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Pacific Highway duplication.



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PRIME MINISTER

PACIFIC HIGHWAY DUPLICATION

I am pleased to announce the Australian Government’s commitment to the duplication of the Pacific Highway on an accelerated timetable through the provision of at least $2.4 billion between 2009-10 and 2013-14 with more to follow.

My Government recognises that the Pacific Highway will continue to carry increasing traffic loads, including significantly more trucks, in line with the growing population along the coastal strip between Sydney and Brisbane. I also want the Highway’s appalling accident rate - one of the highest in the nation - to be reduced as quickly as possible.

The Coalition has provided $1.3 billion towards the upgrading of the Pacific Highway since 1996. This investment has quadrupled the duplicated length of the Highway from 65 km in 1996 to 262 km. While this has led to improved safety, we recognise that more must be done to finish the job.

My Government’s preference remains for the duplication to be completed by 2016, in line with our 2004 commitment. But to achieve this we need a contribution from the NSW Labor Government and to date they have indicated that they would not be

willing to provide sufficient funding to enable the road to be duplicated for its whole length by 2016.

Therefore, today’s new investment of $2.4 billion should put the Pacific Highway on track by 2016 to achieve duplication as far north as Woolgoolga, south from the Queensland border to Ballina, and extensive safety work in between. It will complete the much needed Banora Point (Sextons Hill) upgrade on the Tweed, as well as the Coffs Harbour Bypass.

However, the Coalition Government is willing to provide our share of the additional funds needed to fully duplicate by 2016, if the NSW Government will match our financial commitment to a faster completion.

Today’s announcement is part of the Australian Government’s 2020 transport plan, investing in a strategic and targeted manner to ensure a safe and efficient transport network designed to move families from home to work and goods from producers to consumers.

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We are translating better planning into better solutions across Australia by targeting transport funding to priority needs and allowing certainty for future investment.

Our 2020 road and rail transport plan for Australia will see work completed on many of our major interstate road and rail links together with a substantial increase in investment in roads off the national network that have been neglected by the State and Territory Governments for too long.

10 October 2007

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