June Smith and Pam Soroczynski chat with Leader of the Labor Party Anthony Albanese before his speech at the Coffs Harbour C.ex Club.
June Smith and Pam Soroczynski chat with Leader of the Labor Party Anthony Albanese before his speech at the Coffs Harbour C.ex Club.

Busy day for politicians in Coffs Harbour

While The Nationals were on one side of town spruiking their efforts on the Coffs Harbour Bypass, the Leader of the Labor Party was on the other, describing the party as: "a shallow enabler for Morrison's govern-by-marketing method."

Anthony Albanese was in Coffs for one of his 'headland speeches' all about tapping into the potential of regional Australia.

"The Morrison Government pays lip service to the potential of our regions. It's led by a Prime Minister who, in his eighth year in office, has no jobs plan for regional Australia.

"He's always there for the photo-op, but never there for the follow up.  Put simply, Scott Morrison is all talk, and no walk."

Held at the C.ex Club in Coffs Harbour local faces in the crowd included Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor Denise Knight and president of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Martin Wells.

Mr Albanese touched on the importance of all three levels of government coming together in times of crises drawing parallels between the global financial crisis of 2009 and the Coronavirus.

He said Australia was in a 'Morrison Recession' with no recovery plan.

At times, the three levels of government have been at odds over a number of important issues for the Coffs Harbour community. Recent examples include the proposed $76.5m Cultural and Civic Space and the matter of tunnels as opposed to cuttings on the bypass.

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He highlighted the decades-long wait for the Coffs Harbour Bypass and spoke of his work while Federal Infrastructure Minister.

"The upgrade of the Pacific Highway included delivery of the Kempsey Bypass, which boasts the longest bridge in Australia.

"This project was announced, funded, built and opened during my time as Infrastrucure Minister.

"In contrast, here in Coffs you are still waiting for your bypass. Indeed, it has now been seven years since Tony Abbott first promised that the Coalition would deliver the project - and still not a hole has been dug."

Federal Cowper MP Pat Conaghan, State MP Gurmesh Singh and NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole were also in Coffs Harbour today.
Federal Cowper MP Pat Conaghan, State MP Gurmesh Singh and NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole were also in Coffs Harbour today.

At the same time The Nationals Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and The Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh were at Buchanans Rd announcing that 'early talks' were starting the with construction industry to get the bypass built as quickly as possible once planning approval is granted.

Mr Albanese has long been an advocate for developing a high speed rail link between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra and he spoke about this also.

"It would put Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie under two hours from Sydney or Brisbane. It opens up the possibility of people commuting to capital cities while enjoying the lower cost and lifestyle benefits of regional living."

He was scathing of Premier Gladys Berejiklian's claim that Australia and NSW are not good at building trains.

"Australians are great at building trains. The NSW Premier and her Liberal colleagues in other states are blind to this golden opportunity to create good, secure jobs and broaden our skills base.

Senator for NSW Deb O’Neill, Senator for NSW Tim Ayres, Anthony Albanese, Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson, Senator for NSW Tony Sheldon, and Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government and Member for Blaxland Jason Clare.
Senator for NSW Deb O’Neill, Senator for NSW Tim Ayres, Anthony Albanese, Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson, Senator for NSW Tony Sheldon, and Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government and Member for Blaxland Jason Clare.

"Instead they bought trains from Korea and India which don't fit through some of the Sydney network's tunnels, ferries from Indonesa and China, some of which don't fit under Sydney bridges, trams from Spain and buses from Malaysia."

Health services, particularly those for older Australians, were also touched on.

"Here on the Mid North Coast, there are more than 2,5000 people still waiting for a home care package that has already been approved."

He also spoke of the "folly of the current Government's rejection of fibre-to-the-premises broadband" saying too many businesses in regional Australia continue to be held back by broadband which isn't fast enough or reliable enough.

"It's hard to move into the future when the Government ties us to the past with copper wire.

"Their sentimental attachment to 19th century technology is surely one of the most costly exercises in nostalgia this nation has ever seen."