The State Labor Government has put regional projects a long way down its list of priorities for infrastructure funding from the Federal Government, the Shadow Minister for North Coast and Member for Ballina Don Page said.
“Mr Rees may be the new Premier but he still has the same Sydney-centric attitude of his predecessors,” Mr Page said.
“It’s extremely disappointing to see that a project as important as the Pacific Highway upgrade has only made it onto the State Labor Government’s fourth list of priorities.
“Once again the regions fall well short of their Sydney counterparts in the eyes of the State Labor Government.”
The first three list of priorities submitted by the State Labor Government to Infrastructure Australia contained only metropolitan projects, Mr Page said.
“It seems the Rees Government, like its predecessors, is more interested in vote-grabbing than taking care of the needs of regional New South Wales,” Mr Page said.
Mr Page said the Pacific Highway upgrade was arguably as high a priority as any of the projects that the State Labor Government had listed ahead of it.
“There are at least six metropolitan projects given a higher priority than the Pacific Highway by the State Labor Government.
“The number of lives that have been lost on the Pacific Highway should make it the number one priority for funding.
“One of the criteria for a project to be considered for Federal funding is that it be of ‘national significance’.
“I would argue that the Pacific Highway has greater national significance than many of the metropolitan projects the Government has put ahead of it.
“The Casino to Murwillumbah rail line upgrade did not get a mention in the submission made by the NSW Government to Infrastructure Australia, yet connecting this Far North Coast area with south-east Queensland by rail should also be a priority.
“If this State Labor Government was serious about improving the transport infrastructure of NSW, it would make the Pacific Highway and the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line priorities.
“If the Rees Government had any vision it would provide for the future growth and increased freight transport that NSW will experience over the next decade.
“It’s extremely disappointing to see the State Labor Government pouring billions of dollars into more Sydney infrastructure while regional infrastructure continues to deteriorate and disappear after 13 years of Labor.”