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Coalition's roads plan not an 'us' or 'them' proposition



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Coalition's roads plan not an 'us' or 'them' proposition

4th March 2013

JULIA Gillard's Western Sydney stunt is already dividing Australians, with her pledge to strip vital funding away from the Pacific Highway to the WestConnex project creating a clear divide between metropolitan winners and regional losers.

"Apparently, under Labor, NSW can't have both projects," Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss said today.

"Firstly, Labor's WestConnex commitment cannot be taken seriously. The Prime Minister is sort of offering $1 billion or so, but on condition that the NSW Government pay the bill for the rest of the $5 to $8 billion of add-ons included in the project. It is not a serious offer and does not

make sense.

"But the Prime Minister is also making infrastructure an 'us' or 'them' situation, preferring a cynical city-centric pork barrel catch-up to try to shore up Labor's so-called heartland but abandoning communities from Sydney to the Queensland border in the process.

"Labor's destructive approach isn't necessary. There is a better way. The Coalition has already announced our funding commitment to fund the Commonwealth's share of both projects.

"In June last year Tony Abbott committed a Coalition government to providing $1.5 billion for the WestConnex project.

"In September I announced a guaranteed $5.64 billion to finally finish the duplication of the Pacific Highway all the way to the Queensland border, transferring over $2 billion from the deferred Epping-Parramatta rail line project.

"We will not reduce vital infrastructure across the country to an either/or proposition. We will not pit regional Australians against metropolitan Australians or, indeed, NSW communities against each other.

"According to media reports this morning, Julia Gillard may syphon the $2 billion from the Pacific Highway and funnel it into Western Sydney roads instead.

"While many have come to expect this type of betrayal and sleight of hand from the Prime Minister, where are Robert Oakeshott, Janelle Saffin and Justine Elliot in defending their turf, especially when there is no need to rob the NSW north coast to fund WestConnex in Sydney?

"Labor is playing shifty politics. A Coalition government will fund the projects that need funding. That means funding and completing both the Pacific Highway and WestConnex."

LENDS]

Media Contact: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6277 4482 or 0467 650 020 or brett.heffernanPaoh.gov.au