Mr JOHN WILLIAMS
(Murray-Darling) [7.09 p.m.]: Tonight I speak about yet another road issue in western New South Wales. It relates to a section of the Cobb Highway between Ivanhoe and Wilcannia that remains unsealed. Prior to the election I travelled with Rick Colless, local grazier John Elliott and members of the Central Darling Shire on that road to assess its condition. This approximately 200 kilometres of unsealed road services the grazing industry in the area and provides a thoroughfare for those who are prepared to drive on an unsealed road from Melbourne to the township of White Cliffs.
The section of the road from Wilcannia to White Cliffs was sealed some years back and when the remaining section is sealed we will find out its true benefits to the people in western New South Wales. Obviously the use of that road for stock transport is one of the reasons people use it at the moment. Gates Goats is run by Rick Gates who is one of the leading goat exporters in Australia at the moment. He is a very hardworking young man and with his wife they have set up a magnificent business. They have incorporated the township of Ivanhoe to use as a spelling yard for some of the stock they move up and down the Cobb Highway.
As an exporter Ricks needs to set up a contract to export his goats by air transit from Adelaide airport into Asian ports. Air transit creates a lot of issues in relation booking an aircraft and getting the product to that aircraft to meet the scheduled timetables. Obviously, if the highway is put out of action at any time Rick incurs financial penalties that adversely affect his business. It was a clear indication to Rick Colless and me at the time that the sealing of that road could provide great opportunities. The sealing of the road was never expected under a Labor Government but with our Liberals-Nationals Government today, together with a commitment to support regional New South Wales, I think there is great potential for a number of roads and the Cobb Highway. It is sad that in my electorate two highways remain unsealed, including that section of the Cobb Highway which is partially sealed.
I am encouraged by the Government Whip who well knows the Ivanhoe community and this section of road to which I am referring.
Mr Daryl Maguire:
I support what you are saying.
Mr JOHN WILLIAMS:
He supports me so this is definitely a coalition between—
Mr Greg Smith:
An outpouring of goodwill.
Mr JOHN WILLIAMS:
The Attorney General also sings his support. I am encouraged by those remarks and I can tell the people in western New South Wales that this type of progress is endorsed by both the Government Whip and the Attorney General. I can confidently say that we are going to see some action on this highway. It is a disgrace that in Australia today two highways remain unsealed. It would not happen in Queensland and it is not going to continue in New South Wales.