Business chamber backs FIX IT NOW campaign

A fatal crash on the Princes Highway earlier this year.
A fatal crash on the Princes Highway earlier this year.

The business community is calling for major safety upgrades to the Princes Highway to not only save lives, but improve industry in the region. 

The Milton Ulladulla Business Chamber has thrown its support behind a campaign urging all levels of government to commit to a funding formula to upgrade the Princes Highway south of Nowra. 

The FIX IT NOW campaign, launched by Fairfax Media in March, calls on the state and federal governments to commit to an 80/20 funding formula to complete major safety upgrades to the road. 

Chamber president Robert Richards said the organisation “strongly supports” upgrades to the highway, saying they are “well overdue”. 

“As a regional centre with no other transport links, the Princes Highway is the only means of accessing our area,” Mr Richards said. 

“Tourism and related services are our predominant industry on the South Coast, making the Princes Highway essential to maintain our connection with outlying metro centres like Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra and beyond.” 

Mr Richards said the highway was the “lifeblood” of the south coast’s economy. He said any delays on the road impacted “heavily” on local businesses. 

“Businesses have already experienced downturn following recent tragic events and it is essential that we turn that perception around with swift action that will save lives and support industry,” Mr Richards said. 

With statistics predicting the Shoalhaven’s popularity and population are set to grow, Mr Richards said a highway upgrade was “vital”. 

“With the push to move away from metro areas, the South Coast is experiencing unprecedented growth which is negatively impacted all roads,” he said. 

“It is vital that the Princes Highway is upgraded to better cope with not only current demand and safety concerns, but also to allow for future increasing demand. 

“The chamber believes the highway upgrade is vital and any improvements will save lives and benefit business immensely.”

Mr Richards said the chamber encouraged all levels of government to make the Princes Highway upgrade their “highest priority” and deliver improvements “as soon as possible”. 

In June, the NSW Government announced a $10 million spend on resurfacing the highway between Tomerong and Batemans Bay and installing a roundabout, roadside barriers, alignment upgrades, improved lighting and audio-tactile line markings. 

The state government’s funding will address accident prone areas of the highway where eight people lost their lives between December 2017 and June 2018.