We are making significant progress toward a staged duplication plan for the Barton Highway.
To those who have questioned the need for "another plan", can I clarify that there has never been a plan.
There was a corridor identified for future duplication of the highway. There was no detailed plan to make it happen. That's why we have seen a series of band aids applied to the road, spending large sums of money, with limited progress towards duplication.
I came into office last September and discovered, to my dismay, we had to start from scratch. I secured from the Commonwealth and NSW Governments a funding commitment of $300,000, a steering committee of government and council delegates is overseeing the plan and a consultancy firm has now been appointed to undertake the plan.
Our goal as a community is to develop a detailed, fully costed and staged plan for duplication of the highway.
When I say staged, this is not going to happen overnight. And it's not going to happen all at once; it will be in bite size chunks. That is how we will achieve the duplication of the highway.
Many of you will know that upgrading has recently finished on the southern edge of Murrumbateman, you'll know that work on the McIntosh Circuit upgrade is just beginning. These are a part of the staged works that will improve the safety of the Barton Highway.
The community which drives regularly along the Barton, whether it be for work, or because they live locally, wants to see improvements that are getting us to our ultimate goal. I agree. When I prioritised the Barton Highway as one of the most significant issues in my electorate, I did so knowing the workload, knowing the need to keep driving the agenda with key stakeholders and knowing the high community expectations.
A public consultation is underway for the next month until Friday September 26 and despite some scepticism about this process, I strongly encourage you to contribute.
An online survey has already received a significant number of submissions. The survey invites people to nominate their greatest areas of concern about the highway. Here is the link: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roadprojects/projects/south_western_region/barton_highway/
Feedback can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by calling 1800 765 654 (toll free) or by writing to Barton Highway Improvement Strategy, PO Box 16, St Leonards NSW 1590.
Community drop in sessions will be held at the Murrumbateman Farmers Markets on Saturday 13 September between 9am and 1pm and also at Murrumbateman Hall between 2pm and 4pm on the same day. A community information night will be held on Wednesday October 15 at Murrumbateman Country Inn between 6pm and 8pm.
I am determined to continue shaping this process so, as a community, we have a plan which will progressively address our concerns.
Angus Taylor, Federal Member for Hume.