Sydney Harbour Bridge Toll

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SpeakersSpeaker; Torbay Mr Richard; Scully Mr Carl
BusinessQuestions Without Notice


Page: 4125

    Mr TORBAY: My question without notice is to the Minister for Transport. Will the Minister inform the House of projects in the Northern Tablelands and nearby areas that will be funded out of the increase in the Sydney Harbour Bridge toll and other charges?

    Mr SCULLY: That is a very good question.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I place the honourable member for Coffs Harbour on three calls to order.

    Mr SCULLY: I am pleased to inform the honourable member for Northern Tablelands that significant funds for the Gwydir Highway will be provided out of the bridge toll money.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Leader of the National Party to order.

    Mr SCULLY: About $6 million will be allocated to the honourable member's electorate.

    Mr Slack-Smith: What about my electorate?

    Mr SCULLY: There will always be money for the electorate of the honourable member for Barwon. The question is timely. The Opposition has caused a lot of confusion. At the end of last year, when I announced that we would raise about $60 million a year for a maintenance fund primarily for the bush by increasing the bridge toll and a range of charges, both the Liberal and National parties took the stand that they would cancel that increase. Country Labor has certainly taken out the message, and I would encourage the Independents to take out the message, that a vote for the Coalition in March 2003 will vote down various expenditures on country road maintenance. The National Party felt the pressure and it wilted. Dubbo was quick off the mark to support the Liberals in Sydney and cancel the increase. But out of Broken Hill came a commitment from the National Party that it would hypothecate 60 per cent of the bridge toll money for country road maintenance—60:40.

    Mrs Skinner: Get your facts right.

    Mr SCULLY: I will tell the honourable member what the facts are. In 2002-03,78 per cent of funds raised from the bridge toll and increased charges will go to non-Sydney areas. The National Party thinks it is smart. It issued a press release that said it would hypothecate 60:40. But it will emasculate what we are already doing for the bush from the proceeds of the bridge toll. But it gets worse. These people give politicians a bad name. They cannot go to North Sydney and say that they will abolish the toll, then whiz over to Broken Hill and say they will hypothecate it. Was there a split in the Coalition that I did not hear about? Was there a press release from someone that said: Souris and Brogden break apart, and there are now separate approaches to politics? They think that we are still in an age of politics 100 years ago when you could go out and shout from the top of the line of the load, "We will hypothecate the bridge toll money", and then get up on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and say, "We are going to abolish the bridge toll."

    People cannot get away with that in this day of modern telecommunications. People know what the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the National Party say on the same day on the same issue. We have a problem. If this were a corporation, they would be liable for false and misleading conduct under the Trade Practices Act. If garnering votes were an actual agreement they would be guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation, conning people into voting for them with a false misrepresentation. If receiving votes were similar to receiving money they would be guilty of the crime of false pretences. They are engaging in fraudulent misrepresentation, false and misleading conduct and false pretences. I say to Country Labor and that swath of Independents across New South Wales: Go out to country New South Wales and tell the people of this State what a pack of liars and charlatans these people are. They say one thing in the city and another thing in the bush. You cannot believe anything they say.