Sydney-centric journalist can't see beyond the Harbour Bridge
A Sydney Morning Herald journalist perched in his Pyrmont office has managed to drag his gaze from Sydney Harbour long enough to pen an analysis article, that concludes too much money has been spent on “not especially important” regional roads and country highways.
How does he come up with the idea? By rehashing a report by the Grattan Institute released in April 2016 which claims The National Party were leveraging too much political influence and wasting funds in regional NSW!
However considering city-centric journos have a history of focussing solely on the needs and wants of Sydney and Melbourne, we should take such articles like this with a grain of salt. While they are happy to have a crack at the Honourable Duncan Gay and his tenure as Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, they ignore the chronic underinvestment in regional areas which occurred over 16 years under the Carr-Iemma Labor Government.
They do not consider the cost required to repair our groundwork after years of neglect and mismanagement. Nor do they consider the backlog of wooden and outdated bridges to replace, local roads to fix, broken highways to widen and common safety infrastructure to build that those in the city would consider fundamental features on their roads.
Duncan Gay has spent almost 30 years fighting tooth and nail for every penny that he was finally able to commit to regional roads and freight channels over the past six years in his role as Minister. With him at the helm of the Roads portfolio, National Party MPs and regional electorates finally had their concerns heard. The progress that has been made is astounding.
$24.7 billion has been spent on regional roads and upgrades to the Pacific and Great Western Highway (which were well overdue) are on track as well as to the Snowy Mountains, Newell, Mitchell, Cobb Highway and the Carrs Creek Bridge in Bathurst.
Regional residents can be assured that the newly appointed Nationals Minister for Road, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, will continue this focus to bring our roads up to scratch.
The roads portfolio belongs in National Party hands because we make no apologies for delivering funding where it is needed most – whether that be in the country or the city – to make our roads are safe.
If that means for standing up to make sure regional NSW receives its fair share, then so be it.
Regional NSW needs to continue to be the focus for infrastructure spending in order to make up for the deficit of years gone by and to build the foundation for our towns and cities to maximise their potential.
You can be assured that if Labor returns to Government and get their hands on the roads portfolio, regional NSW will again be ignored and our city-dwelling journalists can rest well once more.
We simply can’t afford to let that happen.