The Liberal Party’s Link Road Con
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler
May 14 2009
The Howard Government went into the 2007 election knowing it had committed less than half the funds necessary to build a new road between the F3 and Branxton.
This was revealed in an audit conducted by the independent Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) into the previous government’s Auslink program.
Months before the Howard Government made its $700 million election promise they had been advised that building a new road between the F3 and Branxton would in fact cost at least $1.5 billion.
According to the ANAO (page 105):
“A review of the estimate was completed by the RTA in July 2007, with a revised estimate of $1200 million (2007 dollars), equivalent to between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion in outturn dollars.”
Put simply, the Howard Government knowingly set aside too little money to build the road they promised.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the first time they tried this con job on the Hunter.
Back in 2005 they set aside only $240 million despite being told at the time that a new road between the F3 and Branxton would cost $765 million. As result of this under-allocation no work was ever started and much of the money reallocated to the National Party’s projects elsewhere in the country.
For our part, it has only taken us 18 months to do what the previous government promised twice and didn’t deliver. In partnership with the NSW Labor Government, we will invest $1.65 billion to build the Hunter Expressway – a new dual carriageway between the F3 and the New England Highway near Branxton.
Construction work will start next year.
The full ANAO report can be downloaded from: www.anao.gov.au/director/publications/auditreports/2008-2009.cfm.