OUR SAY: Less time on the road is good but political timing is bad

ANYONE who has traveled to Sydney or the coast in recent weeks would appreciate the improvements made to the Great Western Highway east of Bathurst.

But was the NSW Government’s timing a bit off with the construction of the upgrade?

After two-and-a-half years of dust and noise and traffic crawling through the construction zone that was the Sydney Road, Orange and Central West motorists were finally presented with their brand new thoroughfare last month.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole was there at the end – as he was at the beginning – to emphasise the importance of the project and the difference it will make to Bathurst.

The only problem was that the upgrade opened at almost the exact halfway point of this term of government.

Just a month or so in, the upgrade will already be starting to morph from something shiny and new to an unremarkable part of the city’s infrastructure and by the time the next state election rolls around, it’s a fair bet that voters will struggle to even remember what Kelso looked like in the bad old days of one lane both ways.

That might not be a problem for a normal NSW Government, but this government – through Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian – has not been a normal NSW Government.

Thanks to its aggressive budget cost-cutting in the early days and its ambitious privatisation program, this has been a NSW Government with money to spend – and a seemingly endless supply of big projects to announce.

Just last month, Ms Berejiklian announced new road projects for Sydney’s Northern Beaches. This week, Minister for Transport Andrew Constance was in Newcastle to make an announcement about that city’s light rail program.

And anyone who has been in Sydney recently would have seen the way that city is being remade: from the massive WestConnex road project to the light rail in the CBD to the new railway line spreading across the city’s north-western suburbs.

So will the people of the Central West be satisfied with their share of the infrastructure pie when they go to vote in 2019? Or will they have forgotten that they received two new lanes only two years ago?

One of the problems with being a building government is that you have to keep building. Four years is a long time, and voters have short memories.


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