An ugly brawl has erupted between state and federal politicians over the loss of $75m Commonwealth funding for the Wakehurst Parkway.

As reported last night (Tuesday, 25 October), the first Federal Budget under the Albanese Government cut $75m that had been committed to the Wakehurst Parkway under the previous Liberal government.

Newly elected Member for Mackellar Dr Sophie Scamps (image below) last night laid the blame for the loss of funding squarely at the feet of the NSW Government.

“The $75m in funding was originally allocated on the basis that the Northern Beaches Tunnel was going ahead. However, the NSW Liberal State Government broke their promise to the people of the Northern Beaches and cancelled the project and this has directly led to the withdrawal of this funding,” said Dr Scamps.

Member for Mackellar Dr Sophie Scamps

She also took a personal swipe at NSW Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport and Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes.

Sophie Scamps

Sophie Scamps

“Rob Stokes himself had responsibility for the project under a number of different portfolios during his 14 years as the Member for Pittwater, including his current role as NSW Infrastructure Minister, and previously as Minister for Planning as well as Minister for Transport and Roads.

“With a state election around the corner, any attempt to shift the blame by the NSW Liberal Government smells like damage control over their abject failure to deliver on the Parkway. In addition, it is now clear the Commonwealth money was not originally allocated to flood mitigation works but was allocated in preparation for work on the Northern Beaches Tunnel,” said Dr Scamps.

NSW Roads Minister Natalie Ward and NSW Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes

The comments from Dr Scamps have been swiftly condemned by Minister Stokes (image above, right), who slammed the Commonwealth Government’s decision to withdraw the $75m in funding and said Wakehurst Parkway upgrades were crucial for safety and easing congestion.

Rob Stokes

Rob Stokes

“While the NSW Government will honour our $75m commitment, the withdrawal of Federal funding by the Albanese Government is a major blow to the people of the Northern Beaches.

“I went to Canberra in advance of the budget to discuss the funding for the Wakehurst Parkway with the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King, arguing it was desperately needed.

“The Independent Member for Mackellar Sophie Scamps’ claim that the NSW Government is to blame for Labor’s decision to withdraw funding for the Parkway is farcical. The deferral of the Beaches Link has nothing to do with the upgrade of the Wakehurst Parkway – two separate roads and separate projects.

“I’m disappointed that Dr Scamps has gone personal. For my part, I think she’s a lovely person. Ultimately, my experience is that the community will judge you not on who you blame or what you say, but on what you deliver for them.

“We really need Dr Scamps to hold her federal parliamentary colleagues to account and contribute to the upgrade of the Wakehurst Parkway, rather than make excuses for them,” said Minister Stokes.

Natalie Ward and Rob Stokes inspect Mona Vale Road upgrade works

Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward (image above, right) said the NSW Government had already contributed towards safety upgrades on the Wakehurst Parkway.

Natalie Ward

Natalie Ward

“The NSW Government is providing more than $500m for road improvements on the Northern Beaches, including $18m already provided to Northern Beaches Council for flood mitigation on the Wakehurst Parkway.

“Work on the widening of Mona Vale Road has hit more than 65 percent completion, which is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the history of the Northern Beaches.

“The Federal Labor Government has walked away from a project that would have improved the lives of working families on the Northern Beaches by increasing safety and reducing congestion.

“It is unfortunate that the Independent Member for Mackellar felt it necessary to make a misrepresentation about Beaches Link.

“I am disappointed that since Dr Scamps has come into office, it has taken just one Federal Budget for people on the Northern Beaches to be forgotten by the new Labor Federal Government,” said Minister Ward.

NSW Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes and NSW Roads Minister Natalie Ward

The ministers both reaffirmed the NSW Government remained committed to the Beaches Link project as the third part of the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade package of works.

“We never cancelled the tunnel, we delayed it on the advice of Infrastructure NSW and Infrastructure Australia, who said entering into a contract in an overheated market was not a sensible approach. At any rate, we can’t do it until we’ve finished the Western Harbour Tunnel,” explained Minister Stokes.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

Background

This article is a follow up to the previous article from Budget Night, where the Commonwealth Government cut a $75m funding promise for the Wakehurst Parkway.

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