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NSW complains of too much federal Pacific Highway funding



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Campaign Media Release Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

NSW COMPLAINS OF TOO MUCH FEDERAL PACIFIC HIGHWAY FUNDING

When it comes to the upgrade of the Pacific Highway, the NSW Coalition Government has been caught out complaining that we are giving them too much Federal funding.

Following our most recent Budget earlier this year, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay wrote to us saying “the Pacific Highway has received an allocation of nearly $740 million more than requested” and they would not be able to start spending this extra money until at least the second half of next year.

True to form the Liberal and National Parties have been saying one thing publicly and something completely different in private.

This latest revelation shatters what remaining credibility the NSW Coalition Government had on the issue. It also confirms they are more interested in playing political games than working with us to fix this vital road once and for all, which given the national significance of the project is truly extraordinary.

As we have said consistently, the only remaining obstacle to completing the full duplication of the Pacific Highway sooner rather than later is the refusal of the NSW Liberal and National Parties to honour the commitments they gave prior to being elected.

Despite repeatedly promising to match the amount of Federal funding dollar-for-dollar - the arrangement first put in place by their colleagues in the former Howard Government - the NSW Liberal and National Parties have to date failed to deliver their share.

And with the Federal Election fast approaching, I would urge communities living along the Pacific Highway to judge Tony Abbott and his colleagues, not on what they are saying now, but on their record when last in government.

As witnessed at a State level, the Liberal and National Parties are very good at promising big before an election then making excuses after it. The fact simple is this: if the former Howard Government - in which Tony Abbott served as a senior minister - had spent as much on this road as we are, it would today be fully duplicated.

Rebuilding the Pacific Highway is the largest, most complex road project ever undertaken in Australia, and Federal Labor has already committed $7.9 billion to the

task - almost seven times the $1.3 billion spent by our predecessors during their twelve long years in office.

Over the next twelve months, work will begin and continue along more than 165 kilometres of the Highway, with the duplication of the section between Frederickton and Eungai having kicked off only this week.

When it comes to nation building infrastructure projects like the upgrade and full duplication of the Pacific Highway, history has shown that Federal Labor always delivered more than the Liberal and National Parties.

SYDNEY 22 AUGUST 2013

Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111 www.alp.org.au Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600