The attendance of the NSW Premier and the Member for Bega in Moruya today to announce funding for the Princes Highway and in particular a by-pass for Moruya met with mixed reactions from both State Labor and local groups who attended what many considered a State election campaign launch. In response to the Berejiklian Liberal and National Government’s Princes Highway pledge earlier today Ryan Park MP, the Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, and Shadow Minister for the Illawarra contacted the Beagle and said "After waiting eight years, and after more than 1500 serious crashes, the Berejiklian Liberal and National Government have made another hollow pledge to upgrade the Princes Highway with two weeks to go before the state election" "Andrew Constance has been the member for Bega for 16 years, and a minister in this government for eight, and he has consistently ignored pleas from local communities all along the south coast to get rid of black spots and ease congestion." SW Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park said: “This announcement is from a government playing with monopoly money. It contains more vague promises to ‘start planning’ some sections. We don’t know when the money will be allocated – and if their record over the last eight years is anything to go by, it could be just in time for the 2023 election” “There is no indication about what the government will actually do for the South Coast beyond ‘sections’ of the highway.Their talk about spending $15 billion over the next 20 years is pie in the sky. The local community have been waiting in traffic for years and know this is another smoke and mirrors announcement.” Jude Manahan, Moruya Chamber President, told the Beagle "I spoke to a number of food/beverage & retailers in town and the consensus is that Moruya's central business district will suffer with a bypass. When a regional town is bypassed it is an ‘unknown’ as to which town will be OK and which will suffer from retailers losing trade." "Comments from retailers: we are not a Berry with a need to relieve weekly and in particular weekend traffic congestion. Bega took years to recover after its bypass in 2013. The effect of the bypass is in the planning, how far will it be away from the township of Moruya, will it be a 70km/hr bypass similar to Batemans Bay or a 110km/hr bypass." added Ms Manahan
Also attending the announcement were members of the Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) joined by members of 350 Eurobodalla climate action group. Allan Rees of 350 Eurobodalla told the Beagle "With less than an hours notice, a number of people from Eurobodalla community groups attended the launch to highlight their concerns with the NSW Liberals and Andrew Constance's environmental performance. "Bega MP Andrew Constance would not speak with us and has left Moruya without attending tonight’s Meet the Candidates at Tuross Head. Premier Gladys Berejiklian walked away rather than discuss the government’s climate policies."
"Andrew Constance supports continued over logging of our native forests, recreational fishing in the high conservation fish breeding zones of the Batemans Bay Marine Park, no renewables target for NSW, and the Eurobodalla Councils proposed Rural Lands Strategy/ Planning Proposal which will remove a number of important environmental protections for native forests, wetlands and waterways on private land."
Kathryn Maxwell of SHASA said "Recently SHASA sent an environmental questionnaire to Leanne Atkinson from Labor, William Douglas from the Greens, Carol Anderson from the Animal Justice Party and Andrew Constance, Liberals. All of them responded except for Andrew Constance. Even though NSW voters, and particularly Liberal voters want more done on climate change they have had only one policy - no interest loans to 300,000 households for battery/solar over 10 years."
350 Coordinator Allan Rees said “the NSW Liberal government has failed on climate. They are so complacent that they have no target for renewables even though 80% of NSW electricity is provided by coal. The changes they made to land clearing laws have seen massive releases of carbon. The $16 billion motorways in Sydney cause huge carbon emissions in their construction and increase car emissions when they open."