Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis has driven a wedge between the federal government and her state counterparts, by launching a ‘Build Our Bridge’ campaign in a bid to speed up costing projections for the Nowra Bridge.
The Roads and Maritime Services bridge planning project is under way, the concept plan has been released and is open for community consultation.
The ballpark figure is between $350-400 million for the bridge and upgrade of six nearby intersections.
However, Mrs Sudmalis wants a dollar figure for the project, and has launched a petition to encourage the RMS to finalise the bridge plans.
Mrs Sudmalis denied the petition was a way of applying pressure on the state government.
“It doesn’t say how much the state is putting in, or how much the federal government is putting in, all it’s saying is, build our bridge,” she said.
“The idea is to get a groundswell of public support to say to my prime minister and my treasurer that we really need to fund this bridge.
“Now, I have a ballpark figure.
“The current consultation is about tweaking the design of the intersections, but four years ago almost to the month, it was announced this is the location for the bridge, on the western side of the existing iron bridge.
“Right now, the state government has said they’re going to be responsible for the maintenance of the existing bridge, what we need is a groundswell of support to go to the prime minister to say, when we’ve got this final number, we’re going to fund it.
“I want a very solid commitment about what we’re going to put towards this bridge construction.”
Mrs Sudmalis said she had hoped for the figures around the end of last year.
“I’m not prepared to wait another two years before I get those numbers and I go cap in hand to the prime minister and treasurer and ask for funding,” she said.
“Let’s get it into the estimates now, let’s get it solidified now, so we know our government is firmly committed to this community.
“This is an economic choke point for our community, and it has to be seen as a priority project.”
Is the 80/20 federal/state funding split a reality?
“In the beginning I was trying to get 100 per cent funding from our government for the bridge, now I’d be happy if I get 80 or even 50 per cent,” Mrs Sudmalis said.