Hwy action to happen at Urunga
URUNGA's place in infamy as the scene of the worst Pacific Highway tragedy in recent memory will be the focus of a protest action in the town next Tuesday. (January 24th)
Doctors for a Safe Highway - the lobby group of 70 medical professionals - with the support of the Coffs Coast Advocate will stage a meeting on the town's foreshores at 10am calling for government to end the carnage.
Leading the push for road planners to fast track the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade is Dr Ray Jones.
Dr Jones, who attended the infamous Cowper bus crash as a medical officer in 1989, says he knows all too well the trauma that the Urunga crash on Sunday, January 8 would have caused for countless families.
"Seeing those images of the crash scene brought back horrible memories for me, and I know all too well the pain, deep trauma and lost the friends and families of the victims would be suffering along with the emergency service personnel who attended," Dr Jones said.
The double fatal crash claimed the lives of young Max MacGregor, 11, and David Levett, 38, after a head-on caused a truck to smash through a house.
Dr Jones said once again powerful emotions had been stirred in local practices, hospitals and emergency wards.
"Doctors are fed up with treating people in emergency wards and seeing lives lost due to horrific injuries and road trauma caused in accidents on the Pacific Highway," Dr Jones said.
"The gravity of the Urunga crash has again seen questions asked of both the Federal and State Governments over highway funding and by way of this protest we are seeking answers.
"We invite anyone and everyone who feels strongly about the future of the Pacific Highway upgrade to attend.
"It has been confirmed that the Federal and State Governments do not have to the funding to achieve the highway upgrade by 2016.
"We need to stress this project is the most pressing issue in Australia.
"The public deserves answers, they deserve to know what is happening with the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade and when the town will be bypassed.
"We need people to attend this meeting to keep the pressure on the politicians.
In light of the accident Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and his state counterpart Duncan Gay have confirmed there is a funding black-hole to achieve the full highway duplication within four years time.
While another impediment to fixing the road south of Urunga much sooner than planned, lies with planning and the availability of road crews and machinery to complete the project.
In light of his campaign to bring action to the nation's worst section of road, Dr Jones has received a powerful vote of confidence from one woman who has lived with the pain of the Pacific Highway.
Central Coast resident Angela Ormesher, who lost eight family members in the Cowper crash has offered her support to the campaign.
"Angela lost two of her own children and six other family members on that dark day 22 years ago, after hearing my comments about the Urunga crash she was the first to contact me and offer support
"So many lives have been lost on the Pacific Highway over the years and we need a fitting turn-out at this meeting to make it count," he said.