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Wednesday, 11 November 1998
Page: 184

Mr LLOYD (7:48 PM) —Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment. I am sure that you will show great authority and fairness in your role as Speaker. I would also like to make mention of this special Remembrance Day, which is the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I. It is a very special day, not only for veterans of all wars but for everyone in the Australian community. I was very pleased to see the number of people, particularly young people, who took part in Remembrance Day ceremonies today or who just paused for a minute at 11 a.m. to remember those veterans, because without the sacrifices that veterans have made in all wars in Australia this parliament may not be in existence. The freedom that we have may not be part of Australian history now, and I certainly may not have had the opportunity to be elected as the member for Robertson.

It is a great thrill, a great honour and a very humbling experience to be re-elected as a member of this great parliament. There is a lot of excitement when you are first elected to this House, and a lot of bewilderment in some ways. To be re-elected by the people of your community, who are saying that they believe in the job that you are doing, and to be part of a government that they believe is doing the right thing for this country is a very humbling experience. For my part, it has reinforced my determination to do what I can to highlight the needs and concerns of my electorate of Robertson on the Central Coast of New South Wales. I believe it is one of the lucky areas of Australia. It is one of the areas that is growing rapidly, that has increasing exports and decreasing unemployment, and that can benefit very much from the government's policies in the next three years. So it has reinforced my determination to continue that work in Robertson.

Another thing that I want to raise tonight is my concern about the delays of the New South Wales state government in implementing the electronic signage on the F3, which is the major freeway running from northern Sydney through my electorate to Newcastle. In the 1997-98 budget the federal government allocated $1.5 million, with a further $3.5 million to be earmarked in the forward estimates for the establishment of state-of-the-art electronic signage systems. The state government are matching that funding, but to date they have not proceeded as quickly as I would have liked with the implementation of those electronic signage systems, which will warn drivers, save lives and help decrease delays on the freeway by enabling drivers to take alternative routes or to be warned of stoppages.

Even the member for The Entrance, Grant McBride, the parliamentary secretary, admitted that my complaints were justified and that the RTA had not moved quickly enough to get the project started. He now says that they are moving swiftly to implement the project. I do not believe it is a coincidence that nothing happened prior to the federal election. They have had over 12 months to start moving on this system, which is drastically needed. Not one thing seems to have been done prior to the federal election. Immediately after the federal election there seems to have been some rapid action. I do not believe it is a coincidence that there happens to be a New South Wales state election coming up next March. I am quite concerned that the state Labor government seems to have been dragging the chain on implementing this.

I will be pleased to see, no matter what the delays have been, that this system is implemented as quickly as possible because the F3 freeway is one of the most heavily trafficked roads anywhere in Australia. Much of my electorate commutes to Sydney daily for work and it has now got to the stage where there are extensive delays, particularly on a Friday evening with the commuter traffic coupled with the weekend exodus from Sydney causing delays which, in turn, cause minor nose-to-tail accidents that then cause very long delays. With the implementation of this electronic signage system, many of those minor accidents could be avoided by warning drivers that delays are ahead and also giving them the opportunity to take the old Pacific Highway—the road that I helped open back in 1995. (Time expired)