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Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Page: 6198

Mr WINDSOR (5:33 PM) —I will respond just briefly to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. I agree with some comments that the minister made earlier about priority. The Hunter to Moree railway line is one of the key priorities in New South Wales and, as the minister would be aware, 50 per cent of freight going anywhere in Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland is actually in that Hunter-Moree corridor.

One of the great things that the budget did deliver—and you mentioned it a moment ago, Minister—was part of the $1.2 billion in the December announcement. Part of that process was a $580 million upgrade of what is called the Murrurundi tunnel, or Ardglen tunnel, between the electorate of New England and the Hunter. That is probably the most significant piece of infrastructure in terms of speeding up freight—and, as I said, 50 per cent of the freight on the eastern seaboard, in a sense, is on that particular route. The question, Minister—and you may not be able to answer it here and now, but could you take it on board—is: when will that upgrade of the Murrurundi tunnel commence? When will that be starting? Could you give the answer to me on notice, Minister, because I think it is very significant, particularly given the rhetoric that the government has been using. There are two other brief issues. In conjunction with the member for Page, I would ask you to look at the Legume to Woodenbong road, a road of regional significance linking southern Queensland with the North Coast.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr AJ Schultz)—The opposition whip on a point of order?

Mr Forrest —Mr Deputy Speaker, the scheduled time for the discussion of this particular portfolio is 5.30 pm. I would ask you to move on to the next portfolio.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —Unfortunately, the chair has no control over the wishes of the whip in this particular debate.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

6199 Health and Ageing   PortfolioHealth and Ageing Portfolio

Proposed expenditure, $6,429,649,000