Bypass funds signed, sealed and delivered
DEPUTY Prime Minister Michael McCormack has today confirmed the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass will be allocated $971 million in tomorrow night's Federal Budget.
Mr McCormack personally phoned Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker and State Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser early this morning to confirm the funding announcement.
"The announcement in this year's Budget is made possible thanks to the hard work and advocacy of local Nationals' MPs Luke Hartsuyker and Andrew Fraser over many years," Mr McCormack said.
"Together with the work of the community, their advocacy is helping build the Pacific Highway the Mid North Coast deserves.
"Our $971 million commitment to the Coffs Harbour Bypass is another important step in making the Pacific Highway safer.
"The Liberal Nationals Government is focused on busting congestion and ensuring those who use roads such as the Pacific Highway can get to home, work or holidays sooner and safer.
"This investment builds on our investment over the past few Budgets to make the duplication of the Pacific Highway a reality.
Labor candidate for Cowper Andrew Woodward accused the government of opting for an 'Il Cheapo' version of a Coffs Harbour Bypass.
"The Federal Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund this critical project," Mr Woodward said.
"No one argues with the need for Coffs Harbour to be bypassed.
"It is a no-brainer even for the Nationals, who had to be shamed into funding this project by the local community, Labor and the media.
"But what's more concerning is the amount of money they have put aside for this project.
"Most estimates put the cost of the bypass at $1.3 to $1.5 billion.
"They are looking for pats on the bat - I'm giving them brickbats," he said.