Fight for highway funding

Kiama MP Gareth Ward wants his own goverment - and the federal government - to fund the final stage of the Princes Highway upgrade.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward wants his own goverment - and the federal government - to fund the final stage of the Princes Highway upgrade.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward is pushing both his own government and Liberals in Canberra to put up the money for more Princes Highway upgrades.

Mr Ward, who is also Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, moved a motion in parliament late last week calling for the state and federal governments “to fund stage 3 of the Gerringong to Bomaderry Princes Highway Upgrade, between Berry and Bomaderry”.

Stage one of the Princes Highway upgrade at Gerringong is complete and stage two, which includes the Berry bypass, is fully funded.

I’m taking on my own side of politics and will continue to apply pressure until this road is complete. - Gareth Ward

Both projects were paid for by the NSW government.

Planning for the final stage of Berry to Bomaderry is being funded by the state government but, as yet, there is no money for construction.

“This motion pulls no punches and calls on both levels of government to deliver the funds necessary to complete the highway upgrade between Berry and Bomaderry,” Mr Ward said.

“I’m taking on my own side of politics and will continue to apply pressure until this road is complete.

“One of the reasons I first stood for Parliament was to fix the Princes Highway.

“By putting forward this Notice of Motion, I’m using the parliament as the appropriate forum to continue to apply pressure for this important local project.”

The issue of funding this stretch of the Princes Highway has led to a war of words between Mr Ward and federal Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis.

Ms Sudmalis had said it was the state government’s own fault it had not received federal funding as it had not listed the project in its submission to the Australian Infrastructure Investment Program.

“Continued calls for the federal government to contribute to the work are doomed to fall on deaf ears because the state government has not done the background work required to make federal funding possible,” Ms Sudmalis said.

Therefore the federal government’s “hands were tied”, she said.

Mr Ward disputed that and went over Mrs Sudmalis’ head, writing directly to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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