Postcard delivers cut to roadwork
THE State Government has come under fire for wasting money on ‘propaganda’ about the Pacific Highway upgrade when much-needed highway works in the Clarence Valley remain unfunded.
Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, last week called on the Premier, the Minister for Roads, and the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) to disclose the cost of a postcard, pictured, recently distributed to households along the Pacific Highway from Hexham to Tweed Heads.
The postcard contains a map of the highway route, some basic information and the announcement of more funding.
The RTA has since informed The Daily Examiner the postcard cost about $65,000 to produce and distribute.
While the leaflet cost a lot less than the $150,000 estimated by Mr Fraser last week, his criticism of the postcard’s lack of information stands.
“The leaflet, which has been printed on recycled paper in full colour, gives no information other than the fact that the NSW Labor Government had committed a further $3.6 billion to continue the Pacific Highway upgrade into the future,” Mr Fraser said.
“This leaflet is an extravagant waste of taxpayers funds that would be better spent on road safety measures.”
The MP said the money would have been better spent funding extra highway patrol officers on the Pacific Highway over the January holiday period or to extend the holiday traffic-policing period through to the end of the school holidays.
An RTA spokesperson defended the leaflet, saying the ‘Plan for the Pacific Highway’ postcard was part of its strategy to keep residents informed.
“The RTA considers community involvement in the Pacific Highway upgrade critical and believes keeping the community up to date is important,” the spokesperson said.
But Mr Fraser said the RTA should be spending money on improving roads and not ‘propaganda’.
“I also note that the RTA website has been upgraded to include videos and other propaganda. Surely the money spent on this and the upgrade of this website would have been far better spent on road safety,” he said.
Just last month Clarence Valley residents were told their section of the Pacific Highway would not be upgraded to a dual carriageway for at least five years after it was given low priority.
This was despite the Clarence Valley section of highway claiming nine lives last year.