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Federal Government has kept its Bucketts Way promise.

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17 May 2002 A58/2002


Contrary to some extraordinary reporting today, the Federal Government has kept its promise on funding the upgrade of the notorious Bucketts Way, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

"Our $20 million is on the table and is definitely in the Budget papers," Mr Anderson said. "The Carr Labor Government has not done the necessary work for the upgrade to start. These are plain and simple facts which should not be obscured by anyone.

"The Newcastle Herald has sadly shown stunning political bias by letting the State Government and its Transport Minister Carl Scully off the hook on Bucketts Way," Mr Anderson said. "The people of the Hunter have been badly let down by this failure to correctly point the finger at the real villains of the piece.

"The State Government let Bucketts Way deteriorate to such a level that the Federal Government was forced to step in last year. Bob Baldwin put forward compelling arguments why the Federal Government needed to step in. Make no mistake, the Federal provision of $20 million is making up for years of Carr Government failure.

"There is one simple rule here that has been conveniently forgotten. Federal governments do not build roads. Their role is largely one of planning and properly overseeing the funding provided from federal coffers.

"Bucketts Way is no different. The State Government MUST provide a program of works for Bucketts Way, otherwise the Federal Government cannot properly schedule funding. Despite the promise of the Prime Minister made last November to put $20 million into Bucketts Way, six months later the NSW Government has failed to provide that program of works.

"I wrote to Mr Scully as recently as Tuesday, asking for this and other important NSW road matters to be expedited so we could honour our commitments. This fact was made plain to the Newcastle Herald.

"There are also four councils involved in funding the upgrade, who need to be consulted as well. Based on Mr Scully's dismal record in other parts of the State, he must heed community concern and get his act into gear now.

"Bob Horne, the former Federal Member for Paterson, bleats pathetically today that the Howard-Anderson Government pledge to upgrade Bucketts Way cost him his seat at the election. Any neutral observer would say that his general weak representation of his Paterson constituents and failure to extract a similarly strong promise from his Federal Labor colleagues on Bucketts Way might have been factors too.

"There is absolutely no conflict with statements made by the Prime Minister and his office before the Federal election and statements made in the Federal Budget, which the Newcastle Herald admits itself in the fourth last paragraph of its amazing report today."


Media Contact: Paul Chamberlin (02) 62777680