Oct 5, 2012

Coalition’s highway promise: If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny

The Federal Coalition’s Pacific Highway “promise” continues to unravel – not only haven’t they guaranteed all the required funding, they can’t even agree amongst themselves when they would finish the job.

This week North Coast Nationals MP and Minister Don Page has conceded the proposal announced last month by his Federal Leader Warren Truss would push the completion date back to 2020, at the earliest.

According to the report in the Northern Star and other North Coast newspapers, when asked about the 2016 goal which was first established by the former Howard Government “…Mr Page threw his hands in the air, shook his head and admitted ‘we’re not going to get there… that’s pretty obvious’.”

It is nothing short of extraordinary that only 18 months into their term the NSW Coalition has thrown their hands in the air and ditched the clear, unqualified promise made by Barry O’Farrell just weeks before the last State election:

“Only the NSW Liberals and Nationals are committed to completing the upgrade of the Pacific Highway by 2016.”

FACEBOOK – 8 MARCH 2011

But here’s the rub.  Only last week Mr Truss was publicly declaring they would have the job done by 2018, a position echoed on Tuesday by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott:

“…the Coalition’s commitment … to ensure that we do get the Pacific Highway duplicated from Newcastle to the Queensland border well before the end of the decade.”

DOORSTOP (NEWCASTLE) – 2 OCTOBER 2012

History has shown that the Federal Coalition fails to deliver on the Pacific Highway when they are in government.

By contrast, Federal Labor is already investing $4.1 billion into the project.  We’ve also committed our share of the funding required to complete the job and released a construction schedule showing it can be done by 2016.  All we’ve ever asked of the NSW Coalition is that they stop the politics and honour the promises they made.