The election war of words over funding for the Pacific Highway intensified on Thursday, with NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay accusing Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of dishonesty over his release of correspondence between the two.
Mr Albanese disclosed a letter to him from Mr Gay this week in which the NSW Nationals MP said the federal government had provided "nearly $740 million more than requested" for funding for the highway in 2013-14.
But Mr Gay rounded on the Federal Transport Minister on Thursday, saying the $740 million was money Labor had simply moved from one year to another to manipulate its budget.
"By paying money earlier it delivers a deeper deficit now so that they can make it look like a surplus in 2019," Mr Gay said.
Because of Mr Albanese's money shuffling, Mr Gay said NSW had made money, because it was collecting interest on the $740 million instead of the federal government.
The two parties are at odds over who should pay for the remaining sections of the 669 kilometres of highway from Newcastle to the Queensland border that have not been turned into four-lane divided highway to be duplicated.
The most recent progress update on the highway says that about 180 kilometres will not be upgraded by 2016 – the previous target for the whole project to be finished.
Mr Albanese wants the federal and state governments to contribute 50 per cent each to the project, while the Coalition – at both national and state levels – say the federal government should pay 80 per cent.
Separately, federal Nationals Leader Warren Truss released the Coalition's road safety policy on Thursday, promising $10 million for driver training.
The money would extend an existing "keys2drive" driver education program, which provides a free lesson to learner drivers.