A new push for the upgrade of the Summerland Way mirrors a Nationals’ policy that was rejected by a former NSW Labor Roads Minister, according to North Coast Nationals MPs Don Page (Ballina), Steve Cansdell (Clarence) and Thomas George (Lismore).

Shadow Minister for the North Coast Don Page said the local State Members welcomed a proposal outlined at a TRAIN transport lobby group meeting in Ballina on Monday because it was identical to the policy the NSW Coalition took to the 2007 State election which included a ‘comprehensive study of the Summerland Way’ as an alternative Pacific Highway group upgrade.

“Unfortunately that proposal was ruled out at the time by the NSW Labor Government, after a cursory RTA study, principally on grounds of cost,” Mr Page said.

Clarence Nationals MP Steve Cansdell said it was great to see further recognition of the need for a second crossing over the Clarence River at Grafton.

“We have been promised the new bridge several times only to end up disappointed. Recent floods and the collapse of the Pacific Highway demonstrate the urgent need to get to work on this project.”

Lismore Nationals MP Thomas George called on all levels of Government to work together to address the region’s transport problems.

“We need a massive joint effort to convince government to take the upgrade of our main roads and restoration of our rail services seriously,” Mr George said.

“People we talk to out there don’t care who takes the credit, they just want authorities to make a start on fixing the problem.”

The MPs said the extension of the Summerland Way east of Mount Lindesay should also be on the table as it would provide more direct access to south-east Queensland and Brisbane.