May 23, 2017

Coalition’s plan for Coffs Harbour Bypass: come back next decade

The Turnbull Government has no concrete plans to build the Coffs Harbour Bypass and expects no progress on the project until the next decade, according to evidence before a Senate Budget Estimates committee.

The revelation comes despite ongoing attempts by ineffective Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker to pretend his advocacy is advancing the project.

Officials from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development told a Senate committee late yesterday they had no costings or detailed plans for the bypass project.

The officials also said they had not held formal discussions with the NSW Government over funding.

Asked for a timeline, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Secretary Mike Mrdak said: “We would certainly see this as a project which would be needing to come into the pipeline, certainly by the early 2020s’’.

Confirmation of Mr Hartsuyker’s inability to deliver follows news in the May 9 Budget of a huge cut in funding for the ongoing Pacific Highway duplication next year.

Budget documents show the Turnbull Government is investing $1.37 billion on Pacific Highway projects in the year to June 30. But investment will collapse to $710 million in 2017-18.

The cuts represent a stark contrast to the performance of the former Labor Government, which invested $7.9 billion on the Pacific Highway over six years – six times the amount the former Howard Government invested over 12 years.