The truck involved in the collision north of Ulmarra.
The truck involved in the collision north of Ulmarra.

Man fights for his life

A CAR crash on the Pacific Highway that has a 28-year-old man fighting for his life also has Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson begging.

Cr Williamson said yesterday’s crash at 5am about 2km north of Ulmarra is proof that the NSW Premier Kristina Kenneally needed to join a tour of the highway between Coffs Harbour and Ballina.

“It’s not a time for pride. It’s not a time for pointscoring,” Cr Williamson said.

“It’s time for serious action.

“If it means we need to beg, then I am pleading: Premier, please come to inspect our highway.”

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell has accepted the invitation of the four mayors from Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Richmond Valley and Ballina to tour the 212km of highway that is responsible for about a third of the deaths that occur annually on the Pacific Highway.

“The NSW Liberals and Nationals MPs based on the North Coast constantly bring to my attention the poor state of the Pacific Highway. I’ve witnessed it first hand many times and continue to be astounded by its shocking condition,” Mr O’Farrell said.

Cr Williams was disappointed that the Premier had effectively snubbed the mayors and offered them the alternative of meeting with the Minister for Regional Development Ian Macdonald.

“It seems the Premier does not understand or refuses to understand just how diabolical the situation on the highway is,” he said.

Yesterday’s accident occurred when a black Nissan Navara and a B-double semi-trailer collided head-on along the Pacific Highway just north of Ulmarra.

The driver of the four-wheel drive was extensively injured and taken by road to Coffs Harbour Hospital. He was later airlifted to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital, where he was in a critical condition late yesterday afternoon.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter could not attend the accident because of heavy fog in Lismore.

The highway was closed for several hours following the crash while investigators examined the site.

The 51-year-old male truck driver from Victoria was not injured.

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