Oakeshott: upgrade needs $3b more
NORTH Coast Nationals MPs should demand the State Government quickly boost its funding for the Pacific Highway by more than $3 billion, Lyne Federal independent MP Rob Oakeshott has said.
Mr Oakeshott made the comments in a statement released this morning, after Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese called for a 50/50 funding split in the Federal Parliament yesterday.
During last year's state election campaign, then Roads spokesman, now the Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner committed the NSW Coalition to the Federal Government's 2016 deadline for completing the duplication of the highway.
A spokeswoman for the MP said information provided to Mr Oakeshott's office by the Federal Government showed the Commonwealth had invested $4.1 billion into upgrading the highway between 2008/09 and 2014/15 while the NSW Government had committed only $1 billion.
Responding to a question from Mr Oakeshott in Federal Parliament yesterday, Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said he wrote to NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay last month, outlining the full schedule of works that would allow the remainder of the highway to be finished by 2016. However, he said he was yet to receive a response from Mr Gay's office.
"I'm calling on the state MPs representing the Mid-North and North Coasts to join me in pushing the NSW Government to meet its obligation, a promise made prior to the state election to finish the upgrade by 2016," Mr Oakeshott said.
"None of us can afford to let either government off the hook on this vital project. A promise is a promise, and despite the news today than an extra $7 billion is needed to fix the highway, we still have a Commonwealth commitment to 2016.
"New South Wales must do the same."
Mr Gay's office is preparing a response to Mr Oakeshott's statement.