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Both levels of Labor government commit to funding Muswellbrook and Singleton bypasses ahead of elections

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Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon announced in Singleton yesterday that a Shorten Labor Government will contribute $250 million towards the Singleton Bypass should they be elected.

Labor said it would cover half the expected cost of the project and would be contingent upon it being matched by the New South Wales Government.

“We need these bypasses desperately, they’ve been far too long in the making,” said Joel Fitzgibbon.

“I don’t understand why the NSW Government hasn’t got it to shovel ready status, there’s no excuse for that.”

“I’ve done something really unusual today, usually the Commonwealth doesn’t make a commitment until the state has it to shovel ready status and has put some money in itself but I’m so desperate about the delays in Singleton,” he said.

“It’s $250 million more than Michael Johnsen or Scott Morrison is offering. Michael Johnsen is dreaming if he thinks we’re going to pay for 80 per cent of the project while Gladys Berejiklian is spending billions of dollars on stadiums in Sydney.”

On Labor’s announcement, Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen said if it wasn’t so serious, it’d be a joke.

“Quite frankly the Labor Government has committed to a shortfall in funding on the Singleton Bypass and I don’t see how that is of benefit at all,”

“There’s an 80/20 funding split between the Federal and the State Government on National highway projects of which the Singleton Bypass is one and it’s a $600 million project and the Federal member for Hunter knows that.”

Last week Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro made an announcement that they would fund the entire Muswellbrook Bypass project without the Federal Government should they get elected next month.

When it came to the Singleton project John Barilaro said it’s a huge project and if footing the bill themselves means it goes ahead faster, then they will.

The Singleton bypass project wasn’t the only one Labor committed to this week.

A Daley Labor government will allocate $266 million to the Muswellbrook Bypass. The same commitment as the current NSW Government headed into the election.

In addition, they will also allocate $100 million to accelerate the construction of the Singleton Bypass and to get the project shovel ready. This work will be done in partnership with the Shorten Labor Government.

“The fact of the matter is Labor is actually taking this issue seriously and putting their money where their mouth is,” said Country Labor candidate for the Upper Hunter Melanie Dagg.

“I don’t think Michael Johnsen is in any place to criticise.”

“I was doorknocking in Singleton Heights on Sunday and this was raised continuously particularly by mothers with young children, they’re sick of having to do the rat run around school pick up and drop offs,” said Melanie Dagg.

“This is all about collaboration and a team effort, it took a State and Federal Labor Government to build the Hunter Expressway and it will take State and Federal Labor Government to build the Muswellbrook and Singleton Bypass.”

Meantime Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate Lee Watts said the election promises are getting out of hand.

“I fully support both projects but you can set your swatch to election promises on bypasses in this area and the fact is neither party can be trusted,”

“It’s very likely there will be a hung parliament and I will be the only candidate to work with and both and be able to hold both sides to account,” said Lee Watts.

Image credit: Josh Sim