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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3056


Mr LUSHER (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Is the Minister for Transport aware of recent reports that the National Roads and Motorists Association has accused the Federal Government of highway robbery in its 1980-81 roads grants? Can the Minister tell the House whether the Government, in its allocation of $628m in 1980-81, has favoured its own projects, namely, national highways, at the expense of other road projects?


Mr HUNT - I am surprised that the National Roads and Motorists Association should claim that the Government has engaged in highway robbery when in fact it has increased expenditure for national highways, national roads and developmental roads by no less than 18.4 per cent. If that is highway robbery, all I can say is that I am

Santa Claus. An increase of 18.4 per cent is very substantial.

Opposition members interjecting-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There have been continual interjections from a wide range of honourable members on my left this morning. The dignity of the House suffers tremendously under those circumstances. I ask honourable members to remain silent and to cease interjecting.


Mr HUNT -Apparently the NRMA undertook some research to try to ascertain what the final result would be regarding the categories of local roads, rural arterial roads, and urban arterial roads. Quite clearly, the Commonwealth Government has increased the allocation to national roads and highways by 18.4 per cent; to rural arterial roads, by 11.1 per cent; and to urban arterial roads, by 11.1 per cent. It has increased the allocation to local roads- local government roads throughout Australia- by 11.1 percent.

Under the road safety program which the Commonwealth Government has funded for six years, a total of $74 million has been spent on road safety measures to overcome some of the backlog in that area. That progam has been suspended and the funds that were spent in the past in this category have been transferred for spending on national roads in recognition of our concern to increase expenditure on important national road links serving industries in Western Australia, Queensland and elsewhere. It is quite futile for any organisation to say that in 1980-81 an increase of 2 per cent will be made in relation to urban arterial roads. The NRMA has also made the suggestion that there will be a 4 per cent allocation to rural arterial roads. That is not correct. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a table giving a comparison between proposed and previous road allocations by State and category.

Leave granted.

The table read as follows-

 

 


Mr HUNT - The honourable member for Hume can be assured that the Hume Highway, which is a very important road and a road recognised by the NRMA, will certainly receive its share of the increase of 18.4 per cent for national roads and highways.







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