Extra $3b needed for hwy: report


THE Federal Government has reinforced its commitment to finishing the Pacific Hwy upgrade by 2016, despite a report suggesting an extra $3 billion will be needed to complete it.

A Council of Australian Governments (COAG) report released by Infrastruce Australia this week stated the expected costs of completing the highway by 2016 would be between $8-9 billion.

The report said further works near Raymond Terrace and Coffs Harbour could add another $1 billion to the bill – making the final estimation $10 billion, $3 billion more than the 2010 estimate.

But a spokesman for Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese said the figures were only estimates, not accurate costs.

“We have been upfront about this challenge since we came into office,” he said.

“We are working as quickly as we can. The commitment to complete this road by 2016 remains. “This is a challenge that requires a partnership with the NSW Government.”

Federal member for Page Janelle Saffin also reminded the NSW Government of its promise, urging it to step up to the plate and commit the funds to finish the project by 2016.

“2016 remains the objective we are all working towards. The question now is whether the new NSW Government will use its inaugural budget in September to begin to deliver on its promise of a 2016 completion date,” she said.

NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay's office did not return calls from The Northern Star yesterday.

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