Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson has challenged the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, to come clean with his electorate before the election and indicate whether he supports the Albion Park Rail Bypass or Berry to Bomaderry upgrade being built first.
“Mr Ward has to make a choice: does he support building the Albion Park Rail Bypass first or the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade first?
“Voters in the Albion Park part of his electorate will be very interested in the choice he makes.
“It seems clear to me that Mr Ward is choosing Berry to Bomaderry rather than starting work on the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
“He just lacks the guts to tell the people of Albion Park and Albion Park Rail that they’ll have to continue with worsening traffic congestion every day”, she said.
Ms Watson said that a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) report published last year indicated that the Albion Park Rail Bypass was now in a position to be started:
“At the time, RTA (now Roads and Maritime) advised the community that construction of the preferred route [of the Albion Park Rail Bypass] would be unlikely to take place within 15 years as traffic volumes were not sufficient to justify investment in the project.” (Albion Park Rail Bypass, Strategic Corridor Review, December 2013, page 1, Executive Summary.)
“The State Liberal Government has already wasted four years and $1.1 million on a study re-confirming what we all knew 15 years ago.
“The former State Labor Government reserved the road corridor so we could get on building the Albion Park Rail Bypass as traffic volumes increased to justify the now $600 million investment.
“Traffic volumes, as Mr Ward’s commissioned RMS study has confirmed, now justifies investment in the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
“In the meantime, Mr Ward has hoped no-one would notice his Government giving priority to the Berry and Bomaderry upgrade at the expense of starting work on the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
“Mr Ward must now make a choice: does he support starting the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade first, or does he support building the Albion Park Rail Bypass first?
“Mr Ward is so sneaky in trying to avoid making a choice that he is now trying to fit up the Prime Minister for funding even though Mr Abbott has long said:
“…the Princes Highway is not a federal responsibility…” (Tony Abbott MP, Sir Norman Cowper Lecture on Responsible Federalism, 20 June 2003).
“My position is clear: I’m fighting to start building the Albion Park Rail Bypass over the next four years of the next Parliament.
“I will fight Mr Ward to ensure the $600 million Albion Park Rail Bypass has priority over the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade”, Ms Watson said.
Ms Watson said that the former State Labor Government had a good record on southern Illawarra roads with:
- Completion of Oak Flats to Dunmore, $108 million;
- Completion of Oak Flats Interchange, $28 million;
- Completion of the North Kiama Bypass, $179 million;
- Completion of Kiama on & off ramps, $8 million.
12 January 2015