Opposition leader Michael Daley has hinted that Labor will speed up the duplication of Nelson Bay Road if elected in March.
Mr Daley and Port Stephens MP Kate Washington held a media conference in Medowie on Thursday to talk about Labor’s plan to introduce free public transport for students under 16, a policy announced in November.
Asked about the duplication of Nelson Bay Road, Ms Washington said: “There’ll be more to be said on that.”
Mr Daley chimed in with: “This won’t be, by any means, the last time you’ll see me here between now and the election.”
Then Liberal premier Mike Baird promised two weeks before the 2015 election that the government would spend $70 million upgrading the road by 2019.
The Newcastle Herald reported last year that an internal Roads and Maritime Service document from late 2016, obtained by Labor under freedom-of-information laws, showed that only a tiny fraction of the money, $226,000, would be spent before 2020-21.
The government’s parliamentary secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said at the time that the lack of funding did not amount to a broken promise and he had lobbied successfully for another $6 million to be spent before 2020-21.
Ms Washington, who occupies one of the few Labor-held seats in the Lower Hunter regarded as a contest in March, said on Thursday that the government’s record on Nelson Bay Road was deplorable.
“Mike Baird stood on Nelson Bay Road and committed to the full duplication of that road in this term of government for $70 million, and what we are going to get for that instead is one roundabout,” she said.
Ms Washington also committed Labor to building a public high school at Medowie before 2023.
“Medowie high school is a firm commitment by a Daley Labor government to deliver in the first term of government if Michael and the team becomes elected in March.
“So it’s a solid commitment by us to deliver the desperately needed public high school in Medowie that it’s needed for many, many years.”
The Catholic church is building a high school at Medowie which is scheduled to open in 2020.
Mr Daley took a shot at the government over the $368 million Newcastle tram, the cost of which an Auditor-General’s report has found to be unjustified.
“Light rail is Gladys Berejiklian’s baby. She imposed a disastrous light rail on the people of Sydney; they’ve done it to the people of Newcastle as well,” he said.
“The common denominator in all of these projects across NSW … is that the government has rushed into this on a political basis.
“They cooked it up behind closed doors, did a deal, signed a deal with the corporates and smashed it through. When you do that, you waste money.”