Trevor Veale

Hwy upgrade to bring 9000 jobs

THE Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Hwy upgrade will bring about 9000 jobs to the Clarence Valley and surrounding areas.

Page MP Kevin Hogan said more than 250 industry leaders attended the brief to draw up a contract and find a tender for the highway duplication.

"We want the whole thing to roll out as soon as possible," he said.

"There will be at least 2500 jobs created, which will create 6500 indirect jobs."

Mr Hogan said about 2500 direct jobs were guaranteed in the contract and the 6500 indirect jobs was an estimation that one job brings about two or three indirect jobs.

He said people from the areas that the highway passes through would for the most part be hired over outside workers.

"This is one of the biggest infrastructure jobs in the country," Mr Hogan said

"There is a total of $7 billion being spent and it will be felt in the Clarence Valley.

"The Harwood Bridge is going to huge, mate, there are going to be people everywhere."

Mr Hogan said $1 billion would be going into the Harwood Bridge alone.

"We want to talk to the contractor to get it done as quickly as possible," he said

"We are aiming to see this thing finished in four to five years.

"People in the Clarence Valley will see a lot happen in one to two years."

Mr Hogan said the old way was to contract small sections of road to different companies.

But he said the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Hwy upgrade would be contracted to one company with the subcontracting left to them, which could make it faster and cheaper, much like infrastructure projects for the London Olympics were managed.

Mr Hogan said once the upgrade was complete a marketing plan needed to be made to bring tourists off the highway and invite business to the area.

"It will be easier for business to do business and tourism will increase," he said.

Mr Hogan said the tender should be announced soon.

He said the next highway section to be upgraded would be Glenugie.

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said the Pacific Hwy duplication was on track with the Coalition's promise to pump $5.64 billion into the job.

"Sixty percent of the Pacific Highway upgrade project is now complete,"he said. "Work is under way on 64km of the highway and a further 57km is being prepared for work later this year."