$5.64bn available ‘as needed’: Hogan
FEDERAL Member for Page Kevin Hogan has dismissed claims the government has cut funding for the Pacific Hwy upgrade by $351million in the 2016 Budget.
Mr Hogan said the government has allocated $5.64billion to complete the Pacific Highway and that money is in the forward estimates to be drawn on as and when needed.
“The money is simply drawn down as each project is completed,” Mr Hogan said.
He described the argument that Labor has maintained the level of funding for the highway as a “furphy”.
“All the money is in the budget’s forward estimates to complete the highway by 2020,” he said.
“This is very exciting because this means the highway will be definitely completed by 2020.
“The only thing that could get in the way is adverse weather.
“Labor at last election was going to reduce its funding to 50%, or $3.5billion, of the total cost.”
“As a candidate at the last election, I got a guarantee that the Coalition Government would increase funding to 80% of the total cost, or $5.64 billion, to make sure that by 2020 the duplication of the Pacific Highway is complete.”
However, the opposition spokesman for transport Anthony Albanese said Government has short-changed the people of Page with more than $11million in cuts to financial assistance grants used by local councils to maintain roads.
“The Government also cut investment in the Pacific Highway duplication by $351million in the 2016 Budget, following on from a cut of $130million in the 2015 Budget,” he said.
“Only a Shorten Labor Government can be trusted to invest in the infrastructure needed in Northern NSW to boost economic productivity and improve road safety, and to ensure councils have the resources they need to maintain local roads.”
Mr Albanese said he was proud of the record of his party’s funding the highway while in government.
“Between 2007 and 2013, the former Labor Federal Government invested $7.9billion on the Pacific Highway duplication,” he said.
“That investment dwarfed the $1.3billion invested by the former Howard Coalition Government over 12 years.”