Coalition to 'reprioritise' road investment for rest areas

The Coalition will review road projects announced by Rudd Government so it can build more rest areas

By Brad Gardner | May 28, 2010

The Coalition will review road projects announced by the Rudd Government so it can fund its commitment to build more rest areas.

Opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss this week pledged a Coalition government would spend $300 million to build 500 rest areas over 10 years, with money coming from the $27.7 billion Nation Building Program.

Because all the money under the program has been allocated up to the 2013-14 financial year, the office of opposition spokesman on finance and debt reduction Andrew Robb says government projects will need to be reviewed.

When asked if the review will involve projects due to begin late this year—which include upgrades to the Calder and Prince highways—the spokesman responded: "yeah, of course."

"You would reprioritise," the spokesman says of road funding initiatives.

"We would obviously consider all the programs as a whole."

The spokesman did not mention specific projects that may be scrapped to fulfil Truss’ commitment to rest areas.

"Over the coming months we will release our details," he says.

Upgrades to the Calder, Princes, Dampier, Great Eastern and Roe highways are all due to begin late this year.

Meanwhile, the $188 million upgrade to the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia and the South Road Superway project in Adelaide are due to begin next year.

Truss reiterated the Nationals’ promise to build 50 rest areas a year for a decade after the Rudd Government claimed the initiative would be scrapped.

Robb recently announced the Coalition’s "past commitments have been discontinued" due to a $57 billion government deficit, prompting Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese to accuse Truss of breaking his promise.

"We’re standing by all our promises," a spokesman for Truss says.

Robb only listed the Toowoomba bypass as part of the Coalition’s $4.8 billion spending commitments, which also includes a paid parental leave scheme and climate change initiatives.

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