3 December 2023


Fix the Brown campaign described yesterday's serious landslip on the Brown Mountain as a condemnation of Federal and State governments contempt, inaction and delay on NSW regional roads and highways.

"They found $4billion for the 'spaghetti junction' Rozelle Interchange in Sydney, just opened amid confusion. But they can't rake up a modest $7.5m each for a $15m expert, external engineering study to work out how to fix the notorious Brown Mountain Road," said Jon Gaul, Fix the Brown Campaign Co-ordinator

The Brown Mountain section of the Snowy Mountains Highway is the vital transport artery linking the NSW Far South Coast to Canberra, Cooma and the Monaro. A 10 km long mountain pass of twists, turns and hairpins descending 1,000 metres down the escarpment.

The road is unstable, subject to frequent landslides, landslips, tree falls and rock falls. The road is unreliable, subject to regular closures and single-lane blockages.

The road is unsafe.

"Saturday's latest landslip will impact important summer tourism access to the Sapphire Coast as well as essential fuel and retail and wholesale supplies, vital health access to Canberra, education, agriculture, and friends' and relatives' visitation. "

"The road is not capable of carrying B Double truck traffic adding cost and delay to transport and affecting livelihoods and cost of living."

Brown Mountain has been subject to single-lane red light access since another serious landslip in March 2022, which Transport NSW says won't be fixed until mid-2024 - 27 months of single lane blockage and delays.

"Now commuters are faced with a second restricted traffic zone on the dangerous misty covered mountain pass", said Jon Gaul. Will this latest landslip take two and a half years to fix?

The section of road is notoriously dangerous with yesterday's incident occurring exactly where attempts at stabilisation took place in 2020. "Temporary bandaid solutions don't address public safety," said Mr Gaul.

As a result of the Fix the Brown Campaign petitions and citizen advocacy, the three local elected representatives in SE NSW: Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain; State Member for Monaro, Steve Whan; and State Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland wrote a joint letter to the NSW Roads Minister detailing Brown Mountain issues and appealing for action. That was in May. "I have not been told a reply has been received," said Mr Gaul.

In August, the local Federal Member together with Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King announced a Regional Partnerships Program to address issues in the Eden Monaro. Some three months on, nothing has been heard.

What projects are suitable? Which bodies may apply? Who, what and when? "Who's got the answers? Who's raising the questions", said Mr Gaul. The only action seemingly taken by the Federal Government has been to take away funds from road improvement and initiatives like the Jindabyne By Pass.

The Fix the Brown community campaign has been calling for governments to fund the $15m external, expert engineering study of Brown Mountain to recommend how to upgrade to a safe, reliable all-weather link, or identify a viable alternative route up the Great Divide. The campaign has also criticised inaction on the Brown Mountain issue by the NRMA.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Jon Gaul Ph. 0414603133. Email.

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