Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan shares the podium with NRMA president Wendy Machin at yesterday’s roads forum at the Lismore Workers Club.
Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan shares the podium with NRMA president Wendy Machin at yesterday’s roads forum at the Lismore Workers Club. Jay Cronan

Roads firm as major poll issue

ROADS rate as a crucial election issue for 91 per cent of Page voters, according to a poll commissioned by the NRMA.

The poll also found that 86pc deemed the price of petrol important, and a further 77pc want Australia to end its oil dependence and develop a sustainable energy policy.

NRMA Motoring president Wendy Machin came to Lismore yesterday armed with those figures and seeking the response of the two main candidates, The Nationals' Kevin Hogan and Labor MP Janelle Saffin, at a public forum at the Lismore Workers Club.

While Ms Saffin apologised saying she had a prior engagement and could not attend at such short notice, Mr Hogan ‘cleared his diary' saying his travels around the electorate confirmed to him the seriousness of the issue for Page voters.

About 20 concerned members of the public quizzed Mr Hogan on the increasing presence of heavy transport on our highways and roads, the lack of rail infrastructure and the rising cost of fuel in an electorate with minimal public transport.

With transport primarily being a state responsibility, Mr Hogan was somewha limited with what he could promise, other than to say he and his three state Nationals counterparts were committed to working together to fix the problems.

He reminded the audience of the criticism the Howard Government received for bypassing the NSW Government and injecting funds directly into the Ballina and Alstonville bypasses, promising a Coalition government would continue to do so.

He said the Howard Government also funded the Roads to Recovery program for local governments.

Mr Hogan said The Nationals knew rural and regional Australia better than Labor ever could, illustrating his point with that now famous comment of former prime minister Paul Keating's that ‘the Nats were always trying to build a road to nowhere'.



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