I was horrified to read the story in the Molong Express from the new member for Orange on roads in the area. I would like to take the opportunity to set the record straight. It is apparent the new member is not aware of the historic levels of spending in his own electorate yet is attacking me for building infrastructure in other parts of the state. If the new member was genuinely concerned about roads in his area and representing his constituents he could have contacted me.
The former member for Orange and I had a good working relationship, he came to me and shared the communities concerns about roads in the area and now they can look out their car windows to see the work we have undertaken; upgrading the Great Western, Newell and Mitchell Highways, delivering extra overtaking lanes on Bells Line of Road and building new structures like Nashdale Bridge on Cargo Road.
Since 2011, we have provided a 62 per cent increase in grant funding to councils in the Orange electorate compared to previous Labor governments. Some of the major projects delivered in cooperation with the former member and I since 2011:
• More than $754 million invested to upgrade Great Western Highway – 45 percent increase compared to Labor
• We have already spent a record $400 million to upgrade Newell Highway
• And when you include the extra $500 million commitment under Rebuild NSW, that equates to a 177 percent increase compared to Labor
• Major $40 million upgrade of Mitchell Highway at Guanna Hill
• Investing $4 million to upgrade roads in Orange including $2 million to fast-track the Southern Feeder Road and $2 million for extra overtaking lanes on Cargo Road.
• $2.8 million to help upgrade the Forest Road Rail Bridge as part of the NSW Fixing Country Roads.
We heard from the community when they wanted bike paths across the Central West so we are also investing historic funds to deliver them– with a number already completed in Forbes and an additional $2 million has been provided to Orange City Council to build cycle paths across the city.
The member for Orange is insistent on criticising the NSW Government’s commitment to building cycle paths – is he already out of touch with the communities of the Central West? Don’t they deserve to have important infrastructure like bike paths? I am sure many people were disappointed as I was to see this criticism of the Roads Minister by their new local member rather than trying to build a constructive relationship.
Minister Roads Maritime and Freight