Rangari Road resident Glenys McDonald says the decision by Narrabri Shire Council not to back an upgrade of the dirt road shows it doesn't "care about people's lives".
"It just shows to ratepayers that they don't count, that people's lives aren't worth anything so long as you pay your rates," she told ACM.
"There's miners going back and forwards all the time, family men and women, and the road's bloody dangerous."
But a spokesperson for Narrabri council says the upgrade doesn't make financial sense for the region.
Putting black top on the road would "provide a return of 38 cents in every dollar invested," the spokesperson said.
According to the council, sealing the road would "not generate additional economic benefits for the region", and that regular maintenance grading is enough for the care of the road.
The spokesperson said that the council currently provides four maintenance grades each financial year, and maintenance of the sealed portion of the road is also undertaken on a regular basis, with tar patchers working the area approximately two to three days each month.
"Two detailed reports have been completed in the past on any benefits of a major upgrade of Rangari Road. Both reports have indicated a major upgrade does not stack up."
The spokesperson said evidence gained for a report shows the region's mining industries would not benefit from an upgrade of the road. Mining operators had told council the same thing, the spokesperson said.
The debate follows an announcement by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson last week that the state government would spend $9 million to seal the Tamworth and Gunnedah council sections of Rangari Road.
But the council spokesperson said it prioritised the most heavily-used roads to fix up, which did not include Rangari Road.
"According to extensive research, the road use frequency of Rangari Road compared to that of other unsealed roads in the Narrabri shire still does not stack up to warrant the unsealed portion of the road being made a priority over those that are more heavily used," the spokesperson said.
"The report also identified that a major upgrade ... would provide some economic benefits for Tamworth local government area, with these benefits being realised through economic losses to both the Narrabri shire and Gunnedah shire local economies."
Ms McDonald said it would be beneficial at least to fix the gullies and 'S' bends on the road.
The council spokesperson said the council did fix one 'S' bend in 2018: the Barney Springs Creek bridge.
"This project cost in excess of $350,000 and involved the realignment of 1.2km of the road and removal of the existing timber bridge," they said.
"The timber bridge was located on an 'S' bend requiring motorists to make 90 degree turns to traverse the bridge. Rather than replacing the bridge with a concrete structure on its original alignment, a decision was made to realign the road and provide a safer outcome for the community."