Wagga City Council could be burdened with responsibility for an additional 147 kilometres of roads if the NSW government presses ahead with a forestry privatisation plan, the state opposition claims.
NSW councils share a combined 24,197.9 kilometres of roads currently owned and maintained by Forestry Corporation's softwood plantations division, according to information released during recent Budget Estimates hearings.
Snowy Valleys Council has 7365 kilometres of Forestry Corporation-maintained roads within its boundaries and Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council has about 690 kilometres.
Opposition spokesman for natural resources Paul Scully has questioned whether a sell-off would make these roads the responsibility of local councils.
"I worry that the government will secretly shift the costs of Forestry Corporation roads on to the books of local councils, threatening their continued viability to provide essential services to their communities," he said.
Forestry Corporation's softwood division will spend an estimated $17.5 million on road construction, repair, maintenance and upgrades in 2019-20, on top of the more than $100 million spent over the last eight years, according to the released figures.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said council would be watching how the issue developed.
"We've got 2200 kilometres of roadways we look after now and half of those are bitumen and half are gravel. It takes up a fair whack of our annual budget. It's a lot of roads to look after and the condition of some of those roads is in a fairly poor state," Councillor Conkey said.
"We continually lobby for extra funding through state and federal resources. There's a huge maintenance backlog in excess of $120 million that we really need to address and we're having trouble addressing that, so if we get with some other Forestry Corporation roads, that's going to put greater pressure on our resources."
Snowy Valleys mayor James Hayes warned "it will make things more difficult than they now".
"These are very early days. I think the state government should look very closely at this sale proposal and hasten slowly," Cr Hayes said.
"The Forestry Corporation provides good dividends. Not just financial dividends. Even though they are pine trees and not indigenous species, they still help the environment. They're still a carbon sink.
"It's a sustainable product. Then, it provides significant employment. We all know that if private enterprise takes over, they always shed jobs. They'd have to present a pretty good business case for more to support it."
A spokesperson for Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW Government was assessing options for the future of the Forestry Corporation's softwood operations.
"This is not a cost-shifting exercise," the spokesperson said.
"A number of factors are being considered by the scoping study including the potential rateability of the softwood estate."