House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Statements by Members

Calare Electorate: Roads

1:58 pm

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, as you know, for 160 years people have been trying to get a road and bridge across the Macquarie River at Dixons Long Point between Orange and Mudgee. It would significantly cut the travelling distance between these two regional centres. Currently the road is unpaved, and the river means that it's accessible only by four-wheel drive, a crossing that I have made on a number of occasions, including a particularly hair-raising and memorable crossing I made with the member for Gippsland back in 2016.

In recent times, both the Australian government and the New South Wales government have committed a joint $200,000 for a feasibility report. We now have those reports back, and they are looking very positive. The preferred option, a bridge over the Macquarie River at Dixons Long Point along with paving of about 40 kilometres of road, would only cost $19.38 million, and the benefit-cost ratio has come in at an impressive 2.491. This is the missing link in the central west road network and would open up the region for tourism, for commerce and for better health services. This road is all about connecting the regions, and there is a huge groundswell of support for it. I would urge all levels of government to back the project, as they know 160 years is long enough. We need to get this done. The time for a new road at Dixons Long Point along with a bridge has come. Let's get it done.