The NSW Nationals team including Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Toole and federal and state MPs have travelled from Hexham to the Tweed to officially open of the final leg of the Pacific Highway upgrade.
For more than two decades NSW Nationals MPs have fought tooth and nail for upgrades to the Pacific Highway and despite state and federal Labor governments starving the regions of funding during part of that time, we have finally realised our vision.
The benefits of having this project completed are obvious: a safer road for travellers and locals, the creation of over 40,000 jobs and the unlocking of economic potential for generations to come.
This is exactly the sort of project the founders of our movement envisioned when they proudly dedicated themselves to working for regional and rural communities. The NSW Nationals have rightfully celebrated this incredible accomplishment by meeting with locals and stakeholders along the coast, before officially opening the final stretch of duplicated road.
Remembering those lost
However, we cannot celebrate without pausing and remembering what prompted the upgrade in the first place.
The tragic bus crashes at Clybucca and Cowper were terrible, and we resolved to make sure they would not be repeated.
The Clybucca crash remains Australia’s worst road accident with 35 lives lost and another 41 injured. The Cowper tragedy saw 21 people lose their lives and 22 others injured.
These crashes and others like them were the catalyst for major road safety upgrades which have in years past saved countless lives.