ALP rejects Stoner's funding claim

An earlier Daily Examiner report on government claims about the funding of the Pacific Hwy.
An earlier Daily Examiner report on government claims about the funding of the Pacific Hwy.

THE CURRENT 50/50 funding model may make the 2016 deadline for the Pacific Hwy duplication unachievable, according to NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner.

The NSW Nationals leader and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services said a return to the previous 80% federal, 20% state funding model could see the 2016 deadline met.

He said by the Gillard Labor Government walking away from the previous 80/20 funding model in favour of the current 50/50 model, the dual carriageway duplication of the highway by 2016 was in serious jeopardy.

"Every other piece of the national land transport network in NSW has been funded at 80% or better by the Federal Government," he said.

"For the Gillard Labor Government to suddenly walk away from a historic funding split of 80/20 is not only disappointing it really jeopardises the 2016 completion date."

But it appears Mr Stoner may have his facts wrong when it comes to previous funding arrangements, with the federal ALP claiming it was not responsible for implementing the current funding arrangement.

Federal member for Page Janelle Saffin hit back at Mr Stoner, saying the 50/50 funding model for the highway was introduced by the federal Coalition and not by federal Labor, as Mr Stoner claimed.

"50/50 funding was first established not by Labor but by the former Howard government back in 2004," she said.

"It was established to reach the goal of the full duplication of the highway by 2016."

At December 31 last year, 51% of the dual carriageway upgrade of the highway had been completed. This equates to 341 of the 664km slated for dual carriageway upgrade, leaving 323km of highway to be duplicated in the next four years.

Currently 68km of dual carriageway upgrades are under construction, including the 7.3km Devils Pulpit upgrade which is scheduled for completion by mid 2013, weather permitting.

About 128km are being prepared for construction and planning is also being progressed on the remaining single carriageway sections of highway.

In the Clarence Valley, only 14.3km, encompassing the Glenugie and Devils Pulpit upgrades, are under construction.

This leaves the 35km section from Glenugie to Tyndale and the 42km stretch from Tyndale to Devils Pulpit, 77km in total, to be completed by 2016.

Topics:  andrew stoner australian labor party funding nsw nationals pacific highway upgrade

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