Transcript - Interview with Triple M Coffs Harbour

MOFFEE

Coffs Coast 106.3 Triple M and it’s Moffee with you this morning. It’s a very, very important day today for the Coffs Coast, in particular, the Coffs Harbour Bypass. Let’s talk about it right now. The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Michael McCormack, joins us. Michael, good morning, mate.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Good morning, Moffee.

MOFFEE

What a day, hey?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

I know Pat Conaghan’s very much looking forward to turning the first sod with John Barilaro and I know there’s a number of New South Wales Nationals attending this very important ceremony, because this is what we said we’d do before the end of the year – we would get on with the construction of this all-important bypass. Of course, it’s $1.46 billion committed to deliver this important bypass. More importantly, it’s making sure that we get those heavy vehicles out of the CBD. It’s making sure that the Pacific Highway is what we always said we would do and we always committed to doing. And, look, this is a very exciting day for Coffs.

MOFFEE

It’s been a long time coming. But obviously the Federal Government’s stumping up 80 per cent of the money for it. And it’s going to be a massive difference for the town. I mean, as you said, taking the trucks out. But I think it’s about 12 minutes, I think, they say that it will cut down in time but about 12 sets of traffic lights as well. This is going to make a huge difference with holiday travel now that the rest of the highway is done.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Indeed, you’re right. We’re providing 80 per cent, so it’s a $1.8 billion project. And importantly you mentioned that the time reduced, you mentioned the bypassing the traffic lights and that’s great. But it’s also just actually that frustration of people who may well be, you know, just wanting to continue on to their journey. They don’t have to then unnecessarily divert. They can just get on with going straight up the highway. And whether they’re Coffs residents, whether they’re visitors, whether they’re truckies, it just makes all the difference.

Of course, there’s still provision for them to come into beautiful Coffs Harbour. Why wouldn’t you want to? It’s one of the great coastal cities of Australia. I used to holiday there every year when I got holidays. These days it tends to – the summers just roll into one. It’s just work. But all good. I’m very much looking forward to certainly Christmas, as I think everybody is, after what’s been quite a challenging year. But a year in which despite the challenges, despite COVID and despite the drought and everything else that’s beset our rural and regional communities, in particular, even the bushfires and floods and the weather we’ve had, we’ve got on with construction of infrastructure. It has continued despite everything. And that’s a great thing, Moffee, because that means job and that means local procurement. So I know even with this project there will be a lot of small businesses in and around Coffs Harbour which will benefit from the money that is being spent in and around the town and the region.

MOFFEE

And that’s the extra bonus to it, I guess too, Michael is that, you know, you’re going to have families and you’re going to have people here spending in the town and that dollar just turns over and over and over and it keeps it in the town.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

It regenerates. It regenerates. And these small businesses need every bit of help they can get because, of course, you know we’ve seen a lot of our coastal communities – and they’re great places to visit and holiday – they have, of course, had the restrictions placed on them. And I say again, thanks to those communities and thanks to the people who are listening to this because they’ve done the right thing. They’ve exercised social distancing, they’ve followed the instructions by the health authorities, medical experts. And that’s why our communities have largely remained COVID-free.

I mean, you look at Australia Moffee and our record with COVID-19, yes, we’ve lost 908 people and of course that will be very sad for their families, particularly at Christmas when there’s an empty chair around the table for Christmas lunch and dinner. But you compare us, we’ve only had one death in the last five or six weeks. I mean, they’re dying at two a minute in the United States, and it’s so, so sad what we see elsewhere around the world. But thankfully we’ve opened up that bubble with New Zealand, that Trans-Tasman bubble, so we’ll have two-way travel between the two countries. And that’s the catalyst for what I think will be more international travel in 2021. We get the vaccine right and we continue with the construction of the Coffs Bypass.

I know Pat Conaghan, the Member for Cowper, he’s delighted. Of course he’s lobbied and fought for this. He made it one of his election pledges. And as we know, Pat Conaghan delivers.

MOFFEE

Michael, have a wonderful Christmas, and we’ll chat again soon.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

I’ll look forward to it. Good on you, Moffee.

MOFFEE

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, joining us this morning. And he plans to hopefully be up here a little bit later on today. The weather, though, turning away the planes at the moment.

Media contacts:

Jo Williamson, 0418 475 668
Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860