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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 134


Mr NEHL —Madam Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.


Madam SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr NEHL —I certainly do.


Madam SPEAKER —Please proceed.


Mr NEHL —A report that appeared in the Armidale Express newspaper on 24 November 1986, and which subsequently appeared in some other newspapers, carried a story about the Minister for Transport, the Hon. Peter Morris. It stated, in part:

A proposal by the National Party Member for Cowper, Mr Garry Nehl, to transfer Federal funds from the New England Highway to the Pacific Highway would severely disadvantage the New England region, according to the Federal Transport Minister, Mr Peter Morris.

No such proposal was ever made by me. The article continued:

Mr Morris said that a document prepared by Mr Nehl gives first priority to substituting the Pacific Highway for the New England Highway in the National Highway system.

The document I put out, entitled `The Pacific Highway-Towards 2001', does not allocate any such priority. The article continued:

Mr Morris said that this means the New England Highway would lose its National Highway classification and revert to being a State road if Mr Nehl's argument is to be heeded.

No such argument was made. The Minister has certainly misrepresented me. I would like to read out two paragraphs from the document entitled `The Pacific Highway-Towards 2001', of which every honourable member has received a copy. It presents a detailed argument for upgrading the Pacific Highway, but at no time and in no place does it indicate what the Minister says it indicates. I have always respected his veracity until now, and I am rather disappointed. I said that there were four options:

First, the Pacific Highway could be removed from the Rural Arterial Road category and made a National highway (not a likely possibility); secondly, the Federal Minister for Transport could use his powers to declare it a Development Road; thirdly, the Minister could channel additional funding by declaring it a Tourism Road; or, fourthly, it can remain in its present classification but with additional funding from both Federal and State governments.

The one relevant recommendation in this document reads as follows:

The NSW and Federal governments should make an irrevocable decision in principle that the Pacific Highway should be upgraded to a four lane, dual carriageway, divided road.

At no time did I make the claims that the Minister for Transport said I made.