Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis hits back at calls for more federal highway funding

FLASHBACK: 2014 - RMS development manager David Corry and regional manager Renae Elrington brief then Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash, federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs and Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis on the progress of the proposed third crossing of the Shoalhaven River.
FLASHBACK: 2014 - RMS development manager David Corry and regional manager Renae Elrington brief then Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash, federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs and Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis on the progress of the proposed third crossing of the Shoalhaven River.

GILMORE MP Ann Sudmalis has dismissed calls from local state MPs for a fairer funding split for the Princes Highway, saying it is not a federal responsibility.

Last week Kiama and South Coast MPs Gareth Ward and Shelley Hancock turned up the heat on the federal government and Mrs Sudmalis for a fairer share of funding for the Princes Highway, launching a petition calling on the government to commit to an 80-20 split for all Princes Highway funding, as has happened in other regions.

Mrs Sudmalis said the local state members knew full well the Princes Highway was not currently recognised as part of the National Land Transport Network.

“That means it is solely the responsibility of the NSW state government,” she said.

She said the federal government had committed more than $116 million to the electorate of Gilmore since 2013.

“This includes $20 million in Financial Assistance Grants, and a further $20 million in Roads to Recovery funding,” Mrs Sudmalis said.

“We have committed $10 million towards the planning costs of designing the new Shoalhaven River Bridge, with NSW contributing $1.6 million.

“As a responsible government we are waiting on the costs from the business case to be finalised before committing taxpayer funding.”

“The Princes Highway is solely the responsibility of the NSW government. The local state members know that.”

Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis

Mrs Sudmalis said current environmental studies and design investigations were a critical part of the project development and commitments of further funding would be premature.

“The project concept design is approaching 80 per cent completion,” she said.

“We’re hoping that the final cost estimates are released before the end of 2017.

“If NSW wish for the bridge to start sooner we would welcome the delivery of the business case from them.”

Mrs Sudmalis said the federal government’s plan to improve regional infrastructure helps the Shoalhaven with improved freight efficiency, connectivity and productivity within the Wollongong and Illawarra region, particularly between Port Kembla and key regional industries.

“In the region, the federal governments is also contributing $42 million to upgrade the M1 Princes Motorway between Picton Road and Bulli Tops to improve traffic flow along Mount Ousley Road,” she said.

“We will continue to work with the NSW government, as we do with each state and territory, to determine and fund priority projects.”