1 The problems with the Coffs Harbour CBD bypass

The CBD Bypass was forecast to cost between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion. The federal and state governments have allocated only $1.2 billion for this project.

As a result, three “potential tunnels” in the 2016 preliminary concept design have been dumped from the 2018 concept design. They have been replaced with three cuttings and two land bridges. These are huge trenches or canyons.

This is not good enough. This is a short-sighted decision with 100 years of ramifications. These can be afforded. The federal government and the state government have plenty of room to move financially at present. The federal government recently shelved its $80 billion in big business tax cuts and the NSW government just got $9.3 billion from the sale of 51 per cent of West Connex. Why are tunnels good enough for West Connex in Sydney but not in Coffs Harbour? Why are we being singled out for the consequences of a century of environmental and social vandalism?

This decision negatively impacts:

  • Aboriginal heritage
  • Residents’ amenity – on up to 1,000 properties
  • Property prices – on up to 1,000 properties
  • Nature – habitats, flora and fauna, including koalas
  • The aesthetics of the coast and hinterland
  • Agricultural properties

It is a bad decision and we as a community have to do several things:

  • Participate in the community meetings.
  • Put in submissions on the preliminary plan by the start of the last week in October.
  • Review the Environmental Impact Statement in December 2018.

2 Labor’s position

Labor believes the government should invest in tunnels rather than trenches. The NSW Minister for Roads should send Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) back the drawing board and demand they come up with a design featuring three tunnels for the same price tag. They can do it.

We shouldn’t suffer a century of regret because of short-term politically expedient acts of environmental and social vandalism by this generation of National Party hacks. This is the sell-out of the century.

In the meantime, we urge the community to inform itself of the proposal and put in submissions before they close at the end of October. The community should also let its opinions be known to Luke Hartsukyer, Andrew Fraser, Melinda Pavey and the two incoming National Party candidates (replacing Mr Hartsuyker and Mr Fraser).

Labor will review the Environmental Impact Statement when it is released in December and hopes and anticipates it will recommend three tunnels within the current budget, on social, environmental and economic grounds.

Labor is concerned that the current public consultation period falls within school holidays and doesn’t allow sufficient time for the public to consider, coalesce and respond. Further, the Environmental Impact Statement is due for release and finalisation over the Christmas and New Year periods (and just before the March state election and May federal election). The timetables set are unacceptable and more time must be given to the public to be robustly engaged in the process.

All in all, both governments and the RMS need to head back to the drawing board.

Andrew Woodward, Labor candidate for Cowper (federal election) (on the right)

Tony Judge, Labor candidate for Coffs Harbour (state election) (on the left)

3 Engage

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4 Community organised public meeting

A public meeting is being planned for 11 October 2018 at 7 pm at the PCYC. More details will be posted soon.

5 Government and Roads and Maritime Services (NSW Government Agency) Community Consultation

Community consultation closes 26 October 2018. Source: RMS

Government RMS Community Information Sessions

  • 13 October 2018 – 9 am to 12 pm
  • 18 October 2019 – 4 pm to 7 pm
  • Coffs Harbour Golf Club.

Source: RMS

Government background information

6 Labor’s statements (since 24 September 2018)

24 September 2018 #1: News Release: Ten questions for Michael McCormack about the Coffs Harbour Canyon

24 September 2018 #2: News Release: Coffs Harbour Bypass – the sell-out of the century

25 September 2018: News Release: For the record – The National Party’s promises on the Coffs Harbour Bypass

26 September 2018: Letter: Response to a Coffs resident asking for previous CBD bypass routes to be examined due to the missing tunnels

27 September 2018: News Release: the Coffs Harbour Bypass “Preferred concept design” is totally flawed and should be trashed

27 September 2018: News Release: Coffs Harbour Bypass design is higher, noisier​ and uglier than first thought.1 October 2018: News: Andrew Fraser admits he hasn’t even looked at the new bypass design a week after its release.

3 October 2018: News Release: The National Party needs to stop complaining about the poor reaction to the Coffs Bypass and get a new design with real tunnels and not trenches

8 October 2018: News Release: Governments must obtain consensus on bypassing Coffs Harbour

11 October 2018: News Release: Federal and state governments caught red-handed misleading about the Coffs Harbour Bypass.

12 October 2018: News Release: bypassing Coffs Harbour – next steps

14 October 2018: Blog: Should an alternative route for the Coffs Harbour Bypass undergo re-examination?


Radio Triple M


IMG_939925 September 2018, NBN-TV News reporter, Dennis Driver, interviews Sue Strodl from Jensen Close; watched on by neighbours concerned about the ‘bypass’.

7 Debunking the nonsense from the governments

The height of the roadway

This map shows the location of major cuttings and land bridges. The cuttings are 50m to 75m deep. The colours give you an indication of the height of the road compared to the residential areas and show how elevated it is without tunnels but with cuttings.

This is not a tunnel (as claimed by the governments)

Melinda Pavey said at Monday’s news conference that we’re getting two tunnels. This is not true.

No tunnels because of dangerous goods vehicles

The governments say we can’t have tunnels because of dangerous goods trucks. This is for a 483m tunnel up near Byron. Double these numbers for Coffs. We’re talking just over one truck an hour. And this is their justification for ruining the lives of thousands?

We can’t have tunnels because the rock is too hard

The governments say the Coffs bypass can’t have tunnels because the rock is too hard (yes, really). Well, they were able to build tunnels on the nearby Dorrigo branch railway line nearly 100 years ago ago. Why not now? in the country that gave birth gave birth to BHP and a huge mining industry can build tunnels through rock.

Updated: 15 October 2018