Hwy fix is ‘top priority' for Nats

CLAIMS the Federal National Party has dropped the Pacific Hwy as a funding priority have been dismissed by Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.

Page MP Janelle Saffin said if elected next year, the Nationals would spend the money north of the border.

Ms Saffin quoted LNP Member George Christensen as saying the lion's share of $4 billion allocated to the Pacific Hwy by the Federal National Party would go towards the Bruce Hwy instead.

Ms Saffin's attack follows revelations that Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser had lent his support to the NSW Government's plans to fund the $3.5b North West Rail Link, rather than putting the extra $2 billion needed to match Federal funds and finish the Pacific Hwy upgrade.

Mr Hartsuyker said there was no truth to Ms Saffin's claims.

He said the Coalition remains "absolutely committed" to the Pacific Hwy.

"In my opinion the Pacific Hwy is the most important infrastructure project in Australia at the moment.

"Getting it completed as soon as possible is a priority," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"The Member for Page is attempting to misrepresent the Coalition completely with regards to the Pacific Hwy."

Ms Saffin said the Liberal National Coalition planned to re-direct the majority of future Federal road funding to a Queensland road that just happened to run straight through the electorate of National Party Leader, Warren Truss.

"While Mr Truss has been very reluctant to talk numbers in respect of the Pacific Hwy, he's been far more forthcoming on the airwaves in Queensland," Ms Saffin said. "Last week during a five-day tour of the Bruce Hwy he regularly talked about 'drastically increased funding' and mentioned potential funding of $5 billion.

"The National Party no longer considers the Pacific Hwy a priority and Tony Abbott is busy promising billions of dollars for new roads in Australia's three biggest cities."

Ms Saffin said Federal Labor has set aside "our share of the funding required to complete the full duplication by 2016", taking their total commitment to the highway to $7.7 billion over nine years.

Mr Hartsuyker said a 2016 completion date for the Paci- fic Hwy is not a realistic date. He said the Federal National Party aims to complete the upgrade as soon as possible.

"Everyone on the North Coast is in no doubt of the importance of the Pacific Hwy upgrade," Mr Hartsuyker said.

PACIFIC HIGHWAY FUNDING FACTS

In May the Federal budget promised over $3 billion to duplicate the Pacific Hwy from Hexham to the Queensland border by 2016, provided the State Government could match it dollar-for-dollar.



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