NSW Labor have the chance to support finishing the Pacific Highway upgrade

20 February 2013

NSW Labor have the chance to support finishing the Pacific Highway upgrade

Roads Minister Duncan Gay today challenged NSW Labor MP’s to demonstrate their support for completing the upgrade of the Pacific Highway to dual carriageway, by demanding their federal colleagues honour the funding commitment they made with the previous State Labor Government.

"If the NSW Labor Party was truly serious about completing the Pacific Highway upgrade by the Prime Minister’s 2016 deadline, its MPs would be on the phone to Canberra demanding their Federal colleagues stump up 80 per cent of the funding, as it had done with the previous State Labor Government," Mr Gay said.

"In early 2009, then NSW Transport Minister David Campbell and then Roads Minister Michael Daley signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese for the continued upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

"The baseline funding split agreed to in the MoU was 83 per cent federal 17 per cent NSW, which later increased even further to a funding ratio of 86:14.

"All the NSW Government is seeking from the Federal Government is the same funding split of 80:20 afforded to the previous State Labor Government. In fact, Federal Labor contributions to the Pacific Highway only started to reduce dramatically when the O’Farrell/Stoner Government was elected to office in early 2011,Australian Government contribution is capped at $2,451 million. Australian Government funding is provided on the basis that NSW will commit $500 million.

"No matter how NSW Labor likes to do the maths, these numbers set a baseline funding ratio of 83:17. Let’s not forget, it was Federal and NSW Labor Ministers who attached their signatures to the MoU."

An extract of a letter from Minister Campbell to Minister Albanese in December 2009 reinforces the fact there was an 80:20 funding arrangement in place between Federal and State Labor:

"I will undertake to seek confirmation of a 20% NSW government commitment to the additional funding required. This would be consistent with the funding arrangements on many other National Land Transport Network projects in NSW, and our recent agreement for funding preconstruction for Frederickton to Eungai."

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has already promised to restore the 80:20 funding partnership with NSW, should the Coalition win the September federal election.

"There’s now a clear choice for voters. You can either vote for a Federal Coalition that will restore the 80:20 funding partnership with NSW or vote for the Gillard Government which has reduced its funding contribution since early 2011 from a ratio of 80 per cent to 50 per cent to now only 20 per cent.

"NSW Labor can show the people who live along and travel the Pacific Highway they are genuinely interested in their welfare by, phoning, writing or emailing their federal colleagues demanding the Gillard Government restore the 80:20 funding split.

"If they don’t, it will show they are more interested in politics than saving the lives of people who travel the Pacific Highway," said Minister Gay.

Attachment:

NSW Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay address to NSW Legislative Council on Pacific Highway upgrade funding (19 February 2013).

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