and switch to regular tyres.
“The thing is it's my choice to have low profile tyres, sure,” she said.
“But what about visitors that come to town or motorbike riders?
“Some chunks of rock from the pot hole could cause serious harm.
“[Residents pay] parking tickets, rates, pet registrations – but the when it comes to protecting our property and our rights things just don't seem fair.”
Dungog Shire is plagued by tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure repairs – including roads – and a funding shortfall.
Dungog Mayor Harold Johnston said the shire’s roads were a “perennial problem” that had roots in the Carr state government’s decision to hand responsibility for lesser-travelled roads back to local councils without providing funding solutions.
“We’re the only [Local Government Area] in the state without a state road,” Cr Johnston said. “This council is meant to maintain regional and main roads without the proper funding.”
On the council’s website a section titled Why are our roads so bad?, former mayor Steve Low made comments that echoed Cr Jonston’s echoed the mayor’s words.
“In Dungog Shire, most of our Regional Roads were already worn out when they were given to us,” the statement reads. “The estimated cost of rebuilding them has escalated to $65 million, and we are supposed to pay half.”
The statement said councils were not given means of funding their new roads and queried where the millions of dollars needed for maintenance were supposed to come from.
“To complete this gloomy picture, the RTA formula used to determine the amount of maintenance funding only provides Dungog Shire with about half of what is actually needed to do a proper job,” the statement said. “These arrangements are obviously unsustainable and Dungog Council has made numerous submissions and representations in this regard without success, other than receiving a few most welcome handouts.”
Cr Johnston said a $10m grant was being used to upgrade road 101, which links Dungog to Maitland and runs through the main street of the town. Work was expected to be carried out in the next financial year.