News

Highway funding on the brink

Pacific Highway upgrade
Pacific Highway upgrade

STATE and Federal commitments to fix the Pacific Highway by 2016 appeared to be in tatters last night as the months-long battle over who should pay for the upgrade turned to ultimatums.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Federal Government would pull $3.56 billion committed to the highway in this week's Federal Budget unless the NSW Government, which has been demanding the Commonwealth pick up 80% of the tab, matched the funding.

Not long after that, NSW Transport Minister Duncan Gay announced the State Government would not match the Commonwealth's investment, with a spokeswoman saying NSW "can't and won't" match the Federal funding.

Without a new injection of funding - estimated at between $7 billion and $9 billion - the highway upgrade will stall on its final seven unfunded projects, mostly between Ballina and Woolgoolga and including the deadly "tired zone" south of Ballina.

Mr Albanese said the money earmarked for the Pacific Highway would remain with the Federal Government's Nation Building program, but would be redirected to other projects.

Mr Albanese did not say what other projects the funding could be used for, but the Queensland Government has asked the Federal Government to match its $1 billion investment in the Bruce Highway.

"There are a range of states, including Coalition states, that are very keen for that to happen (for the Pacific Highway money to be redirected)," Mr Albanese said.

Meanwhile, the NSW government was continuing to insist the Federal Government had moved to a 50/50 funding split for political reasons and it had taken a different, more generous, approach with NSW Labor.

Ballina MP Don Page this week said the NSW Government had a copy of an agreement signed by the State and Federal governments in 2009 spelling out the 80/20 funding split.

However, when asked for a copy of it, a spokeswoman for Mr Gay was able to provide only copies of letters between Mr Albanese and former NSW Labor transport ministers Michael Daley and David Campbell.

A spokeswoman for Mr Page later said the agreement itself could not be publicly released.

Mr Albanese said three funding agreements signed by the state and the Commonwealth in 1996, 2004, and 2006 had all spelled out a 50/50 funding split although a nation building program agreed to in 2009 as part of the stimulus package had allowed a more generous split.

Read the correspondence between Anthony Albanese and NSW roads ministers:

DO YOU CARE WHO PAYS TO FIX THE HIGHWAY? Leave a comment below.

Topics:  funding pacific highway



Council ski jump vote 'small victory' for residents

CONTROVERSIAL: A digital image of the proposed Lake Ainsworth Olympic ski jump facility provided by the NSW Office of Sport.

Councillors vote 8-0 not to support development application

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

Ballina tops region for poker machine profits

undefined

Pokies pulled in more than $6 million in profits in three months

Local Partners

Paralympian's inspiring Beef Week talk

RESILIENCE and determination were key topics of discussion over morning tea at the Casino Beef Week Ladies High Tea yesterday.


Felix Riebl wants to be in your arms

TOURING NOW: Australian musician Felix Riebl is coming to the Northern Rivers in June.

Cat Empire frontman brings out his romantic side in solo show

Joseph's biblical return to Ballina

LEADING ROLE: Award-winning actor Brian Pamphilon as Joseph.

Ballina Players upcoming production

All the gigs you need to know about this week

HAWAII UKE: Aloha Baby is a trio consisting of steel guitar, ukulele and double bass with three-part harmonies based in Australia who specialise in Hawaiian music with Stukulele, Paul Steel and Roddy Rumba. They will be featured in this month's Uke Night which has a Hawaiian theme. Hula dancing from Hula Tomoka and her troupe (also in the picture) will be featured, too. At Club Mullum in Mullumbimby today from 6.30pm.

Comedy, music, theatre and more

Wild and unknown from Sara Tindley

Local singer songwriter unveils new album

Felix Riebl wants to be in your arms

TOURING NOW: Australian musician Felix Riebl is coming to the Northern Rivers in June.

Cat Empire frontman brings out his romantic side in solo show

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

Do you want to star in a TV series?

A Professional Cameraman Filming An Outdoor Scene

New show to be filmed around the Northern Rivers

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Joseph's biblical return to Ballina

LEADING ROLE: Award-winning actor Brian Pamphilon as Joseph.

Ballina Players upcoming production

All the gigs you need to know about this week

HAWAII UKE: Aloha Baby is a trio consisting of steel guitar, ukulele and double bass with three-part harmonies based in Australia who specialise in Hawaiian music with Stukulele, Paul Steel and Roddy Rumba. They will be featured in this month's Uke Night which has a Hawaiian theme. Hula dancing from Hula Tomoka and her troupe (also in the picture) will be featured, too. At Club Mullum in Mullumbimby today from 6.30pm.

Comedy, music, theatre and more

Here's your chance to carp about feral pests

Carp might by great fun to catch but they're destroying Australia's watercourses.

Science in the Pub looks at carp and coral trees

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!