One of the Holy Grails of unfinished road projects in the Central West is the crossing at Dixons Long Point between Orange and Mudgee. It is a project that local community members have been pushing for years. Dixons Long Point is located on the Macquarie River. The road between Dixons Long Point between Orange and Mudgee is important, because, as the crow flies, it is the most direct way to get between these two key regional centres. At present, it takes about two hours and 20 minutes to drive between the two. An improved road and crossing at Dixons Long Point would drastically reduce the travel time between Orange and Mudgee. It would not only link Orange and Mudgee but also help open up the Central West for tourism and industry.
Mudgee and Orange have much in common. For example, both regions are world-renowned wine-producing centres and both are mining centres. The problem is that there is currently no crossing at the Macquarie River at all. Most of the road is dirt, and the only way to cross the Macquarie River is literally to drive through it. Local farmers have had to pull vehicles out of the river for years. In fact, Sir Charles Cutler, the former member for Orange and Deputy Premier of New South Wales, was one of the earlier advocates of this project, and he took office in 1947. Our local communities have been advocating for this road and crossing for about a century. One hundred years is too long. State, federal and local governments should all be supporting this key project that will link regions, and I urge them to do so. Let's together try to build this road and crossing that will benefit the communities of the Central West in the decades to come. (Time expired)