With all the drama in Canberra that’s been dominating the headlines, you’d be forgiven for assuming our federal parliament is incapable of working towards the betterment of the nation. Today, we hope to prove that judgment wrong.
This morning in Canberra, we are presenting the FIX IT NOW campaign to the Deputy Prime Minister and federal Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese.
Our aim is to try to forge a bipartisan approach to securing a federal contribution towards fixing the Princes Highway. So far, we have taken the campaign to then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey and Mr Albanese.
By starting a conversation between Mr McCormack and Mr Albanese, we want to ensure that no matter which party wins the next federal election, the Princes Highway will remain on the national political radar.
We know the NSW government wants to press on with improving the Princes Highway. Member for Bega and NSW Transport Minister Andrew Bega has made it clear he wants to see the South Coast’s main artery duplicated all the way to the Victorian border.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey was emphatic improving the highway should be above politics.
From the NSW North Coast, she knows the heavy toll unsafe roads take on small communities and is familiar with how major upgrades and duplication – as seen along the Pacific Highway – improve safety and connectivity. While being shown our coverage, the minister shed a tear. That is a measure of the power of the local media.
When he visited in May, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull congratulated us on the FIX IT NOW campaign and urged us to keep up the fight on behalf of our communities between Nowra and the Victorian border.
And on Friday, when Mr Albanese paid us a visit, he remarked that the job just needed to be done and suggested a bipartisan approach would help make that happen.
So our meeting this morning presents a wonderful opportunity in this, the last sitting week of the parliament, for leaders from both sides of the political divide to demonstrate they can put aside their differences and work together to improve the lives of the people who elected them.