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Government's not bypassing the bypass: Turnbull

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull officially opened the new transport hub at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull officially opened the new transport hub at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium. Trevor Veale

THE Prime Minister is more than aware of the Coffs Coast community's cries for a bypass of Coffs Harbour.

While in Coffs Harbour today to inspect the C.ex Coffs International Stadium's facilities, Malcolm Turnbull said the Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, ensured that the Pacific Hwy upgrade around Coffs Harbour is kept at the forefront of his mind.

"He (Hartsuyker) talks to me about it all the time, about the Coffs Harbour bypass, and we had a very good discussion about it again this morning," the Prime Minister said.

Mr Turnbull said a lack of funding for the project doesn't equate to a delay of the predicted start time of construction.

"As you know the State Government is still doing a lot of geotechnical work," the Prime Minister said.

"As you know the country to the back of Coffs Harbour is very steep, the city has spread out to the west and into the steeper country so the question is, do you do cuttings? Do you do tunnels? How do do them?

"So there's a lot of geowork to be done and when that's complete and a business case is presented, obviously we will be looking at it very carefully indeed."

The Prime Minister was asked if the bypass was a funding priority for his government.

"It is of course a funding priority but there are many funding priorities but the most important thing to note, it is the funding priority of your very eloquent and persuasive Federal Member Luke Hartsuyker," he said.

Mr Hartsuyker said a start date that comes immediately after the completion of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Hwy upgrade is still within reach.

"I'm working as hard as I can. I'm confident that we will secure agreement to get the bypass started just as quickly as possible," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"I'm fighting for it, I can't say anymore than that."

Topics:  coffs harbour coffs harbour bypass luke hartsuyker malcolm turnbull pacific highway pacific highway upgrade pacific hwy pacific hwy upgrade



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