22 February 2023


The FIX THE BROWN campaign is warning there will be no meaningful safety and reliability upgrade to the Brown Mountain road for up to 10 years - without urgent, unequivocal public election commitments from the major parties.

"The upcoming State election provides the opportunity at last to get real action to upgrade the unsafe and unreliable Brown Mountain road," according to FIX THE BROWN campaign co-ordinator, Jon Gaul, of Tura Beach.

"If we waste this once-in-4-years election opportunity to lock in public commitments from our political leaders, the Bega Valley and the Sapphire Coast communities could still be stuck with this sub-standard unsafe mountain pass road for another 10 years."

"The vital public election commitment needed right now from the political parties is to fund the $15m independent engineering options study to upgrade the existing Brown Mountain route, or identify the best alternative route up the mountain. That's the essential first step."

FIX THE BROWN's campaign's stark warning of up to 10-years delay results from its forensic analysis of the Draft South East & Tablelands Regional Transport Plan. The 70-page plan was put out for public comment on a Friday afternoon leading up to last Christmas by retiring NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes. Public submissions close 24 February.

Detail of any future "plans" to improve the Brown Mountain road are buried in the fine print at the back of the Draft Plan - as initiative number 41 of 49 'initiatives'. But in another section, that same so-called No.41 'initiative' is even further watered down to an 'investigation' only, with a timeframe of '5 to 10 years'.

"This Draft Plan reveals that the planners and city-centric Transport NSW managers in Sydney actually have no credible plan to fix the Brown Mountain,' said Jon Gaul.

"There is no reference to the long-established B-double truck uncoupling areas at the top and bottom of the Brown Mountain. The bureaucrats who wrote this plan don't even understand our local road conditions.

"They don't seem to understand virtually all B-double truck access to the Brown Mountain road is banned, escalating the cost of living burden for coastal communities from much higher transport, freight and fuel costs.


Just as deplorable, the Draft Plan ignores the vital significance of upgrading the Brown for our major economic activity and jobs engine on the coast - the tourism industry. The 70-page plan not surprisingly predicts the regional visitor economy across the South East is projected to expand over the next 20 years - but provides no back up projections of that growth.

The Draft Plan forecasts 'transport challenges' from increased travel demand during seasonal peaks on the Sapphire Coast beaches and waterways. But nowhere does it link these 'challenges' to upgrading the constrained Brown Mountain road to cope with increasing tourism travel to coast from Canberra, from Sydney via Canberra and from the Monaro and Riverina.


The Draft Plan highlights the impact of climate change on transport assets with coast communities having the largest exposure to disruption from more major weather events. The Draft Plan concedes that communities in the South East like the Bega Valley and Sapphire Coast rely on transport corridors across the Great Dividing Range, like the Brown Mountain, "which are often closed due to damage from natural disasters."

But instead of bringing forward plans to upgrade and weatherproof the Brown Mountain route, the Draft Plan concludes:" these closures force affected customers to make significant detours."

Mr Gaul said the Draft Plan also failed to highlight the importance of the Snowy Mountains Highway through Brown Mountain as the key east-west freight link across the Monaro accessing the two declared Special Activation Precincts (SAPs) at Jindabyne and the Wagga Wagga hub for the Inland Rail.


"Rather than proving clear future transport directions the Draft Plan merely adds extra confusion to transport priorities in south-east NSW," Mr Gaul said

"In one table in the Draft Plan 'investigation' of the 5 to 10 year timetable for safety and reliability improvements to the Brown Mountain road are "led" by Transport NSW and "supported" by the Australian Government - an identical listing in the same document as the current construction work on duplication of the Barton Highway from Canberra to Yass. That project was funded 50:50 for $100m by the NSW and Federal Government under the $5billion Federal Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) program.

"Yet there is no accompanying discussion of ROSI status for the Brown Mountain in the Draft Plan. Perhaps this listing of Federal involvement with the Brown Mountain is just a mistake, creating even more transport priorities confusion.

Mr Gaul said signing the FIX THE BROWN petition campaign was the best way for the community to show community-wide and non-partisan support to upgrade the unsafe and unreliable Brown Mountain road. The petition is online at and everyone is asked to share the petition on their social media.

Further information

Jon Gaul, co-ordinator
FIX THE BROWN campaign
Ph. 0414603133

Sign our petition to Parliament [external website].

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