Subject: Pacific Highway
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT & SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIES: It is great to be here at the site of the Alstonville Bypass. This is a project that was promised, funded, built and opened when we were in government. I am very proud of the effort that we made on the north coast of New South Wales. The fact is that we invested $7.6 billion in the Pacific Highway. That is New South Wales’ most important road. We invested six times the funding, in half the time, of the Howard Government. And it is disappointing that with the change of government, it went back in the slow lane. We saw $351 million cut from the Pacific Highway this year. We have seen no new construction projects begin on any sections of the Highway since the change of government. It has been three lost years. We want to get back into government to get the Pacif ic Highway back on the fast track again.
INTERVIEWER: How do you do that?
ALBANESE: Well you do that by having commitment and by delivering, not just talking, not just opening the former government’s projects like this government has gone around on the Magical Infrastructure Renouncement Tour. They have been happy to open projects like T-to-E and other projects that were begun on our watch – the Devil’s Pulpit upgrade. That does not mean that they are their contribution. They were projects that were underway and under construction and fully funded by the former government. So this government has really failed; it has taken the north coast for granted, which is why we need Janelle Saffin back as the member for Page.
INTERVIEWER: In your opinion, do we need to put back in all the money that the Government has taken out?
ALBANESE: We need additional funding and we need it brought forward. What they have done is make cuts in the previous two Budgets, to Pacific Highway funding. We need to make sure that is fixed, that we actually have the work done, and that we get the jobs that are created through construction as well.
INTERVIEWER: Do we know when the Ballina to Woolgoolga section of the Highway will be completed?
ALBANESE: What we know is that it will be sooner than it would be under the Coalition, because we know that they have put it on the slow lane. We stand by our record, we stand having a look here at the Alstonville Bypass; a project that was promised, funded, built and opened under Labor. We delivered when it came to infrastructure. The Coalition have failed.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.