HIGHWAY SLIP: A caravan jackknifed at 12.15pm yesterday and flipped onto its side, spilling battery acid and oil over the Paci
HIGHWAY SLIP: A caravan jackknifed at 12.15pm yesterday and flipped onto its side, spilling battery acid and oil over the Paci

Tollway inevitable: Minister

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL, Northern Star

FEDERAL Transport Minister Warren Truss has confirmed tolls on the Pacific Highway are increasingly likely if the $10 billion upgrade is to be completed by 2016.

The Roads and Traffic Authority's 2005 costing for the project was $8 billion, but Mr Truss announced on Tuesday it would probably rise to $10 billion.

The deputy leader of the National Party's comments are in stark contrast to the views of his State counterpart, Ballina MP Don Page.

Mr Page believes, despite rising costs, the highway should be publicly funded.

"It's the most important piece of infrastructure on the east coast of Australia," he said.

"Governments can borrow money cheaper than the private sector.

"And private operators need to provide financial dividends to shareholders, whereas the government needs to provide social dividends."

Page MP Ian Causley said he supported the stance of Mr Truss.

"Don Page is entitled to his view, but if he gets into government I think he'll find they won't be able to fund it," he said.

"Tollways are common throughout the world. As long as there's an alternate route I don't have a problem with them."

The NSW and Federal governments signed a memorandum of understanding last year, agreeing to consider funding options, including tolls.

nMeanwhile the final report of the parliamentary inquiry into the Pacific Highway upgrade was released yesterday by General Purpose Standing Committee No4 chairwoman Jenny Gardiner MLC.

"There is great concern about the Government's lack of integrated transport planning for the North Coast," she said.

The report recommends investigating the Summerland Way inland option.



FIREFRONT: Strengthening winds threaten flare ups

FIREFRONT: Strengthening winds threaten flare ups

More than 60 volunteers are tackling one of the blazes

HURRY: Last chance to secure noise cancelling headphones

HURRY: Last chance to secure noise cancelling headphones

News and headphones - better together

Winter lovin' at the Nymboida Camp Oven

Winter lovin' at the Nymboida Camp Oven

GALLERY: All smiles at the Camp Oven Festival

Local Partners