As a young child my dairy farming grandfather told me the story about milk cans being sent by flying fox over the Shoalhaven River, before the original Nowra Bridge was built in 1881.
As a ten year old in 1980 I watched the next Nowra Bridge being built and opened; I still remember that to this day.
As a mum with four children, I want everyone’s children to be able to get a great education and a job locally. But to do that we need to invest in our people and our infrastructure and that includes the new Nowra Bridge.
Immersed in the local history section of Nowra Library recently, it was easy to see pre 1881, the Shoalhaven riverbank was a hive of steamers, horse and cart, whatever it took to trade and get good passage for goods. Fast forward 130 years, the steamers have gone, but the traffic congestion is getting increasingly worse, the passage for trucks is difficult, and that beautiful old original Nowra Bridge is ageing.
The news also that the Shoalhaven’s youth unemployment rate has now soared to 24.1% the highest in NSW, the third highest in Australia.
That’s why a Shorten Labor Government has made the early commitment of $50 million towards the construction of the new Nowra Bridge, because we need to get on with building the bridge.
It’s concerning that after a 21 year Liberal reign in Gilmore, there’s been no Federal or State budget put forward for the construction of the Nowra Bridge.
In just two months of advocating for the region, myself, Labor has been able to secure $50 million towards the construction of the bridge.
It’s also worth noting under the Liberal’s, the Nowra Bridge does not appear on the Infrastructure Australia priority list as at February 2017, and Infrastructure Australia is not a funding body.
On one hand a state Liberal MP is saying $180 million is needed federally for the Nowra Bridge, but the Member for Gilmore said the Nowra Bridge will cost $300 million. Oddly not even 80 percent of $300 million adds up to that $180 million figure.
The Liberal’s are out of tune with the community, and embarrassingly, with each other.
Ann Sudmalis' media release on 3rd May 2017 showed no funding commitment for the construction of the new Nowra Bridge. The Nowra Bridge petition on Ann Sudmalis’ website, which petitions Ms Sudmalis’ own Liberal Government, similarly shows no federal funding commitment.
Ask yourself, why can the NSW and Commonwealth Coalition find $17 billion to build WestConnex in Sydney, but they have found zero dollars for the construction of Nowra Bridge?
They are making it up as they go along.
What we do know for certain is that a Shorten Labor Government has put forward a genuine commitment to provide $50 million towards the construction of the new Nowra Bridge. That's $50 million more than any level of Liberal Government are offering. The Liberals have had 21 years and haven't lifted a shovel to start construction of the new Nowra Bridge.
I'm happy to work with anyone to ensure the new Nowra Bridge is built, which will benefit generations to come.
This opinion piece was first published on Fiona Phillips’ website – www.fionaphillips.com.au
6th MAY 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: FIONA PHILLIPS 0434 626669