|About this Item||Subjects||Road Safety; Roads
||Speakers||Fraser Mr Andrew
||Business||Private Members Statements
Mr ANDREW FRASER (Coffs Harbour) [5.15 p.m.]: Yet again I speak about the Bonville bypass. I thank Minister Costa for meeting a delegation of me, mayor Mark Troy and engineer Ken Wilson from Bellingen Shire Council, and mayor Keith Rhodes and general manager Mark Ferguson from Coffs Harbour City Council concerning not only the Bonville bypass but the Coffs Harbour bypass and general safety issues with regard to the Pacific Highway from Perrys Hill right through to Woolgoolga. Although the Minister gave us a very good hearing, I am extremely disappointed with the response so far. I said to the Minister at the meeting, especially in relation to the Bonville bypass and the road from Sapphire to Woolgoolga, that as an interim measure as a matter of urgency we need to have the road widened slightly, if necessary, to put in a dividing barrier down the middle.
Tragically since that meeting two deaths have occurred between Woolgoolga and Coffs Harbour, both of which would have been avoided, I believe, if there had been such a division. One young fellow 17 years of age coming home from work at about midnight veered across to the other side of the road in fairly heavy rain—we will probably never know what happened—into the path of an oncoming semitrailer and was killed, which was an absolute tragedy. I am certain that that accident would not have happened if there had been a divided concrete barrier or wire or whatever.
I appeal to the Minister and the Government to urgently address this issue. There have been seven deaths in two years. A woman's daughter and niece from Gosford were killed in the area that is going to be bypassed by the Bonville bypass, so not only locals but people from outside the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen local government areas are being killed on parts of that highway that I believe are somewhat treacherous. Last week the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Roads issued a media release concerning Bonville that stated:
Construction of a dual carriageway on the Pacific Highway at Bonville has been given the go ahead, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Roads Eric Roozendaal said today.
Mr Roozendaal said planning approval documents for the 9.6 kilometre upgrade south of Coffs Harbour would be on display from Monday 2 May to Friday 27 May.
He continued with 1½ pages of diatribe and at the end stated:
The RTA is currently preparing contract documents to invite tenders to construct the project and property acquisitions are being finalised.
I stress, preparing the documents "to invite tenders". That is not the go ahead that he wants us to believe. The release stated:
Planning for the Bonville Upgrade is funded by the Carr Government as part of is $1.6 billion commitment …
The Minister said at the time of our meeting that he thought the Federal Government would assist in funding a motorway on the North Coast. I said to him that if there is to be a motorway on the North Coast, this section of road should form part of it. This piece of road has been in the budget documents since 1997. The Government has now displayed planning documents. I am stumped that one of the documents on display that was covered by Mr Roozendaal's media release is a "Decision Report—2003" The other document on display is dated August last year from the director-general. I think we have been hoodwinked. I want the Minister to prove to me, the people of Coffs Harbour, the mayor of Bellingen, the mayor of Coffs Harbour and others who are concerned that he is not playing politics and risking the lives of people who travel on this stretch of road.
There have been far too many deaths on this section of road to be putting out old documentation, saying the works are in the planning process, and having the Minister say the New South Wales Government is looking for Federal Government support, when this has always been listed as a State Government road project. I am saying to the Government: Fund this work; get in and get it started; get the road barriers there now and do not mislead us. We want an allocation in the budget this year for this section of road. We want to see it started in the next 12 months. We are sick and tired of police officers, fire brigade officers and others having to go and pick up bodies on that section of road. This action is required immediately. [Time expired.]