THERE is no clue yet as to the freshly elected Albanese government's specific opinion on the multi-billion dollar upgrade of the Great Western Highway from Katoomba to Lithgow.
But the early indications aren't exactly antagonistic, with a spokesperson from the Department of Infrastructure telling Australian Community Media that the new Commonwealth Government would work with states "to deliver the projects that matter most to them".
Following a recommendation from the independent Infrastructure NSW that the highway upgrade's tunnel project be postponed, both Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Minister for Regional Roads Sam Farraway have sought to reassure the tunnel and the rest of the upgrade will be going ahead as planned.
They also say, though, that more Commonwealth Government money will be needed to ensure the tunnel is built.
"The NSW Government has already committed its money for the central part [of the upgrade], which is the tunnel, and we'll be expecting the federal government to come forward in the near future to commit their funding to see this tunnel come to fruition," Mr Toole told the ACM earlier this month.
ACM sought an early indication of how the new government in Canberra feels about the highway upgrade plans and received a written response.
I think there are certainly regions that have missed out under the previous government.- New Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King
"The newly elected Albanese Government is determined to work closely with states and territories to deliver the projects that matter most to them," a Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said.
"With Ministers having only just been sworn in, the next step will be for the Government to meet with the NSW Government to discuss future priorities."
Ballarat MP Catherine King, who is the new Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, told ACM recently that she would be "focusing on equality" in her role as Infrastructure Minister to make sure funds are distributed evenly.
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