Page to attend summit

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

STATE Shadow Roads Minister Don Page has taken leave from Parliament for Friday's Pacific Highway summit, and fails to understand why a Carr Government representative has not done the same.

The Ballina MP said yesterday he accepted Roads Minister Michael Costa's excuse for not attending because the Upper House was sitting on Friday, but members of the Lower House were able to ask for leave.

"I'm going, and I'm supposed to be there in the Lower House," Mr Page said.

"They could have sent someone from the Lower House along. It reflects the fact they're not taking seriously the infrastructure needs of northern NSW.

"There are so many examples, like the axing of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line and the Alstonville bypass delay."

A spokeswoman from Mr Costa's office said yesterday the logical representatives to attend the meeting would have been the Roads Minister or Parliamentary Secretary for Roads, however, both were committed to Parliamentary sittings on Friday.

Gold Coast mayor Ron Clarke will also attend the summit, which has been organised by the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils, at Ballina.

Cr Clarke admitted yesterday the Pacific Highway was not an issue that affected him greatly, but he was generally appalled with NSW roads in comparison to his own State's.

"I used to drive up the highway to Queensland all the time when I lived in Victoria," he said. "The roads are much better in Queensland. The Government just spends more money on them here. I found the same thing on the other side of the border in Victoria.

"It's none of my business in lots of ways. But I think it's terribly important because Australians love their cars.

"I can't understand any government that ignores its elec- tricity, water and roads."



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