Opposition leader Tony Abbott is literally taking to the streets on the campaign trail over the next two days driving a truck from Brisbane to Terrigal as part of the Coalition’s campaign to improve funding for the Pacific Highway.
He said he wants to highlight the state of this road and the costs to the economy of neglecting this critical piece of national infrastructure. Much of the neglect however was through the Howard Government years.
“Too much of the Pacific Highway is still a goat track from the 1970s,” he said.
Mr Abbott said the Coalition government will provide $5.6 billion to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway and restore the 80:20 funding partnership with the NSW Government.
He said with freight expected to treble on the eastern seaboard by 2030, the state of the Highway is impacting national productivity.
“Infrastructure Australia has estimated that for every dollar spent on the upgrade of the Highway there will be $1.50 in economic benefits,” Abbott said.
“Our $5.6 billion commitment includes $3.56 billion that was held up by the Gillard Government’s dispute with the NSW Government and a further $2.08 billion provided from funding redirected from a Sydney rail project that isn’t on the State Government’s priority list.”
Mr Abbott said the redirection of funding and the return of the traditional 80:20 Commonwealth/State national highway funding split are both decisions welcomed and supported by the NSW Government.
“Over the next two days, I will be driving 875kms and meeting with local community leaders, small business people and families about their experiences using the Highway every day,” he said.
The Oppositions plan also includes a commitment of $1.5 billion to the WestConnex project in Sydney, $1.5 billion for the East-West Link in Melbourne and $1 billion for the Gateway North upgrade between Nudgee and the Bruce Highway.”
The Pacific Highway has claimed 24 lives last year and 20 this year and has been voted the “the worst road in NSW” by NRMA members.