Letter: New highway is saving lives

I refer to the article published November 22 titled ‘Highway ‘Facts’’. 

The author refers to me ‘waxing lyrical’ at the opening of the upgrade of the Oxley Highway to Kundabung section of the Pacific Highway and states that the highway is ‘federally funded’. 

This is incorrect. Since the Pacific Highway upgrade program started $11.4 billion has been invested by both the Australian and NSW governments. 

This particular section of the highway cost $820 million, where the NSW Government invested 45 per cent of this cost. In fact, since 2011 the NSW Liberal/National Government has invested $1.75 billion in the Pacific Highway in the Oxley and Port Macquarie electorates.

The letter also refers to the story told on the Pacific Highway not respecting the people that have lost their lives, stating; ‘those that died are not given the respect of being remembered’. 

(Editor’s Note: The related story does in fact pay respects to the lives lost: Upgrade of horror highway stretch brings hope)

I have lived on the Mid North Coast for over four decades, I was part of this community when the Pacific Highway was referred to as “The Goat Track”.  

I have friends that are part of the highway’s road statistics and that will always be a reason for me to continue to advocate for country NSW to get its fair share. 

Since we began upgrading the highway, we have seen fatalities more than halve from over 50 to fewer than 25. And we will continue our work to improve infrastructure and invest in making NSW roads safer until that number reaches zero. 

I thank the Port Macquarie News for allowing me to set the record straight. 

Melinda Pavey

Member for Oxley

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight

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