Federal MP for Richmond, Justine Elliot, has lashed out at state Tweed MP Geoff Provest for ‘stealing’ federal funding announcements to ‘pretend’ he’s delivering road funding, as the war between the two governments over the Pacific Highway upgrade escalates.
Mrs Elliot said that back in mid May she issued a press release announcing federal money for Black Spots programs in her electorate, which includes the Tweed, including $220,000 for the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Frances and Beryl Streets, Tweed Heads.
The announcement featured the following day in a local online newspaper. Mr Provest then issued a press release earlier this month re-announcing the funding, which made Mrs Elliot see red.
She was scathing of the National Party MP for ‘being so hopeless that not only is he incapable of delivering state funding for the Tweed, but he now steals federal funding announcements and pretends he’s the one delivering the funding’.
‘In last week’s state budget we saw how Geoff Provest had failed to deliver for the Tweed and now we see this desperate attempt in stealing federal government funding announcements.
‘Rather than attempting to deceive locals Geoff needs to deliver on his promises, starting with the homeless shelter, Pottsville High School and the full funding for the western side of Kirkwood Rd interchange.’
Mrs Elliot said she was proud as federal MP ‘to have delivered more than $1 billion for local roads, schools, health and community resources’, calling on him to ‘stop pretending he’s delivering’.
Mr Provest could not be contacted today for comment.
The spat centres on each government’s claim of what they agreed to fund.
This week, Pacific Highway Taskforce chairman and Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson said his group is hoping to convince National Party members to pressure the state government to arrange a new funding deal, before next week.
Federal transport minister Anthony Albanese has issued an ultimatum to NSW over the Pacific Highway upgrade: agree to pay up by next Thursday or scrap plans to build a dual carriageway by 2016.
The funding war heated up in federal parliament on Tuesday following NSW’s pledge to spend $1.5 billion over four years to duplicate the deadly stretch of road in the north of the state.
The amount in last week’s NSW budget was well below the $3.6 billion pledged by the federal government in the May budget on the proviso NSW matched its funding commitment dollar for dollar.
Mr Albanese said the NSW coalition government had rolled over and abandoned its commitment to the Pacific Highway but it had a chance to rectify the situation when he met with NSW roads minister Duncan Gay on Thursday next week.
He said if NSW agreed to pay half by next Thursday the 2016 goal was still achievable.