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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31782

Mr NAIRN (12:25 PM) —In continuing my earlier contribution with respect to roads and after hearing the contribution from the member for Paterson, I also note that the New South Wales budget provided nothing additional for the Princes Highway either—the road that the state government are responsible for. Down that part of the Princes Highway that I represent we will see this pathetic amount of a bit over $5 million a year going into it, which is very disappointing.

One aspect I only mentioned briefly was the extended Roads to Recovery program, which has certainly been very well received by local councils. It is getting a lot of those back roads graded and built. It is a tremendous program because the money is going directly to local government; some of it is not getting skimmed off along the way. Local governments certainly appreciated the extension of it. One part of that program was a regionally strategic component, as we call it, of the Roads to Recovery program. That is opening up a whole lot of new possibilities for getting some roads built that probably would not have happened for a long time under current funding arrangements. In particular, there are a number of these in my electorate and I will be out there supporting our communities on these things over the coming months to see whether we can get some roads built that previously probably did not have a great chance.

One of them is called Spine Road and it is a bypass route around Batemans Bay. Batemans Bay is becoming a very popular area and there is a real traffic problem there. The council has been working on this Spine Road—it has this name because it runs along the spine behind Batemans Bay—so that traffic can bypass the main part of Batemans Bay and the residential areas and get to the other end of the bay much more quickly. It is a big job and the Eurobodalla Shire Council have been putting money into it each year. When I had the Prime Minister down there a few weeks ago, I took him around to have a look at the road. I was very pleased to see that this road was actually referred to in the AusLink program as the type of road that could be funded under the regionally strategic component. It is the responsibility of local government, but it would be great to get that additional assistance under the Roads to Recovery program. So that looks very hopeful and I will certainly be working with the Eurobodalla Shire Council on that particular project to assist them to get that completed a lot earlier and solve a lot of problems down there. It would be great to get some money out of the state government as well because it is going to have to connect onto the Princes Highway and they could be doing more to assist with that.

There are probably many roads that would fall into this category, but there a couple of key ones. Edwin Land Parkway is a road round the back from Jerrabomberra through to Queanbeyan. With Jerrabomberra growing larger and larger—and I know it well, because I live there—it is creating a bottleneck out on Lanyon Drive. The Lanyon Drive part has been upgraded by the New South Wales government and the Queanbeyan council, but for the section within the ACT down to the Monaro Highway the ACT government ought to direct some of their Roads to Recovery money to upgrading that in the next few years. If Edwin Land Parkway was completed, it would take some people out of Jerrabomberra into Queanbeyan by a different route. That is another project that I think could be a great project under the regionally strategic component of Roads to Recovery and I will be supporting the Queanbeyan council on that one.

Another one to grow our tourism industry in the mountains is the connection from Ando across to Dalgety—which is basically Bombala across to Jindabyne, you could say, but the road itself goes from Ando to Dalgety. That would create a great transport route from the coast across to the mountains. If we can tie that up we can get people moving much more easily, from a tourism point of view. Of any electorate in New South Wales, Eden-Monaro has the highest proportion of its work force in the tourism industry, and it is the fourth highest in Australia—9.3 per cent of our work force is actually employed in the tourism industry, which is quite amazing. We have a great opportunity to grow that even further, and a road like the Ando-Dalgety road would be a great road. I will support the Bombala Council on that one in relation to the regionally strategic component of the Roads to Recovery program. These are just some examples of things that can be assisted under this very innovative program, getting funds out there on the ground where they are needed, and they are the things that I will be working on over the coming months.