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Pacific Highway funding dispute a concern: Oakeshott
22 February 2012
PACIFIC HIGHWAY FUNDING DISPUTE A CONCERN - OAKESHOTT
THE forward works schedule released today by the federal government is welcome, but the post-election funding dispute between the Labor Party and the National Party is of serious concern, Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott said today.
“The release of a works schedule is clear proof that the 2016 deadline can be met,” he said.
“It is a welcome development in the highway’s upgrade and confirms the project’s completion now simply comes down to funding.
“Given the pre-election promises of the federal Labor Party and NSW National Party - that they would finish the Pacific Highway together by 2016 - the post-election back-peddling disguised as a funding dispute will anger North Coast communities.
“On funding, North Coast National Party MPs and the Labor Party talked the talk. There are endless quotes from both, when they were in campaign mode, saying they understood the importance of the Pacific Highway upgrade and were determined to fix it. Now, less than one year after the state election, they both look like dumping, again, on those of us who want the highway completed as soon as possible.
“Premier Barry O’Farrell and Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner stood together, pre-election, at the roadside Kempsey bus-crash memorial and gave us all the impression that they understood.
“Likewise, Prime Minister Gillard and Transport Minister Albanese have stated in Parliament, on Hansard, in this term, that 2016 would be delivered.
“Whatever the funding dispute, be it 50:50, 80:20 or something else, in this year’s Federal and State Budgets, the four-year forward estimates must show allocations to complete the job.
“The Commonwealth and the State can do this. The works schedule shows it can be done, and the importance of this project should make this a bi-partisan win, rather than the grand bi-partisan broken promise that no one wants it to be,” Mr Oakeshott said.
Media contact: Sharon Fuller - 0429 787 320