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ANDREW WOODWARD

PRESIDENT, COWPER FEDERAL ELECTORATE COUNCIL

BYPASS ANNOUNCEMENT CONFIRMS THE NATIONALS TRIED TO PUT ONE OVER THE PEOPLE OF COFFS HARBOUR

The cost of the Coffs Harbour Bypass under the Nationals has blown out by 50 per cent or more than $600 million.

The federal and NSW Governments on Saturday announced bypass V2.0, with three tunnels and other improvements, would cost $1.8 billion as opposed to $1.171 billion as detailed last September.

The revelation of the price of bypass V2.0 Nationals confirms the Nationals tried to flog Coffs Harbour an El Cheapo sub-standard bypass less than 12 months ago.

The Nationals are so embarrassed by the cost blow-out, they didn’t even mention the price in their news release on Saturday. The price is buried in yet another glossy brochure. All they did was post some weasel words on Facebook and a photo of four men embracing like footballers at the end of Mad Monday.

The decision to include the three tunnels and other improvements is welcome. It appears we’re now getting what we should have got in the first place.

The community now has to put the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the mother-of-all of microscopes. The EIS has to undergo a CSI like forensic examination.

The Nationals owe the people of Coffs Harbour an apology.  We have lost another year under the Nationals.  The need for tunnels was a no brainer, except for the federal and state Nationals who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to where we are now.

Labor now wants to see plans:

  • To minimise the social impact on the many thousands of residents in the construction area.
  • To ensure negative environmental, economic and heritage impacts are minimised or eliminated.
  • To ensure local residents and companies get the first crack at jobs and contracts.
  • For how the bypass project will be used to reduce the areas chronic youth unemployment rate (of nearly one in four).
  • To ensure local sub-contractors get paid (avoiding problems seen on the Woolgoolga to Ballina project).
  • For the rejuvenation of the Coffs Harbour CBD and current highway route post bypass.

The Nationals tried to put one over the people of Coffs Harbour. They lied to the face of the people of Coffs Harbour when they told us last year we were getting a ‘rolled gold’ bypass.

Their original plan would have scarred Coffs forever. Three huge trenches – each bigger than the QE2 cruise ship, untold noise for tens of thousands of people and havoc in our ecosystems were all part of the Nationals original plan.

The Nationals can’t be trusted on the bypass.

BACKGROUND


8 September 2019