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Budget kills hwy upgrade

THE NSW Government has admitted a 2016 completion date for the Pacific Highway upgrade is unlikely.

Despite taking the axe to its departments to pay for any "sweeteners" in the 2012/13 budget, including $1.5b for the highway, the Coalition Government has still come up $2b short of matching the Federal Government's promised $3.5b.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis restated claims that the O'Farrell Government's pre-election promises to complete the highway before the March 2011 election were based on an understanding the Federal Government would continue its 80:20 funding split with the state.

Reminded of Federal Roads Minister Anthony Albanese's position that the 80:20 arrangements were part of, and limited to, stimulus funding, Mr Gulaptis said this was irrelevant.

"They've got access to the funds and they should use them," Mr Gulaptis said.

He said reduced GST revenues (from lower spending) and stamp duties (from lower building levels) had forced the government into a tight budget.

Mr Albanese told APN's Canberra newsdesk yesterday the Federal Government would match NSW's $1.5b funding commitment but did not state where the remaining $2b would be spent.

Mr Gulaptis described the move as cynical and recalcitrant.

"If they've got the money, and clearly they do because they've made the commitment, they should spend it," said Mr Gulaptis said.

Topics:  budget, nsw government, pacific highway


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