Funding fight goes on
FIX the Pacific Highway is a message that will be driven home in political centres this weeks as local leaders take the campaign to Canberra and Sydney.
Fully aware of the Daily Examiner's campaign to fix the highway, and of the video of close to 70 valley residents urging politicians to do just that, State member for the Clarence Chris Gulaptis went to Sydney for this week's parliamentary session.
While he said there was no way to get the video played to the parliament he would try to get the campaign to fix the highway acknowledged through a Community Recognition Notice.
Mr Gulaptis said this was a way to recognise the campaign which is about community involvement and keeping politicians honest.
The bi-partisan campaign recognised political promises have been broken, and kept the focus on what was important, getting the highway fixed he said.
Despite both the state and federal governments delivering budgets recently, the issue of funding wasn't closed he said.
"I'm urging both levels of government to keep looking at it," Mr Gulaptis said.
He was planning meetings with the Roads Minster and treasury to continue to explore different options.
Meanwhile in Canberra today local Mayor Richie Williamson and Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades, Pacific Highway Taskforce members, have a meeting with the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese.
Federal member for Page Janelle Saffin will also be at the meeting.
Mr Rhoades said the primary aim was to make sure the current standoff over funding responsibilities didn't become entrenched.
There were funds in place for construction and further planning for new works up to 2014, but if the impasse wasn't bridged, work on the highway could come to a standstill, he said.
A spokesman for Mr Albanese said Federal government funding earmarked for the highway, but dependent on matched State funding, would not be diverted to other uses.
This satisfies a key concern of the taskforce.
Pacific Highway Taskforce facts
All 15 mayors of councils that include the Pacific Highway from Port Stephens to Tweed Heads are members of the Pacific Highway Taskforce.
Local mayor Richie Williamson is the Taskforce chairman
Other members of the Taskforce include the NRMA and the Doctors for a Safe Pacific Highway
The primary goal of the Taskforce is to secure government funding, both state and federal, to upgrade the highway to a dual carriageway.