NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner, left, and Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell address yesterday?s press conference where the
NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner, left, and Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell address yesterday?s press conference where the

Nats talk tough on bridge

By JULIA ILES

THE Iemma Government and Roads Minister Joe Tripodi 'couldn't run a pub chook raffle', Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell has told State Parliament.

Mr Cansdell's broadside came as he continued to attack Mr Tripodi and the State Government over their decision to put on hold a new Grafton bridge.

"What does an iron-clad guarantee mean to the Government? When is the Government going to build the Grafton bridge?," Mr Cansdell asked.

"The Minister and the Premier are a shame; they could not run a pub chook raffle."

Mr Cansdell's remarks were sparked by the recent announcement that because of new AusLink arrangements, the Government would put the construction of a second bridge at Grafton on hold, despite former premier Bob Carr's promise to build it.

In response to the outburst Mr Tripodi replied: "It is disappointing that the honourable Member for Clarence is screaming out now, whereas during the AusLink process he said nothing on behalf of his constituents; he was absolutely silent."

Mr Cansdell continued to pepper Mr Tripodi yesterday.

"I did this to get the attention of Tripodi and raise my concerns to the rest of the Parliament," Mr Cansdell said yesterday at a press conference at the northern end of the Grafton Bridge.

"We need this bridge as traffic volume has gone from 500 vehicles (daily) in the 1930s to 24,000 and this includes semitrailers and school buses," he said.

NSW Nationals Leader and Shadow Roads Minister Andrew Stoner also spoke at the conference.

"Should we be voted in at the next election in 2007, I give an iron-clad promise that the bridge will be built," Mr Stoner said.

Mr Cansdell and Mr Stoner said it was unacceptable for the Labor Party to break its promise and claimed it was only concerned with areas such as Sydney and Wollongong.



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