MINISTERS ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND
By CRAIG McTEAR
STEVE Moody says the appointment of a new Roads Minister for NSW is a 'disturbing development'.
The technical officer for Woolgoolga Area Residents and the Bypass Action Network says it is a case of 'going through the whole exercise again' in bending the Government's ear over Pacific Highway upgrade proposals.
In a surprise Cabinet reshuffle announced yesterday, the duty MLC for Coffs Harbour, Eric Roozendaal, relinquishes Ports and Waterways to take over Roads from Joe Tripodi.
"Every time they make a Cabinet reshuffle, it means we've got to deal with a new decision maker," Mr Moody said.
"It's going to cost the community more money because we have to go through the whole exercise again. It is a total waste of money.
"We took the time to travel to Sydney to meet directly with Mr Tripodi in November to enable us to bring to him some of the concerns people have on the Northern Beaches and Coffs Harbour about the highway upgrade."
He said it was important for the Roads Minister to have input from the community instead of relying solely on what the RTA had to say.
An executive summary attached to current highway upgrade proposals reflected 'a desired outcome from a road builder's point of view, and not necessarily the community's interests'.
However, the fact Mr Roozendaal was duty MLC for Coffs Harbour meant 'we have somebody who knows more about the local area than Tripodi'.
The member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said: "I welcome the fact that they have finally shifted an incompetent minister to another portfolio'.
He said Mr Tripodi had been an embarrassment to the government as Roads Minister.
Mr Fraser said he had written to congratulate Mr Roozendaal and had asked him to visit the electorate.
"I've also asked him to immediately accept the $30 million offer by the Commonwealth for an immediate start to the Bonville deviation. We don't need to wait for further assessments."
Coffs Harbour mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, said he and the city council would work with whoever was the appointed minister of any department 'to achieve the best outcomes for this city'.
He saw the appointment of Mr Roozendaal as 'a good opportunity', because the duty MLC should have 'a good handle' on what was happening with the Bonville deviation and related works.
Cr Rhoades said as mayor he had the ability to work with members of both the Government and the Opposition.
However, Federal Roads Minister Jim Lloyd said the Cabinet reshuffle highlighted the State Government's 'disarray' in building better roads.
"This is the fourth Roads Minister I have had to deal with since my appointment as Federal Roads Minister almost 18 months ago," he said.
"Scully-Costa-Tripodi-Roozendaal ? NSW motorists must be getting very confused with this merry-go-round of ministers."