It's being dubbed a "snatch and grab job", a "reverse Robin Hood" and "government spin doctoring at its very worst".
Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee has joined a chorus of critics slamming the Labor government for its cutting of billions of dollars worth of infrastructure funding for major projects across the Central West.
She said "that project is a project for cancellation" while debating the merit of a 80-20 funding split shared between the federal and state governments.
She said there was never a commitment made to fund or build a tunnel through the mountains, which is estimated to be worth around $11b. Ms King said in the future if there's to be an upgrade to the highway then it has to be "the whole corridor".
"What we've said is that there are really significant safety issues along that corridor. We want to work with the NSW Government to try and resolve those," she said last week.
It's a reverse Robin Hood; stealing from the country to give to the city.- Andrew Gee
None of that washes with Mr Gee, however. The former Nationals MP who will round 12 months as an Independent on the floor in Canberra by the time Christmas eve rolls around says canning the proposed upgrades between Katoomba and Lithgow, not a tunnel bypassing Blackheath, meant those in the Central West were effectively being "robbed".
"Our region has become a piggy bank for the Federal Labor Government to smash open and help themselves to whenever they cry poor. The Great Western Highway funding scandal stands as one of the biggest government snatch and grab jobs in our history," Mr Gee said.
"It's a reverse Robin Hood; stealing from the country to give to the city."
He said the funding cuts were made worse by the government "spruiking new roads funding" just days after the cuts for western NSW via the Roads to Recovery program.
Which, Mr Gee points out, has been a long running program aimed to deliver improved road networks for regional NSW.
"They're trying to cover up what they've done to us with spin," he added, while most of the funding for the Roads to Recovery program won't land in full until mid-2027.
"This federal government must take us for fools, pocketing billions from Central West communities.
"In their roads funding announcement, the Federal Government had the nerve to boast that they're 'strengthening their commitment to road safety', just days after binning the desperately needed Great Western Highway upgrade, and also refusing to build the Dixons Long Point project. There was money in the bank for both projects.
"This is government spin doctoring at its very worst."