An election backflip by the Berejiklian Government has been exposed in documents obtained under freedom of information.
In March 2015, days before the State Election, Premier Mike Baird promised $67 million for the “full duplication” of Nelson Bay Road from Stockton to Anna Bay.
Despite appearing in the Government’s 2015-19 Election Commitments document, Freedom of Information documents reveal the funding for the project is not due to commence until after 2021.
At the current pace, voters will face another election before this project is even due to start.
Local MP Kate Washington has regularly questioned the Minister for Roads about this project and its omission from subsequent budget papers.
Last week the Minister again refused to confirm the start date for this project, only stating that “Construction will commence after all relevant statutory approvals have been achieved.”
The FOI documents, labelled ‘sensitive’ confirm that the Department did not want to authorise money to be spent on the approvals process as the Government had delayed the project:
The ERP [Expert Review Panel] are of the view that the SBC [Strategic Business Case] request for $8.2M to undertake project development works over the next 3 years is not warranted if there is no commitment to commence delivery of the program until beyond FY20/21.
Quotes attributable to Jodi McKay MP, Shadow Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight
“This Berejiklian Backflip is an insult to the people of Port Stephens and the Hunter. Premier Baird stood in Port Stephens and promised a full duplication, then failed to deliver.
“The Premier was Treasurer when the decision was made to delay this project. She needs to come clean and explain what role she has played in that decision.”
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP, Member for Port Stephens
“This is a Government that can find $2.5 Billion to knock down and rebuild stadiums, but can’t find the money to deliver their election promise to the people of Port Stephens.
“This is just another broken promise by this morally bereft government.
“We all just wish they’d stop playing politics with my community and do what they said they’d do – fully duplicate Nelson Bay Road."
This item was distributed as a media release on Thursday 22 March 2018.