NSW Shadow Minister for Transport Jodi McKay has thrown her support behind Fairfax Media’s FIX IT NOW campaign.
Mastheads on the Far South Coast have been pushing for a federal/state 80/20 Princes Highway funding deal for a divided dual-carriageway from Nowra to the Victorian border.
Ms McKay, who was in the region on Tuesday, July 17, said the campaign had motivated her to come and see the state of the highway for herself.
“The FIX IT NOW campaign is one of the reasons I wanted to come down,” she said.
“The FIX IT NOW campaign is fantastic – there is not a whole lot of funding south of Nowra.
“It’s like to the Liberal government the Princes Highway stops at Nowra. There’s no funding, except for the bridge at Batemans Bay – and a bridge is not a road.”
Ms McKay said Labor was keen to get to work on smaller projects in the region, and press the federal government for funding.
A dual lane divided carriageway has long been on the agenda ... It makes sense to me that it would be the next major project after the Pacific Highway.Jodi McKay
“A dual lane divided carriageway has long been on the agenda,” she said.
“State and federal governments need to have a conversation. It makes sense to me that it would be the next major project after the Pacific Highway.
“It is something we would be keen to talk to the federal government about – in the meantime, there are many other projects which could be started on.”
Those projects included interim safety and accessibility upgrades.
“There are projects where there is real community demand, but no effort has gone into listening to the community,” she said.
“The highway passes through communities, and creates a lack of connectivity where there is no pedestrian access, for example, at Bodalla and Mogo.
“Some people feel constrained to one side of the road – there are no pedestrian crossings – and it’s bad for business.
“It would be a small project that would make such a difference. I’m astonished the government isn’t working on anything.”
Ms McKay said works at Dignams Creek were “not an excuse” for not spending on the rest of the highway.
“The Dignams Creek project is not an excuse for not spending – it was initiated by Labor in 2011, and there have been no new shovel ready projects south of the Batemans Bay bridge,” she said.