Dr Ray Jones, from Doctors for a Safer Pacific Highway, speaking at the Pacific Highway public forum on Saturday night.
Dr Ray Jones, from Doctors for a Safer Pacific Highway, speaking at the Pacific Highway public forum on Saturday night. Leigh Jensen

Sick of highway slaughter

THE Pacific Highway Public Forum on Saturday night was pronounced ‘productive' by organisers.

Dr Ray Jones said about 60 people attended the event to listen to a long list of speakers, including ambulance officers, accident survivors, politicians and an RTA representative.

Central Coast resident Angela Ormesher, who lost eight family members in the Cowper bus crash 21 years ago, was a special guest.

“It was very clear that paramedics are not coping – ambulance officers are brutally traumatised by what they witness repeatedly,” Dr Jones said. “Yet the ambulance service is too gutless to send an official representative.”

He said the RTA's regional manger, Bob Higgins, received a grilling from the member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, who wanted answers to questions about proposed short-term safety upgrades at Urunga.

“Mr Higgins was definitely put on the spot and said the RTA was looking into additional safety measures for the Hungry Head blackspot.”

Mr Fraser, who has been pushing for a highway upgrade for many years, promised $5billion for the project if the opposition won the March election.

His ALP counterpart, David Quinn, called for bipartisan action by all political parties to facilitate the highway upgrade.

“I believe the politicians got a strong message that the condition of the highway was unacceptable,” Dr Jones said.

“At the conclusion of the meeting everyone voted unanimously to pressure the government to honour its commitment to complete the work by 2016.

“In the last 25 years we haven't seen much progress but I think there are signs of positive intentions ... if they can do half of what they want to in the next six years, it will save a lot of lives.”

Dr Jones said the campaign was a work in progress.

“We now have a Facebook page, End the Bloodbath and Finish the Pacific Highway, which is full of stories after only a few days.

“We have also been invited to join the Pacific Highway Taskforce.”

More than 60 doctors and nurses have already signed up to the ‘Doctors for a Safer Pacific Highway' but the group is keen for new recruits.

For information please email drrayjones@bigpond.com or hprayle@gmail.com



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