Over the past week both the Liberals and Nationals have shredded what little credibility they had left when it comes to the Pacific Highway, abandoning previous promises to fix the road by 2016.
The betrayal of North Coast communities began on Tuesday when the NSW Coalition Government brought down its second budget. Despite repeatedly saying before last year’s election that they supported matching Federal-State funding for the Highway, the NSW Coalition failed to deliver their share.
In addition, they have actually cut $300 million from the $750 million in new matching funding committed as part of last year’s State Budget.
The NSW Coalition would rather play politics than be seen cooperating with the Federal Labor Government on this significant nation building endeavour, even when we are offering to pick up half the bill.
Then on Thursday the Federal Coalition ditched its own commitment to the 2016 completion date originally established by their former leader John Howard. Worse still, the Federal Leader of the National Party Warren Truss refused to say how much money they would spend on the Highway or even when they would complete the full duplication.
Instead, he has arrogantly told North Coast communities: elect us then we’ll tell you.
But if history is any guide they will invest less than Federal Labor and take longer to get the job done. Indeed, compared to the $4.1 billion we are already investing in the Highway, the former Howard Government spent only $1.3 billion during its twelve long years in office.
When it comes to the Pacific Highway, the Liberals and Nationals are all spin and no delivery.
In last month’s Federal Budget, we set aside our share of the funding required to complete the full duplication by 2016. This $3.56 billion in new money will remain available to the NSW Government on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
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Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.