For 160 years, people have been trying to get a road across the Macquarie River at Dixons Long Point in the Central West of New South Wales. An upgraded crossing would deliver a wide range of benefits to Calare and New South Wales, not only opening up the entire Central West to tourism opportunities but also better connecting the communities of Mudgee, Orange and Bathurst. It's expected that sealing the road and constructing a bridge over the Macquarie River could save up to 45 minutes on the trip between Orange and Mudgee. The preferred option—a bridge over the Macquarie River at Dixons Long Point—along with the paving of about 40 kilometres of road would cost about $19.3 million.
Back in 2016, the federal and New South Wales governments both committed funding for a feasibility study. We now have those reports back, and they're looking very positive. There's an impressive benefit-cost ratio of nearly 2.5, and we also have local, state and federal government representatives all supporting the project. An application for funding under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative has now been submitted. This is our golden opportunity to fund and build a crossing at Dixons Long Point. The naysayers claim that it will never happen. Well, they said that about the Murray Darling Medical School as well, and our community proved them wrong on that one. The time for this project has come, so let's get it done.