Mrs PHILLIPS (Gilmore) (16:05): My electorate is a picturesque place, and it rightly attracts a high number of holiday-makers during school holidays and long weekends. Our population can quadruple during these times, and, with it, so does the traffic. That is why the state of our roads is such a critical issue and one we are reminded of every time the tourist season hits. The Princes Highway between Jervis Bay Road and the Victorian border is notorious for a reason. Tragically the last two weeks of school holidays have been no exception. Yesterday there was an accident in Tuross Head—the second in two weeks. On only the second day of the school holidays, five people, including two children, were taken to hospital after a crash.
Last week we saw a crash on the Princes Highway near Island Point Road. In August and September, even before the holiday rush, there were accidents in Moruya and Wandandian, where a man, heartbreakingly, lost his life. These stats aren't new. Between July 2012 and June 2017, there were 1,494 crashes on the Princes Highway between Jervis Bay Road and the Victorian border. They caused 30 fatalities and 350 serious injuries. Devastatingly, between December 2017 and June 2018, eight people lost their lives in accidents on the highway.
During the election I was delighted that the Morrison government provided bipartisan support for funding for the highway, but I was left feeling disappointed when only $50 million out of the $500 million was allocated in the budget. I have written to the minister on a number of occasions asking him to bring forward the funding for the highway. In his response, the minister spoke of a 'strategic business case' to look at a 'refined concept design' and 'cost appropriate solution'. He suggested I write to the New South Wales Government, as he said New South Wales would be providing the community updates—a disappointing response indeed.
But I will not give up. I want to see this road fixed faster. Last week I heard that the Treasurer wrote to the states asking them what infrastructure projects they want brought forward. I hope that the Princes Highway is on the New South Wales Government's wish list. I know it is on mine. I am willing to work with all levels of government—federal, state and local—to get this done. I want to see this road made safe so that everyone—tourists and locals alike—can return home safely. This goes above party politics and political games. I don't want to play games with people's lives. I want to get it done. So I say to Mr McCormack and to the New South Wales Government: let's work together to improve the Princes Highway. Bring forward the funding now and let's stop another tragedy during the holiday season.