Premier responds to highway invite

IT TOOK long enough, but NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has finally replied to the invitation for her to tour the Pacific Highway between Coffs Harbour and Ballina.

But the two-sentence response is little more than an acknowledgment of receipt of the invitation from the mayors of Clarence Valley, Richmond Valley, Ballina and Coffs Harbour councils.

A letter written to Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Willliamson by Cassandra Wilkinson, on behalf of the Premier, indicated Ms Keneally was still considering the invitation.

“The Premier has received your recent letter concerning the Pacific Highway from Coffs Harbour to Ballina,” the letter reads.

“The Premier has asked me to advise you that the matter raised is being considered and a response will be sent ... as soon as possible.”

The letter is dated March 2, but was not received by Clarence Valley Council until March 15.

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell has committed to touring the notorious section of highway on April 8.

Clarence MP Steve Cansdell yesterday raised the issue during question time.

Mr Cansdell directed a question without notice to Ms Keneally, asking her: “How can you possibly justify your monstrous motor tax being charged Statewide but spent only in Sydney, when three people have died on the Pacific Highway in the Clarence region alone in the 40 days since you received – and have now snubbed – an invitation from four North Coast mayors to inspect this notorious stretch of the highway?”

Ms Keneally responded by expressing her condolences to the families of the people killed, and then went on to detail how much her Government has spent on roads in the State. She failed to mention the invitation or the tax.

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