Labor challenger chides Cowper MP for 'moonlighting'
IT MAY appear counter-productive to the cause but Labor candidate for Cowper, Alfredo Navarro, would be overjoyed to see his main rival working flat out to keep him at bay.
Mr Navarro believes sitting Nationals member Luke Hartsuyker should spend less time 'moonlighting' in neighbouring seats and more time working for the constituents in his own electorate.
He suggests that instead of launching raids on Independent Rob Oakeshott in Lyne and Labor's Janelle Saffin in Page, there is plenty to keep Mr Hartsuyker busy at home in Cowper.
"It's obvious Mr Hartsuyker has his eyes on bigger things if the Coalition wins the election," Mr Navarro said.
"The trouble is that he's so focussed on becoming a minister or whatever, he's gone missing in Cowper.
"Frankly, if he is returned with an increased majority, it will be dangerous for the people of Cowper and we can forget about the Liberals and Nationals even bothering to pretend they care about us anymore."
Mr Navarro said he was incredulous when his opponent issued a midweek statement claiming "... the Budget papers do not once mention the Pacific Highway ... there is no new money for the Pacific Highway."
"In the first few minutes of Wayne Swan's Budget speech he mentioned the Pacific Highway.
"You only need to go a few kilometres north of Coffs Harbour to see the millions spent by the Federal Labor Government on that road.
"Yet Mr Hartsuyker twice went on ABC radio and said there was no mention of the highway.
"He ignores the Federal government health funding for the super medical clinic on Stadium Drive and the countless number of projects in Cowper that have been driven by Labor.
"I ask you ... how can the Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Youth and Sport, have a policy calling for a patchwork National Broadband Policy?
"Mr Hartsuyker's eyes are on a prize from Mr Abbott, not what is necessary for the people of Cowper."
For the record, Federal Labor has spent $632 million on the Sapphire upgrade with NSW contibuting $73 million.
Speaking this week, Mr Hartsuyker promised the Coalition (if elected) would introduce 80/20 highway funding with a $5.6 billion spend to be matched by $1.5 billion from the NSW Government.
These figures are similar to the latest Pacific Highway Report Card issued by the Federal Labor Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, on December 31, 2012.
That document states that since 2008-09, the Federal and NSW governments have agreed to contribute a combined $7.92 billion towards upgrading the Pacific Highway to four-lane divided road standard.
Of this, the Federal Government was providing $5.41 billion with the balance ($2.51 billion) coming from the NSW Government.
On March 5, Minister Albanese confirmed $3.5 billion of Pacific Highway funding from the 2011-12 Budget had been quarantined for the upgrade
Under the Coalition's electoral promise, their contribution would rise slightly ($190 million) above that of Federal Labor while on the Department of Infrastructure and Transport figures, the State contribution appears to vary by almost $1.01 billion.