Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce has secured almost $1 million in Federal Government project funding for every day he has been the elected representative for our region.
In the latest major announcement, Mr Joyce has today finalised the Federal Government’s commitment of $80 million for the realignment of the three kilometre Bolivia Hill section of the New England Highway, which will help improve road safety, particularly for heavy vehicles.
The $80 million allocation, which is subject to a business case being prepared, had previously been promised by the former Labor government without a definitive funding source within the budget after the mining tax failed to deliver the promised revenue.
Mr Joyce said he had been working with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss to find money within the budget to ensure the upgrade went ahead.
“The funding for the Bolivia Hill upgrade was gone,” Mr Joyce said.
“The previous government had left the federal budget in a parlous position and when I arrived into Canberra as the new Federal Member for New England, we were told there was no money left in the budget.
“I fully understand the sentiment expressed to me so clearly about the safety concerns at Bolivia Hill and, at the time, I was concerned. I remember thinking, ‘how on earth am I going to be able to get this funding?’
“That’s why I am so pleased to announce that after a lot of conversations and representations with my colleagues, we have been able to secure this important funding. The money is now on the table. It will allow a route to be constructed that we all hope will reduce the number of accidents. It has to be among my proudest achievements as the newly elected member.”
Since taking office 100 days ago, Mr Joyce has delivered funding for the following:
- $80 million Bolivia Hill section of New England highway
- $3.5 million to Armidale Dumaresq Council to assist with the Armidale Airport upgrade
- $1.2 million to Tamworth Regional Council to assist with the Chaffey Dam upgrade
- $500,000 to Guyra Shire Council towards the establishment of a new dementia wing at the Kolora aged care facility in Guyra
- $80,000 to the Werris Creek Community Shed Inc for its Community Shed facility
- $250,000 to the New England Regional Art Museum Limited to assist with the Museum’s air-conditioning upgrade
- $3.84 million towards maintenance along Thunderbolt’s Way
“Anybody can make a lot of promises during an election campaign, but the real work begins once you are elected and have to bang on the doors of the relevant ministers to deliver for your region,” Mr Joyce said.
“Part of the advantage of being in cabinet is you have direct access to the key decision makers. So while it means I have to spend less time in the electorate and more time in Canberra, having a seat in cabinet allows me to push hard for major projects across New England.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, but I hope the people of New England take heart from the fact I am doing everything in my power to deliver for our region.”