Port Macquarie-Hastings Council on notice
5 June 2014
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council on notice over vital infrastructure
Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay today threatened to withdraw an $18 million grant to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council if it didn’t start building a new bridge at Stingray Creek and making upgrades to Ocean Drive.
“In early 2011, as part of a joint funding arrangement, the Council requested $6 million from the NSW Liberals and Nationals to replace Stingray Creek Bridge at a total cost of $12 million,” Minister Gay said.
“The NSW Government also committed $10 million towards helping the Council to upgrade nearly three kilometres of Ocean Drive.
“Unbelievably, after more than three years the Council has still not started any of these vital projects – infrastructure that is owned and managed by the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.”
Minister Gay was in Port Macquarie to meet with local member Leslie Williams to inspect the existing Stingray Creek Bridge and sections of Ocean Drive that need upgrading.
“Stingray Creek Bridge and Ocean Drive currently struggle with existing traffic flows,” Minister Gay said.
Mrs Williams said in early 2013, Council back-flipped from building a new bridge to merely repairing the old structure, a proposal not supported by either the government or the community.
“Council then came back and said building a new bridge would cost an extra $4 million, a figure the NSW Government agreed to jointly fund – lifting our overall commitment to Stingray Creek Bridge to $8 million,” Mrs Williams said.
“Incredibly, contrary to its initial request, Council also decided upgrading Ocean Drive was no longer a priority and wanted to spend the government’s $10 million grant on other local projects.
“Unlike previous governments, our election commitments are non-negotiable. If these projects are not advanced by Council in the coming months then I will have no other option but to withdraw our current $18 million grant.”
Minister Gay said since early 2011, the NSW Government had successfully partnered with dozens of councils across the state to deliver long-overdue road and bridge upgrades.
“Sadly, the Mayor of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council seems more interested in playing local politics than delivering new local roads and bridges,” Minister Gay said.
MEDIA: Siobhan McCarthy 0407 791 802 (Minister Gay)
Terry Sara 6584 0977 (Mrs Williams)
View the original media release (PDF)