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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP


Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell has cautiously welcomed the outcome of the independent strategic review of the federal government’s Infrastructure Investment Program (IIP).

“I am pleased funding has been confirmed for a number of local projects but I do have questions about the finer detail of Canberra’s 10-year plan and what it means for these projects,” Mr Layzell said.

“Key among my concerns is construction of the Muswellbrook Bypass and whether it will deliver both the New England Highway and the Coal Road connection with the town.”

Upper Hunter Electorate projects included in the federal government’s IIP:

· New England Highway – Muswellbrook Bypass to procced through planning with $26.88 million for planning and the remaining $242 million reserved for construction;

· New England Highway corridor projects – Singleton Bypass, Rocky Cut realignment and the Belford to Muswellbrook safety and capacity upgrade;

· Coulsons Creek Road upgrade built as planned with $38.6 million funding;

· Clarence Town Road – Dungog to Raymond Terrace built as planned, $20m funding;

· Bucketts Way – built as planned, $20 million funding; and,

· Clarence Town Bridge built with additional funding of $781,000 on top of the existing federal commitment of $9.58 million.

The Strategic Review recommendations also suggest that 56 projects not yet under construction, proceed, noting that identified risks be satisfactorily addressed prior to delivery.

Further, that 36 projects not yet under construction complete planning, detailed costings, rescoping and the allocated delivery funding is used to create headroom in the infrastructure plan.

“This is the potential ‘devil in the detail’ that I want the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and Transport for NSW to clarify as a matter of urgency, so that we have a clear delivery plan for the projects in my electorate,” Mr Layzell added.

“Muswellbrook Bypass, for example, has reached the shortlist for design and build stage – I am not prepared to wait any longer for earthworks to start and risk a renewable energy wind turbine getting stuck in a Muswellbrook street because the bypass has been further delayed.

“Also, now we have a figure from Canberra, I am sure Dungog Shire Council will want to talk with the Minister about how much more the NSW Government is prepared to contribute toward the new Clarence Town bridge over the Williams River.”

PICTURE CAPTION: File photo of former NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Sam Farraway and Dave Layzell with Fenech Demolition staff at the February 2023 commencement of early works on the Muswellbrook Bypass.


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