Coalition to make Pacific Hwy pledge

Nationals Leader Warren Truss
Nationals Leader Warren Truss John Gass

A FEDERAL Coalition government would commit to providing $5.6 billion to complete the controversial Northern New South Wales duplication of the Pacific Highway.

Nationals Leader Warren Truss and Liberal Leader Tony Abbott will unveil this pledge at the weekend's federal conference of the National Party in Canberra and promise to restore the 80%-20% funding balance between the federal and New South Wales governments.

The message to the gathering of Nationals and LNP Senators, MPs and delegates is that the Coalition is determined to work with the NSW Government to make the project a reality.

"A Coalition government will provide an extra $2.08 billion on top of the $3.56 billion already on the table to enable this vital project to be completed," a Coalition statement reads.

"We are determined to ensure that NSW coastal communities, which have been devastated by tragedies on this notorious stretch of highway, finally get the peace of mind they deserve and the safer road they were promised."

The Coalition leaders say the party has also secured support from the state government to redirect $2.08 billion from the Epping-to-Parramatta rail line to guarantee the highway completion.

The election commitment is part of a concerted pitch from the Nationals to regional Australian communities.

In his speech, Mr Truss will outline a plan for the first 100 days in office of a federal coalition government, one with an emphasis on regional Australia.

"Regional Australia has been dismissed by the Rudd-Gillard governments," he said.

"They have never had a Cabinet Minister who lived outside a capital city.

"Well, the Nationals say loudly and proudly 'no more'. It's time regional people were heard, listened to and respected."

As part of the conference, party members will also debate 72 different motions that will inform party policy on issues including transport and infrastructure, health, education, regional development, food security and the environment.

Topics:  coalition funding liberal nationals pacific highway tony abbott warren truss

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