Federal opposition roads spokesperson Anthony Albanese has hit out at minister Warren Truss, whom he said has misled voters over plans to complete duplication of the Pacific Highway.
While existing road building is continuing in areas such as Tintenbar to Ewingsdale, and plans are proceeding for new tranches including the section south of Ballina, Mr Albanese said ‘not one extra dollar’ had been committed by the incoming coalition government to the highway, despite its campaign promises.
‘The government has been desperately re-announcing the former Labor government’s investment to direct public attention away from the budget’s broken promises and savage cuts to health and education,’ Mr Albanese said yesterday.
‘Today, given the opportunity to back their rhetoric with facts, [they] were struck mute,’ he added.
‘The truth about the Abbott government’s infrastructure budget is that it is made up of old projects funded by Labor as well as billions of dollars in cuts to funding for public transport and existing road projects which are being used to fund a handful of new projects.
‘However, as Mr Truss confirmed in parliament this morning, not one of those new projects has been assessed by the independent experts at Infrastructure Australia to determine whether they represent value for money.
This is despite the government’s unambiguous election promise to subject any new infrastructure project worth more than $100 million to cost-benefit analysis approved by Infrastructure Australia.
But one of the ‘handful’ of new projects to go ahead will be an improvement to a black spot at Broadwater.
Assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development Jamie Briggs and Page MP Kevin Hogan announced the funding of $373,800 yesterday.
Mr Hogan said the work will improve safety at the intersection between the Broadwater Evans Head Road and Broadwater Beach Road by improving the super elevation, removing vegetation to increase the sight distance, installing a resistant surface and providing new road markings.
The project was recommended by a panel of independent road safety experts and will be delivered next financial year.
‘Black spot projects target dangerous roads to save lives and reduce road trauma, ensuring our local roads are safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians’, Mr Hogan said.
‘Anyone can suggest an intersection or stretch of road they believe should be considered for a safety upgrade, and we strongly encourage all councils and individuals to submit their nominations,’ he added.