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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3259


Mr HARTSUYKER (Cowper) (14:17): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on recent announcements in nation-building, job-creating regional infrastructure, including in my electorate of Cowper? Is the Deputy Prime Minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaDeputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Leader of The Nationals) (14:18): I thank the member for Cowper for his passionate advocacy for Coffs Harbour, the mid North Coast and the Coffs Harbour bypass. It is an important project. I also note the advocacy of the member for Page. This project is also going to benefit his electorate. I was in Page in March, inspecting the construction of the Harwood Bridge, another important link in the Pacific Highway. It's an absolute engineering masterpiece.

Yesterday we announced founding of $971 million for the Coffs Harbour bypass. This project has been called for by the community for decades and has been committed to by this government. The Coffs Harbour bypass will reduce travel times. Perhaps more importantly, it will save lives. This project will create hundreds of jobs in construction on the North Coast. Construction will start in 2021, once the environmental aspects have been taken care of and the engineering details have been looked at, and we expect the project to be finished in 2023. The Mayor of Coffs Harbour, Councillor Denise Knight, said she was thrilled. She said, 'We've waited a long time for this. It shows what we can do when all levels of government work together.' That's exactly what's happening. I also praise the National Party state government member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, for his passionate advocacy over many, many years. The Coffs bypass is part of our broader Pacific Highway funding package, which is now up to $5.46 billion, meaning hundreds of kilometres of upgraded highway from Sydney almost to Grafton for the thousands of people who drive along it every day. We are getting on with the job: $3.3 billion for Bruce Highway projects; a billion dollars for the M1 Pacific Motorway upgrades; $5 billion for the long-awaited Melbourne Airport rail link from Tullamarine to the CBD; $1.1 billion for further METRONET projects in Perth, to list a few of the nation-building infrastructure projects we have committed to. Our pipeline of infrastructure projects, our decade-long plan of investment, is large. It is creating 50,000 direct and indirect jobs over the 10 years, all helping people get home faster and sooner.

On a bipartisan note I want to acknowledge somebody in the gallery: Peter Frazer, sitting up there in the front row with his yellow tie. I'm so pleased to see so many members wearing the yellow pin to mark National Road Safety Week, which concluded in Wagga Wagga on Sunday. Peter lost his daughter Sarah when she was travelling to Charles Sturt University to study, like so many of our kids do. They travel our regional roads, highways and byways. She lost her life, and, sadly, tow truck driver Geoff Clark, who pulled up to help her, was also killed. That happened in February 2012. Peter Frazer has been a tireless and passionate advocate for road safety. I acknowledge him, the government acknowledges him and the parliament acknowledges him for the work he has done. He has an organisation called SARAH, Safer Australian Roads and Highways, after his beautiful daughter. I commend him for his work and for everything he has done for road safety.

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (14:21): On indulgence, I join with the Deputy Prime Minister in welcoming Peter to the parliament and in acknowledging the fine work he has done in the name of his daughter, Sarah. Road safety is something that should unite everyone in this parliament, because it impacts on every one of us as individuals. All of us know people who have been impacted directly by it and we all represent constituents and families that have been tragically hurt too often by it. I think we have a bipartisan pledge to do what we can to reduce the level of road trauma around Australia.