DUTY Upper House Member for Upper Hunter Mick Veitch believes recent comments by Nationals Leader John Barilaro that he would honour all of the former Roads Minister’s commitments meant there were simply no excuses left for the ongoing delays behind the proposed Muswellbrook bypass.
Mr Barilaro announced at a Far Western NSW Councils meeting in February that he would keep all of the promises made by Duncan Gay, including the Muswellbrook bypass.
“He was quoted as saying ‘there have been no decisions since Mr Gay left the Ministry that has changed from what he left and, in relation to going forward, we will make sure all of our commitments are funded,” Mr Veitch explained.
“Labor said the National Party was notorious for saying one thing and doing the other when it came to funding commitments.
“In the lead up to the last state election, Michael Johnson told the community the state government’s $68 million commitment to a Muswellbrook bypass was for ‘actual construction’.
“Yet last month, the Roads and Maritime Service told Muswellbrook Shire Council that they had ‘nothing to present’, could not explain the cancellation of community consultation last year, and would not commit to critical environmental assessment by June this year.
“Slipping deadlines will threaten any future application for federal funding.
“Labor feared that existing commitments in the regions were under threat given the new Premier’s recent spate of unfunded road announcements on Sydney’s north shore.”
Mr Veitch said either the National Party was committed to building the Muswellbrook bypass or it’s not – simple as that.
“Word is that the Nationals are up to their old tricks of saying one thing in the regions and then turning tail when they come back to Sydney,” he added.
“The Premier is running around announcing unfunded road tunnels in Sydney and the money has got to come from somewhere.
“My fear is that when push comes to shove - the regions will miss out under an increasingly rattled Liberal government in Sydney.”