CAMPAIGN TRAIL: National Party Leader Warren Truss with Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan in Grafton yesterday.
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: National Party Leader Warren Truss with Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan in Grafton yesterday. Dominic Zietsch

Nationals leader Warren Truss promises highway dollars

"IF ELECTED, we'll fix the Pacific Highway" - it's a promise Clarence Valley residents have heard time and time again before elections and is yet to be fulfilled.

Nationals Leader Warren Truss vows this time is different.

Mr Truss joined Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan in Grafton yesterday and Mr Truss reaffirmed the Coalition's commitment to finishing the Pacific Highway upgrade by the end of the current decade should they win government.

Mr Truss said the Coalition was committing $5.6 billion to restore an 80:20 funding split with the State Government for the project. $3.5 billion will be money previously set aside for the project by the Government which the Coalition would carry over. The remaining $2.1 billion will be funds redirected from the Federal Government's Parramatta to Epping rail link project in Sydney.

"Labor wants to build a railway in the city; instead of us building that we'll be building the Pacific Highway," Mr Truss said.

When asked about previous promises about the highway, Mr Truss said the Coalition hadn't had the chance to act on any pledges made before.

Mr Hogan welcomed the commitment and said the jobs created and benefits to tourism, business and safety from upgrading the Pacific Highway could not be under- stated.

Chairman of the Pacific Highway Taskforce, Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said the promise was welcome and the taskforce would be watch closely to see if it was delivered.

Less impressed by the announcement was Page MP Janelle Saffin.

"If it were left to Truss and Hogan, the work (on the highway) would never start," Ms Saffin said.

"They're just saying the same old nonsense while we get on with building the road."


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