Is it a case of the ‘Bypass Budget Blues’?

So, for all of the Nationals talk about tunnels where are we?

By the Coffs Bypass Action Group

“There was lots of talk of major infrastructure projects for Australia in the recent federal budget, many in marginal seats, but was there one mention of the Coffs Harbour Bypass? “Not one!” Said Cheryl Cooper, Coffs Bypass Action Group Co-Communications Chair.

A map of the proposed Bypass

“We are very disappointed. We know that $971m was put aside in a previous budget but we had hoped there would be confirmation that our bypass would be funded to have proper bored or drill and blast tunnels
and that the pledge to spend of $25 million on the entire project in 2019-2020 would be increased.

“We are still hearing of senior ministers referring to major cuttings with land bridges as tunnels and we know the RMS is continuing to work on what they call the “current” plan. The only plan we have seen is the September 2018 concept plan and that is major cuttings.

“We have a new Minister in Paul Toole and hope he will be more forthcoming than his predecessor, Melinda Pavey, however we have also heard that the RMS is to be merged under the main Transport Portfolio so have no idea what that might mean for this project and whether it also throws the planned start date into question” said Ms Cooper. “Certainly, we do not expect it to start in the promised 2020 much to the disappointment of the people of Coffs Harbour, who have waited so long for this road”.

“The new Consultative Communications Committee will not meet for the first time until April 26th and then or only introductions and a review of discussion points. Nothing will be done there before the Federal Election”. Ms Cooper said this was “such a disappointment.”

“Though the State Nationals promised an extra $300m towards the project that is yet to be seen in a budget either.”

“Personally, I think it comes down to politics. We are a National stronghold and therefore are not a priority. You can see that the road spending is mostly in marginal federal electorates. “People here have been loyal to the
Nationals” Ms Cooper said “and this is how they are repaid.”

“At the end of the day, in comparison to Australia, we are seen as an insignificant speck and the senior politicians will congratulate themselves on finishing this project, one day, irrespective of whether it disadvantages the many people who live here or not” Ms Cooper said.

The above is a Press Release from The Coffs Bypass Action Group. Wednesday 3 April 2019.

One thought on “Is it a case of the ‘Bypass Budget Blues’?

  1. A question for you Cheryl – how can you expect extra funding to be in this year’s budget when the design review is not finished, therefore no one knows what the extra cost for tunnels is?? Do you expect government to give RMS a blank cheque?? Of course not. Don’t tell me the 2008 report is enough to go on. This is not how it works. In January, Government told RMS to change the design. RMS is doing that. Once they’ve updated the design the Government will know how much extra it will cost. It’s been less than 3 months since the Government told RMS to update the design. Tese things take time, give them a chance to sort it out. Given the EIS is coming out sometime the middle of this year we could reasonably expect the design updates to be well advanced.

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