Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s promise to fix the Pacific Highway is today in tatters, having been exposed as nothing more than a con-job less than 24 hours after it was first announced.
This morning on Sky News’ Australian Agenda, Nationals Leader and Shadow Transport Minister Warren Truss admitted that under their proposal, the full duplication of the Highway won’t be finished before 2020.
That’s hardly surprising given that Mr Abbott’s proposal to cancel the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link project and redirect the funding would free up only $67.9 million for the Highway between now and 2016 – a mere fraction of the more than $7 billion that’s required.
This is in spite of the 2016 target and joint funding being first proposed by John Howard and being campaigned for by the NSW Coalition prior to their election.
Mr Truss also confirmed that the Coalition won’t be providing any Federal funding to build or upgrade our urban public transport infrastructure, which is consistent with their actions during the twelve years of the former Howard Government where they failed to support any projects.
Indeed, they intend to wash their hands of our cities altogether.
Rounding out what can only be called a shocker of an interview, Mr Truss also refused to rule out increasing or changing the GST to pay for their promises and plug the $70 billion black hole that already exists in their costings.
When it comes to the full duplication of the Pacific Highway, Federal Labor has already committed $4.1 billion towards completing the job, with a further $3.56 billion available to the NSW Government on a dollar-for-dollar basis. This compares to the former Howard Government’s record of just $1.3 billion over twelve years.
All we’ve ever asked of the NSW Coalition Government is that they honour the promises they made prior to being elected. If they did so, the job could be completed sooner rather than later.