Pair of petitions pleads to pollies

Two petitions have been launched to seek urgent federal funding for the Barton Highway duplication.

Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey has instigated one petition on behalf of Yass Valley councillors and residents, launched today.

Meanwhile, James Harker-Mortlock, independent candidate for Hume, was quick off the mark, launching his own petition last week.

The wording of both petitions is similar, with both calling on the federal government to fund the full duplication of the highway.

Cr Jasmin Jones had also created an online petition but has since withdrawn hers in favour of supporting the mayor’s petition.

The issue of safety on the Barton was again brought into sharp focus after a young man was killed in a collision on Friday February 8. This has brought the number of fatalities since 1997 to 19.

The Australian Road Safety Assessment Program has rated the highway as medium to high risk for individual safety.

Cr Abbey said she had discussed a petition on behalf of Yass Valley Council with councillors at a workshop last Wednesday and was given the go-ahead. “Everybody agreed this is something we should do,” Cr Abbey said.

James Harker-Mortlock was not fazed by Cr Abbey’s petition, saying “the more the merrier”.

Mr Harker-Mortlock said he would be presenting his petition to the Standing Committee for Petitions of the House of Representatives. He said time was critical in order to get his petition before Parliament during the current sitting period. He will be presenting it to the secretary of the standing committee next Thursday, March 7.

Cr Abbey said her petition would be presented to a number of relevant members including Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese, his Opposition counterpart Nationals MP Warren Truss, and Liberal member for Hume, Alby Schultz.

She also said councillors would present it in person to both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, if afforded that opportunity, as well as Premier Barry O’Farrell and Burrinjuck MP Katrina Hodgkinson.

Both Cr Abbey and Mr Harker-Mortlock said they would seek signatures from people outside of the Yass Valley Shire, in neighbouring local government areas where residents also heavily used the Barton Highway.

Cr Abbey has more time to get signatures and said she would be targeting councils and local newspapers in Harden, Boorowa, Young, Cootamundra and Gundagai to garner further support for her petition.

Both petitions are available for reading and signing in shops and offices around the Yass Valley and district. 

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