The National Party candidate for Cowper has continued the Coffs Harbour truth bypass and demonstrated an astonishing lack of knowledge about how government’s work.

This week’s federal budget included no increased allocation for the Coffs Harbour Bypass to cover the cost of tunnels, announced on 15 January 2019.

In a train wreck interview, Mr Patrick Conaghan told Mr Michael Moffett on Radio Triple M this morning that the cost of the tunnels couldn’t be in the budget because the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) hadn’t been completed.

If this is the case, how then did the federal government come to allocate and announce $971 million in last year’s budget when the EIS hadn’t been done on the previous version of the bypass?

This proves the fallacy of the Nationals position.

CONAGHAN: The issue that was raised by the Labor candidate is that for some reason we’re supposed to know what the costing are prior to receiving the Environmental Impact Statement for the costings on the tunnels. That money can’t be committed to until we have the Environment Impact Statement back and (it) goes through the community consultative committee.

Mr Conaghan has no idea what he is talking about and is making things up to get past election day.

Secondly, he demonstrated that he has no idea about how governments work.

I would have thought this is a basic requirement for an aspiring member of parliament.

His comments on Triple M were embarrassing.

MOFFETT: And because, this is the point that you make there as well, and it is spot on, you know, just like anyone else you are waiting for the EIS, you can’t put in money there that you don’t know what it is going to be costing, yet you are still committing to the bypass and you would be stupid to put in, you know, the money for the additional tunnels in this budget considering that this budget isn’t, you know, probably using that money anyway.

CONAGHAN: And that’s exactly right. And if we just simplify, bring it down to say a level of a household budget, if you are budgeting weekly or monthly, you will not put in there the costings for something you are not going to use in the next six months.

MOFFETT: Exactly.

CONAGHAN: It is simply going to be a forecast projection. It is in the back of your mind. We’re waiting on an invoice or a costing from maybe a builder or a tradie and then that will go in the forecast projections.

MOFFETT: Mmmm, exactly right.

No, it is not exactly right. Far from it.

Government’s do forecast income and expenditure – that’s what the whole budget is all about!

Mr Conaghan should read the Treasurer’s speech. (Note 2) The budget delivered by the Treasurer has policy forecasts going out to 2030.

Further, the Treasurer in his speech said: “Tonight, I can announce that the Coalition Government is boosting our infrastructure spending to $100 billion over the decade.”

The government has made a commitment to build tunnels on the Coffs Harbour Bypass and it should have put an allocation aside for them, even if it is an estimate or contingency.

The Nationals have at their disposal the full resources of the NSW Roads and Maritime Services and the Federal Department of Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development.

They have all of the experts; all of the reports; all of the studies; all of the background information. They have everything. The Labor Opposition doesn’t. The Government does.

The same people who came up with $971 million for bypass version #1 without an EIS should have done the same for version #2 and put in in the budget as they did 12 months ago.

It is ridiculous to suggest these government agencies couldn’t provide a forecast.

The Nationals know how much the tunnels are costing.

Don’t believe the PR spin.

The Nationals have to stop the truth bypass.



Note 1, Audio: LINK

Note 2, Speech: LINK

Labor’s position on the bypass and tunnels: LINK