Change in Road Plan Angers Tumut People

11 September 1975 The Canberra Times

The announcement by the Minister for Transport, Mr Jones, on Tuesday night that plans for an alternative route for the Hume Highway had been scrapped has angered residents of Tumut.

The proposal for a new highway between Goulburn and Albury was made by the Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam, in April last year. The new route would have been considerably south of the present Hume Highway, missing Yass, Jugiong, Gundagai and Tarcutta and touching instead Wee Jas- per, Tumut and Batlow.

"Tumut people are fed up with the pussyfooting and hoo-haaing of , Mr Jones's Transport Department", the president of the Tumut Chamber of Commerce, Mr Grayham Thomson, said yesterday.

"Mr Jones's excuse of damage to the caves at Wee Jasper is typical of his political thinking, this road was proposed as an at- tempted bribe to, the people within the area it was to run through, and through it the Government hoped to avoid payment to the State Governments for the up   keep of highways".

He expected that after the next Federal elections, when a Liberal-National Country Party Government had been returned to power, the present Opposition's original plan for a road from Canberra to Tumut would be readopted.

The Gunning Shire, clerk, Mr Albert Stringer, said his council had no objections, in fact would , welcome any by-pass of the town as suggested by Mr Jones in new plans for updating the Hume Highway, as long as Gunning had adequate access to it.

Money 'better spent'

Such a bypass would help the town to cut out the semi-trailers but he felt the genuine tourists would always visit the small towns along the highway where the access was satisfactory.

The Mayor of Yass, Alderman Terry Clayton, said Yass Municipal Council had realised when the national highway had first been promoted by Mr Whit- lam that the terrain would make the venture prohibitively expensive. The council had argued with the Commonwealth Bureau of Roads that the money would be far better spent on upgrading the existing highway.

Mr Clayton said the NSW Department of Main Roads was investigating a   by-pass of Yass but had given an undertaking that it would be as close as possible to Yass and that plans would be made only after consultation with Yass authorities.

If the Federal Government was planning to by- pass Yass he hoped it would be with the same close consultation as the State Government was observing.