The NSW National Party candidate for the state seat of Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh, last night made two key statements at the Coffs Harbour Bypass Action Group candidates’ forum. These statements require immediate clarification from the federal government.

First, Mr Singh confirmed what was in the leaked draft media release of 15 January 2019 that Bypass version 2.0 would have “three new tunnels” and not just “tunnels” as announced by the NSW Government earlier this month.

Second, Mr Singh said he ‘assumed’ that any additional funds for the Bypass would be included in the Federal Budget to be handed down by Morrison Government on Tuesday, 2 April 2019.

Obviously, the National parties nationally and in NSW have a plan and costings that they are keeping secret. They haven’t learned a thing from the shambles of Bypass version 1.0.

Mr Singh’s disclosures last night reveal two things.

First, the Nationals have a good idea of how much extra the “three tunnels” will cost but they’re keeping this secret. They should announce this figure today.

Second, the much touted “Coffs Harbour Bypass Community Consultative Committee” is nothing more than another PR and time-buying exercise by the Nationals.

If they already have a design with three tunnels in mind and know enough to put a figure in the federal budget for delivery in eight weeks time, then the committee has no real purpose.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Transport must immediately confirm:

  1. The Bypass will have three tunnels, as per Mr Singh’s announcement last night.
  2. How much the three tunnels will cost.
  3. That the additional funding for the bypass’ three tunnels will be included in the 2 April 2019 budget, as per Mr Singh’s comment.
  4. If the federal government is committed to continuing the “80/20 federal/state” funding arrangement for the additional costs of the three tunnels.

Further, Mr McCormack needs to explain why he and the invisible National Party Candidate for Cowper, didn’t rate a mention in the NSW Government’s announcement of 15 January 2019.

Given that the Commonwealth is funding 80 per cent of the cost of the project and Mr McCormack visited Coffs to make the shambolic Bypass 1.0 announcement, why were he and his candidate missing from the 15 January 2019 announcement?

As I have said from May last year when this sham was taking shape, the Nationals need to stop PR spin. They need to lay down a slab of honesty and be open with the people of Coffs Harbour. The truth bypass has to stop.