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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Crash puts Pacific Highway back in spotlight

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[author]Chris Dobney[/author]

The switched-off speed camera just 800 metres from a tragic accident on the Pacific Highway at Urunga will be reactivated, NSW roads minister Duncan Gay has announced. But the camera will only be in warning mode, so speedsters will receive a warning notice, not a fine.

The single-lane section of road near Urunga has been a death trap for years. The NSW auditor recommended the reactivation of the camera in warning mode some time ago.

State opposition roads spokesman Rob Furlo told ABC radio this morning that ‘alternative safety measures should have been implemented before [the camera was] switched off’.

Speed, alcohol and fatigue have all but been ruled out as factors in the crash.

Police are continuing to investigate what caused a Holden ute to drift to the wrong side of the road in the early hours of Sunday morning. A B-double truck travelling in the other direction swerved to avoid it then smashed into two houses.

The driver of the utility, David Levett, 38, from Nambucca Heads, and 11-year-old Max McGregor, who was sleeping in one of the houses, were killed in the accident.

Federal roads minister Anthony Albanese admitted on yesterday’s Sunrise program that both sides of government bore responsibility for the fact that 40 per cent of the country’s most important highway was still a single-lane road.

‘The planning hasn’t been done. Governments have let the community down, both sides of politics at both levels,’ he told David Koch yesterday.

Mr Albanese said 20 per cent of the total highway had been duplicated in the four years since Labor had come to office federally and he admitted that the NSW Liberal-National government was more responsive to its requests for co-funding than the previous state Labor government had been.

But he admitted that both governments need to do more.

‘We’ve said let’s end the politics, let’s have 50-50 funding, NSW-federal, let’s get it done by 2016.  That’s an objective which the NSW government shares.

‘I must say I’m working very well with Duncan Gay and Andrew Stoner, the deputy premier, to make sure that this can be done,’ he told the program.

He estimates it will cost a further $6 billion to complete the full duplication of the highway.

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