'No change on Hwy spending'
WHILE Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester confirmed in Question Time the Turnbull Government invested less than 70% of the $8b promised in the 2014 budget on infrastructure in 2015-16, Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker gave assurances the reduced spending has no effect on the Pacific Hwy upgrade.
Mr Chester said the cut was due to the re-phasing of investment into future years.
The bulk of the cuts are due to the cancellation of Federal funding for major public transport projects like Brisbane's Cross River Rail project and the Melbourne Metro but there were concerns the cuts would also mean slowing the pace of the Pacific Hwy upgrade.
Mr Hartsuyker said this isn't the case.
"The Federal Government made an election commitment of $5.64b for the Pacific Hwy upgrade. This has not changed," Mr Hartsuyker said.
The Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister said that in terms of cash flow to pay for the upgrade, expenditure is dependent on construction progress or phasing of the project.
"Expenditure is dependent on progress, which can be stalled by wet weather and other mitigating factors," he said.
"I am working with my Coalition colleagues to ensure the Pacific Hwy upgrade is complete by 2020."
Mr Hartsuyker added he's working on accelerating progress on the Coffs Harbour bypass.
Early works have started on the bypass with test drilling being conducted earlier this month.
"An Environmental Impact Statement is currently being worked up with an expected display date of mid to late 2017 for public comment," he said.