Motorists travelling north and south on the Pacific Highway will face lengthy traffic jams at Coffs Harbour this holiday period thanks to the mismanagement of the Coffs Harbour Bypass project by the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government.

Post-Christmas and New Year traffic jams of up to 30 kilometres can be expected either side of Coffs in peak periods, delaying holidaymakers by over two hours and more.

It will also cause chaos for locals from Coffs, Bellingen, Dorrigo, Sawtell, Valla, Nambucca and Coffs’ northern beaches who have essential travel for work and family events. Anyone travelling to Coffs Airport will have to allow a few hours driving time. All of this will keep people at home, impacting local small businesses at what would be the busiest time of the year for some.

And this will be a regular problem until mid-next decade, due to bungling by the Nationals on the Coffs Harbour Bypass.

The Nationals have created a mess. This was an avoidable problem.

The Labor funded Pacific Highway upgrade between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour was completely opened mid this year.

However, motorists will crawl in and out of Coffs Harbour and its surroundings as motorists hit roundabouts in the south and traffic lights in the north.

Thanks to the National Party, we’re likely to face the ‘Coffs Christmas Crawl’ until mid-way through next decade, when the bypass is completed. And the crawl will happen in the new year and at Easter.

Despite being in government in Canberra since 2013 and in Sydney since 2011, the federal and state Liberal and National Party governments did nothing to have the Coffs Harbour Bypass ready to coincide with the completion of the Port to Coffs section of the Pacific Highway upgrade or anywhere close to it.

And their bungle of the Coffs Harbour Bypass now threatens even more delays.

When Labor left office in Sydney in 2011 and Canberra in 2013, the Liberal and National Governments were handed a Concept Design Report (including three tunnels) for the Coffs Harbour Bypass and chose to do nothing with it.

They dusted it off this year with precarious federal and state elections approaching but instead of doing it right, they have gone for the ‘El Cheapo’ option and dumped the tunnels for trenches which are higher, noisier, uglier and dirtier.

The former Federal Labor Government invested $7.9 billion on the Pacific Highway – six times the amount the former Howard Government invested over 12 years. Since 2013, the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government hasn’t invested any new money in the Coffs Harbour Bypass, except for a paltry $10 million this year for “planning”. 

The National Party has spent the past years claiming credit for projects initiated by the former federal Labor Government. The truth is, the only contribution by the National Party to these was to turn up at the openings and cut ribbons.


Fact sheet

Projects opened since 2010

1. Oxley Highway to Kundabung (23 km opened in 2017)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 20 March 2013

2. Kundabung to Kempsey (14 km opened in 2017)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 11 July 2013

3. Kempsey Bypass (15 km opened in 2013)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 17 November 2009

4. Frederickton to Eungai (27 km opened in 2016)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 16 December 2012

5. Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads (20 km opened by June 2018, six months late)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 11 July 2013

6. Nambucca Heads to Urunga (22 km opened in 2016)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 21 December 2012

7. Sapphire and Woolgoolga (25 km opened in 2014)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 10 August 2010

8. Woolgoolga to Ballina (155 km – to be completed in 2020)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 12 June 2013

9 Ballina Bypass (12 km opened in 2012)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 23 May 2008

10 Tintenbar to Ewingsdale (17km opened in 2015)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 8 May 2012

11 Banora Point (3km opened in 2012)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 14 August 2009

12 Coffs Harbour Bypass Concept Design (2008)

Anthony Albanese News Release, 23 September 2008



The Rudd/Gillard federal Labor Governments provided $7.9 billion and the NSW Labor and Liberal-National Governments provided $2.5 billion.