Budget 2015 will see Pacific Highway duplication done
13 May 2015
After almost 20 years, the Federal Budget shows that the duplication of the Pacific Highway is fully funded and will be completed by the end of this decade.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss today confirmed the completion of the upgrade—providing a four-lane highway from Hexham to the Queensland border—is now within sight.
“The Coalition's commitment has been clear from Day 1—the Pacific Highway will be duplicated by the end of this decade,” Mr Truss said.
“Upgrading the Pacific Highway has been in the works since 1996.
“Our $5.64 billion investment over the five years to 2018-19 is making the dream a reality, with $542 million being pumped into projects in 2015-16 alone. Come 2019-20, funds are not required because the duplication will be complete.
“This is fantastic news for the long-suffering communities and commuters on the Pacific Highway.
“We have driven progress by working constructively with New South Wales and restoring the 80:20 funding split Labor abandoned, with the Australian Government providing the lion's share to deliver for NSW mid and north coast communities.
“Just last month we announced the preferred delivery partner for the 155 kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade—the largest and last piece of the puzzle.
“For the broader Pacific Highway upgrade, 397 kilometres are already a four-lane divided highway. When the delivery partner kicks off major works on Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade later this month, the remaining 278 kilometres of the Pacific Highway duplication will all be underway.”
Mr Truss said the productivity benefits of finishing the Pacific Highway will return a major dividend to the Australian and New South Wales economies on the Australian Government's $5.64 billion investment.
“Previous analysis has shown that every dollar spent on the Pacific Highway upgrade is expected to provide a return of over three-times the initial investment,” he said.
“By the end of the decade, motorists will be saving approximately two-and-a-half hours of travel time compared to when the upgrade was started in 1996, and those savings increase if you are driving a heavy vehicle.
“Freight operators stand to reap billions of dollars in freight benefits over the life of the upgrades once the duplication is complete.
“Even before construction is complete, the economy stands to benefit greatly. Some 4,000 people will work directly on the Pacific Highway upgrade at its construction peak, with a further 12,000 jobs to be supported indirectly.
“That means the economic benefits travel all the way from major construction material suppliers to local businesses in communities along the highway.”
A full list of upgrades on the Pacific Highway funded in the Australian Government's five-year $5.64 billion investment is available online at: http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/projects/pacifichighway.aspx