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Hartsuyker: Coffs Harbour Bypass remains a priority

Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has renewed a call for action on the Coffs Harbour Bypass with the incoming Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester. Last Wednesday the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull released a report by independent body Infrastructure Australia. “The report … has rightly listed the Pacific Highway as a priority, in particular that the Coffs Harbour Bypass is of national significance,” Mr Hartsuyker said. “As the Opposition dithered last week, refusing to commit to a Coffs Harbour Bypass at all,” Mr Hartsuyker said he had spoken directly to Minister Chester in a “push to accelerate action on planning, funding and construction of the $1 billion project”. “I made it very clear to Mr Chester even before being sworn in as the minister, that we need to get moving on planning the start of the Coffs Harbour Bypass construction,” Mr Hartsuyker said. “I have invited Mr Chester to the Cowper electorate to see first-hand how the Coffs Harbour pinch-point cripples mobility across the city and impinges freight movement across the state. “We have one of the worst stretches of congested roads in New South Wales, and I’ve made it clear to Mr Chester we are a priority project – we cannot be left the only city not bypassed when the Pacific Highway Upgrade is finished. “It is clear that Labor and [shadow minister for transport & infrastructure] Anthony Albanese do not care about the traffic gridlock in our city and have no interest in building a Coffs Harbour Bypass,” he said. “Mr Albanese last week refused to even commit to the Coffs Harbour Bypass, despite the preferred route being locked in, significant numbers of properties acquired and concept plans being developed. “The Coffs Harbour Bypass will create jobs for locals and inject millions of dollars into the local economy; so we need to get workforce planning underway and businesses indirectly supplying goods and services to the Project need time to prepare.” Meanwhile, reacting to Mr Hartsuyker’s comments, Mr Albanese told the Independent in an emailed response to the paper’s inquiry: “Luke Hartsuyker has been in Parliament for 15 years without troubling the scorer when it comes to any project on the Pacific Highway. “Not only did the promise on the Coffs Harbour Bypass, made on a morning during the last election campaign, not make it to the afternoon, but Mr Hartsuyker also needed a federal Labor government to fund the Kempsey Bypass, Frederickton to Eungai, Nambucca Heads to Urunga and Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads.”