Federal MP Justine Elliot.
Federal MP Justine Elliot.

Pollies bicker over upgrade

A FESTIVE season stoush has erupted between federal Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot and state National Party MP for Tweed Geoff Provest over who should take the most credit for the Banora Point highway upgrade.

Ms Elliot has hit out at her state counterpart for distributing a flyer claiming the Tweed "is getting a much better deal since the change of government" in NSW to the coalition in March, citing the Sexton Hill roadwork and "record funding" for the highway in the recent state budget.

Ms Elliot said Mr Provest should "come clean" about who really funded the Sexton Hill work and said all he had done before the NSW coalition government was elected was "criticise this project" .

But Mr Provest has struck back saying the previous NSW Labor government contributed "very little" to the Sexton Hill road upgrade and the coalition government was pushing ahead with it ensuring it opened on time and on budget.

Ms Elliot said the funding for the construction of the Sexton Hill upgrade was delivered by the federal Labor government - $347 million - while $10 million was committed by the previous state Labor government.

"I made an election commitment in 2007 to deliver funding to upgrade Sexton Hill," Ms Elliot said. "This funding was delivered in 2008 and the previous State Government committed $10 million.

"Until the O'Farrell government was elected, all Geoff Provest did was criticise this project. He was against funding this version of the upgrade and was very critical of the RTA once construction had started.

"Locals know that this road was well under construction before the O'Farrell government was elected and Geoff Provest didn't deliver one red cent to build this upgrade."

Mr Provest said he stood by the contents of his flyer adding Ms Elliot was "in no position to cast stones".

"It is only days since it was revealed Ms Elliot only spoke 18 times in Parliament this year. By contrast I have spoken 50 times since Parliament resumed in May and, unlike Ms Elliot, most of my interventions were directly relevant to getting a better deal for the Tweed.

"In relation to Sexton Hill, I fought with the community for a more local-friendly design.

"Once it became clear the previous state Labor government was not going to listen to locals, we stood fully behind the project we are now delivering. The previous government contributed nothing to the Tugun Bypass and very little to Sexton Hill."



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