Councils, NRMA unite for highway fight
By Samantha Turnbull
The NRMA and North Coast councils today will announce a joint task force to push for the entire Pacific Highway to be made a dual carriageway within 10 years.
Under current government plans, the highway will not be upgraded to a dual carriageway until 2025.
The task force, to go public at today's Pacific Highway summit in Ballina, will lobby for funding to fasttrack the highway upgrade.
The councils already aligned with the NRMA include Lismore, Ballina, Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, and Tweed.
Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) president Ernie Bennett said the task force wanted to recruit all councils along the length of the Pacific Highway.
"It is the most dangerous road in NSW and our communities have had enough," he said.
NRMA president Alan Evans, who arrived in Ballina yesterday, said the timing of the summit was made more poignant after the death of a two-year-old Grafton girl on the highway at St Helena on Wednesday.
"It sent a shiver up my spine that this young life was lost," he said.
"It says to me the need is even greater because there will be more of those unless something is done."
Mr Evans said the partnership would get results.
"NRMA will lend all the available weight and resources we have to the task force," he said.
Exact details of the task force's plans will be finalised over the coming, but may include delegations to Sydney and Canberra and advertising campaigns.
Today's summit at the Ballina Beach Resort will be addressed by Mr Evans, Page MP Ian Causley, Gold Coast mayor Ron Clarke, Northern Rivers Economic Development Board executive director Katrina Luckie and local mayors.