Highway funds trebled

TRIPLE the money in half the time – that's how the Federal Government views its Pacific Highway funding commitment compared with the State Government funding track records.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese reiterated the disparity when asked in Federal Parliament by Independent Member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott whether the full highway duplication was still set for a 2016 completion.

Mr Albanese was quick to deflect the question, pointing to next month's O'Farrell State Government Budget.

“NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay has staked his reputation on securing a major funding boost for the Pacific Highway in this year's state budget,” Mr Albanese said.

“Just last month (Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner) said the date ‘remained plausible as long as both governments commit to it'.

“This is a vital upgrade. That is why we have contributed $4.1 billion, which stands in stark contrast to the $1.3 billion committed over 12 long years by the former government.

“I look forward to the NSW Government on September 6 stumping up its share of the money in the $750 million that it has committed.”

Chairman of the Pacific Highway Taskforce, Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson, said the NSW Government had not announced whether it was prepared to make the $750 million contribution.

Cr Williamson did so, announcing the taskforce had joined forces with Doctors for a Safe Pacific Highway, co-ordinating their lobby efforts.

“Doctors for a Safe Pacific Highway are distributing a petition to the State Government urging that the dual carriageway for the Pacific Highway be completed by 2016 and requesting the diversion of trucks to the New England Hwy until the Pacific Hwy is completed,” Cr Williamson said.

“I have asked each council member of the taskforce to support the distribution of this petition at their offices, libraries and other public buildings, and I would urge residents living in the Pacific Highway catchment to sign the petition.”

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