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Budget 2006: North Coast infrastructure funding at record levels as roads and rail secure Budget boost.

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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


May 10, 2006

North Coast infrastructure funding at record levels as roads and rail secure Budget boost

Infrastructure funding on the NSW North Coast will reach record levels following an additional commitment to road and rail funding in the 2006/07 Federal Budget.

The Nationals Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said today $1.3 billion will now be invested in the Pacific Highway over the next three years and the $450 million upgrade of the north coast rail corridor will be boosted by an additional $270 million injection into rail freight lines between Melbourne and Brisbane.

“The challenge now is to ensure the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority invests these Pacific Highway funds efficiently and effectively,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Now that the NSW State Government has matched the Commonwealth’s additional $160 million commitment we will see the fast-tracking of a number of road projects along the highway. Importantly, finalising planning for the very busy Sapphire Beach to Woolgoolga section will enable the RTA to work towards commencement of construction in 2007/08.

“Less than six months ago the Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade was well down the list of the RTA’s priorities. I have been fighting to have this road project fast-tracked because of the volume of local traffic and I am obviously delighted that the RTA is looking to commence construction in 2007.

“The $143 million of Commonwealth funds which have been specifically allocated to the Bonville Deviation and the Karuah to Buladelah upgrade will see two vital road projects commence in the next 12 months.

“On the North Coast, the Highway upgrade and improvements to the Sydney Brisbane rail corridor represent an unprecedented infrastructure investment.

“Across New South Wales, the Australian Government will invest $4.8 billion in road and rail in 2006/07.

“Importantly, local councils throughout the North Coast will also benefit from a further road funding boost with council’s 2005/06 Roads to Recovery allocation set to be doubled and funds transferred to local councils prior to the conclusion of this financial year.

“This will give our local governments bodies substantially more funds to invest in road projects that they identify as a priority,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“My position has always been that infrastructure investment and tax cuts were not mutually exclusive issues and I am delighted to see that this Budget has recognised that fact,” Mr Hartsuyker said. Ends