Nationals Leader Warren Truss has broken new ground today by issuing a media release saying he will not build or fund a Coffs Harbour Bypass.
Today’s statement simply says that the NSW State Government will continue to “plan’’ for the Bypass, which they committed to do prior to their election in 2011.
Mr Truss has confirmed there is not a single dollar of funding from the commonwealth towards planning for this project, let alone construction.
His statement is a con job designed to win Coalition support in the upcoming NSW election without any detail about funding or timelines.
The people of Coffs Harbour deserve better than uncosted thought bubbles from a minister who didn’t deliver Pacific Highway upgrades when he was last Transport Minister in the Howard Government and isn’t delivering now.
North Coast communities know that it was Labor that delivered the Sapphire to Arrawarra upgrade and Kempsey Bypass, which have opened, and the funding for the Warrell Creek to Nambucca, Nambucca to Urunga, and Frederickton to Eungai upgrades, which are underway.
Earlier this month it emerged that in the 2014-15 financial year, Mr Truss will spend $357 million on the Pacific Highway – down 65 percent from the former Labor Government’s investment of $1.023 billion in 2013-14.
Since the 2013 election of the Abbott Government, Mr Truss has failed to invest a single extra dollar in the Pacific Highway that was not already allocated by the former Labor Government.
Tony Abbott has even less understanding of the needs of communities along the Pacific Highway.
On 8 December, 2012, Mr Abbott embarrassed himself by visiting Coffs Harbour and telling the Coffs Coast Advocate’s Brad Greenshields his funding commitment “does include a Bypass”.
Within half an hour, Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker was forced to correct Mr Abbott, explaining the Bypass was not on the agenda.
Mr Abbott’s 2012 gaffe came during a lame publicity stunt in which he drove a truck down the Pacific Highway holding media conferences at construction sites funded by the then Labor Government.
During his drive, he passed thousands of workers engaged in the duplication as a result of record Labor road funding.
Mr Abbott’s interest in the Pacific Highway was more about politics than actually delivering progress on this important project.
Today Mr Truss is at it again.
No detail. No funding. No credibility.
Labor at the state and federal level has a proud record of actually delivering on the Pacific Highway – not just talking about it.
If Mr Truss wants to be taken seriously he should outline his plans to include additional Pacific Highway funding in the May 2015 Budget.