Former NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay is petitioning the NSW Government to maintain a 110km/h speed limit on the Newell Highway.
The NSW Member of the Legislative Council says he wants to pre-empt any future discussion about reducing the speed limit, which he believes may be considered with the rise in the state road toll.
Mr Gay’s stance has been welcomed by Finley transport operator John McNaught, who was among the locals to protest a reduction to 100km/h in the region administered by the former NSW Labor Government.
It was overturned — in most parts — in 2011 when the Coalition was returned to power.
Mr McNaught, who owns and operates McNaught Transport in Finley, maintains that lower speed limits on the highway jeopardise transport efficiency but more importantly safety on the road.
‘‘I’ll be signing the petition; there’s no reason to make the Newell a 100km/h limit,’’ Mr McNaught said.
‘‘The highway is heavily populated with road trains, and reducing the speed limit will only increase the risk of accidents.
‘‘Cars are being built with better technology, stability and breaking so they can assist motorists with driving along the road safely.’’
Finley Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture secretary Sue Hill said while a speed limit reduction on the highway where it becomes Murray St and passes through the Finley CBD is being investigated for safety reasons, she said she sees no reason why a reduction should be considered for the open highway.
‘‘From Tocumwal to Finley it’s 100km/h, but we petitioned Roads and Maritime Services with help from the council to increase the speed limit to 110km/h.
‘‘It was lost but along that road there is no overtaking lanes and because it’s quite a winding road we were happy to concede the limit remain at 100km/h.
‘‘The problem with reducing the speed limit is not a speed issue, the problem is driver fatigue.
‘‘Drivers are more aware when they are travelling at 110km/h rather than 100km/h.’’
Berrigan Shire Mayor Matt Hannan said provided the roads are in good working condition, the speed limit should be inconsequential.
‘‘There’s only a small stretch of the highway, but in my view as long as the roads are safe and well maintained then I think 100km/h or 110km/h is fine,’’ Cr Hannan said.
Mr Gay distributed petition forms through a letterbox drop recently. Residents are asked to fill them out and return them to Parliament House in Sydney.