Hartsuyker hits back at ALP highway claim
"LONG overdue progress" is the key phrase Cowper Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker has used to describe the Abbott government's moves to get the job done on the Pacific Hwy duplication.
With news this week the Urunga section of the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade was reportedly six months ahead of schedule, Opposition spokesman for infrastructure Anthony Albanese fired a shot at the government, saying it was claiming the credit for his work as the former minister.
Mr Hartsuyker responded, saying the Coalition had fast tracked crucial highway projects by restoring an 80-20 Federal funding split with the New South Wales Government.
"Prior to the last election, the Coalition made a commitment to provide $5.6billion towards the completion of the Pacific Hwy duplication project," Mr Hartsuyker said.
"We have met that commitment, with eight different projects either currently under construction or in pre-construction preparation.
"This pace of long-overdue progress is both clearly visible and unprecedented in the highway's history."
Labelling Mr Albanese "hypocritical", Mr Hartsuyker said if Labor had been returned to government at the 2013 Federal Election, a 50-50 Pacific Hwy funding split would have delayed the completion of the highway for seven years.
In government, Labor vowed to finish the remaining sections by 2016, while the Abbott government maintained a 2016 deadline was unrealistic and due to its funding increase would have the highway - including the proposed Arrawarra to Ballina section - finished within six years.
"It is exceptionally hypocritical for Mr Albanese to claim to be unimpressed by these efforts," Mr Hartsuyker said.
"The Coalition's commitment to 80% of the funding has meant that the duplication will be completed by 2020."