Both sides of federal politics have heard the case for help to upgrade the Princes Highway south of Nowra.
And in the New Year they will see for themselves some of its worst stretches.
On Wednesday, Bay Post/Moruya Examiner and Narooma News editor Kerrie O’Connor and South Coast Register and Milton Ulladulla Times editor John Hanscombe met Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese.
The senior politicians from both sides of the political divide were briefed on Fairfax Media’s FIX IT NOW campaign. In an unusual joint statement, both backed a bipartisan approach to fixing the highway.
“We met John Hanscombe and Kerrie O'Connor from the FIX IT NOW Campaign to discuss the corridor of the Princes Highway between Nowra, New South Wales and the Victorian border,” the statement read.
“A bipartisan political approach now and into the future can only help to deliver better road safety outcomes on the Princes Highway.
“One road death or one accident is one too many.
“We will work together along with our State colleagues and other levels of government to fulfil their obligations and ensure people get home to their families sooner and safer.
“We admire and thank you for your strong advocacy on this important issue.”
FIX IT NOW has grabbed attention since its launch in March.
That month and again in November, Bega MP and NSW Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance called for a dual carriageway to the border. In May, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was briefed in Nowra.
In October, editors shared stories of loss and grief with a tearful NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey, who said safety was above politics.
In Nowra last Friday, Mr Albanese suggested a meeting to forge a bipartisan approach. Mr Hanscombe said that meeting was hastily arranged for Parliament’s last sitting week.
“We are grateful to have had time with two important political figures at such short notice and during an extremely busy week,” he said. “The campaign has stressed the need for all levels of government to work together and it is great to see this statement of bipartisanship.”
Ms O’Connor had previously urged all parties to “put down the cudgels and start saving lives”.
“The opportunity to share our campaign with Mr McCormack and Mr Albanese was greatly appreciated and their joint statement is just the right signpost in the journey to a safer highway. Now we need a federal-state funding agreement that delivers that highway.”