Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly said a wider approach is needed to the region’s road network in order to maximise potential economic growth across the region.
According to the NSW Roads and Maritime Service, almost 2000 vehicles travel in each direction of the Princes Hwy through the Bega region each day, and the number is steadily increasing each year.
“To realise the full potential of the Port of Eden we need an improved network of inland infrastructure – including the east-west link between Eden and the Monaro Highway and the duplication of the Barton Highway,” Dr Kelly said.
“Improving these roads will not only be attractive to tourists coming in and out of our region, but it is also vital for our local businesses who need their manufactured products and local fresh produce moved efficiently, quickly and in a cost effective manner to export markets.”
Dr Kelly said a comprehensive long-term plan is needed for the southern NSW coastal stretch of the Princes Hwy, which he says is being upgraded via a “steady march south to the border”.
“It has been disappointing that the NSW state government has failed to produce a long-term plan for the Princes Highway,” he said.
“We need serious investment to improve the significant choke nodes such as the Narooma bridge and the Brogo pass that inhibit road freight and tourism traffic to and from the Port of Eden and surrounds.”
Dr Kelly said he would like to see stretches of highway developed to easily accommodate heavy vehicles.
“Ultimately I’d like to see a highway that allows for B-Double traffic and tourist buses to travel to and from our region between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra,” he said.
Some of the $4.1billion proceeds from the state government’s sale of its share in the Snowy Hydro scheme should be invested in the region’s road infrastructure, Dr Kelly said.
“This is the right kind of investment with public money, because it’s not just pork barreling, you get a return on your investment with growth in the economy,” he said.