Upgrading the Princes Highway is a “priority” for the Labor government, according to NSW Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park.
Mr Park made a visit to the South Coast on Friday, to meet with Labor Candidate for South Coast Annette Alldrick, who both agreed that major upgrade to the highway was necessary.
“Successive governments have done their bit to improve the Princes Highway but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Mr Park said.
“I know how notorious this highway is and, to be blunt, how it has taken the lives of far too many people.”
Between December 2017 and June 2018, eight people have lost their lives on the road south of Nowra.
“On the Princes Highway we’ve always had challenges for the Commonwealth to come to the party,” Mr Park said.
“We need to work toward a partnership to make sure we get the upgrades we need.”
Mr Park said he and Ms Alldrick had spoken to Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese about upgrades to the highway.
“I can assure you that I’ve made it very clear to Anthony Albanese that the Princes Highway is the next road that needs to be focused on,” he said.
“We want to see the Princes Highway funded similar to that enjoyed by the Pacific Highway.”
The Pacific Highway has received an 80-20 funding split between the federal and state governments.
Ms Alldrick said the state government needed to do “a lot more” to upgrade the highway.
In the recent state budget, $10 million was committed to resurfacing the highway between Tomerong and Batemans Bay and installing a roundabout, roadside barriers, alignment upgrades, improved lighting and audio-tactile line markings.
Ms Alldrick said this was “just chicken feed”.
“That’s what we expect down here because we’ve just been getting crumbs off the table to keep people happy, but it’s not fixing the highway.”
Ms Alldrick said Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital was also in need of urgent upgrade.
“There is a master plan for more inpatient beds which will take off the emergency department, currently the ED has patients in it who are admitted to hospital, but there’s no beds for them so they stay in the ED or they are located in the back of x-ray or corridor, sometimes not even in a bed,” she said.
“We are really trying to secure funding for the hospital. That’s what I’m fighting for, the hospital and the highway.”