Firm on Pacific Highway upgrade

THE Federal Government will have the entire Pacific Highway upgraded by 2016, Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin said yesterday.

Ms Saffin's comments follow a report in The Northern Star yesterday saying Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese had failed to guarantee the completion of the project by the 2016 deadline.

In an interview at Goonellabah on Saturday, Mr Albanese said the Government would have 85 per cent of the highway network between Brisbane and Melbourne upgraded by 2014.

However, when pressed about the 2016 deadline for the entire Pacific Highway and NRMA claims it could not be finished by then, he was less precise.

“Well, it's hard to be held to account for previous governments,” Mr Albanese told The Northern Star. “$3.1 billion has been allocated (by the Federal Labor Government); the money's there, the work is taking place. It's all going towards meeting our objective of 2016 for full completion. By 2014, we will have achieved 85pc. All we can do is certainly do our best to meet those objectives. What we've done is allocate the funding which will make a major contribution towards meeting that (2016) objective.”

In discussions the following day, a spokesman for Mr Albanese, when asked for clarification of the Minister's comments, said the Government was committed to the objective of 2016, but declined to offer a more definitive guarantee.

However, Page MP Janelle Saffin, after further discussions with Mr Albanese's office yesterday, said the Government was committed to completing the full upgrade by 2016.

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