Fight for four-lane Tiaro bypass far from over
THE Federal Government will consider funding a four-lane Tiaro bypass, according to a spokeswoman from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
"The Australian Government will consider final investment decisions pending the finalisation by the Queensland Government," she wrote in a response to the Chronicle asking if further funding would be considered if a plan for a four-lane bypass was submitted by an ALP or LNP Government, pending the results of the Queensland election.
"The Liberal and Nationals Government is delivering the infrastructure Queenslanders want, need and deserve," she said.
With the State Election approaching, Opposition leader Deb Frecklington committed to a four-lane Bruce Highway upgrade from Gympie to Cairns over the next 15 years, including the Tiaro bypass.
It comes after a two-lane bypass of Tiaro was announced by the State Government and Federal Government earlier this year.
But Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said he would not support a two-lane bypass, saying a four-lane divided highway was the only safe option going forward.
He welcomed the news that final investment decisions would still be considered by the Federal Government, depending on plans submitted by the State Government.
"The Federal Government has made it clear that if the Queensland Government recommends a four lane Tiaro bypass, the Federal Government will consider it," Mr O'Brien said.
"Without that recommendation the Federal Government is unable to act.
"Mark Bailey needs to direct his Queensland Main Roads Department to draw up the designs for a four lane bypass of Tiaro, so the Federal Government has something tangible to consider funding.
"When I started my fight to get funding for the four lane Cooroy to Curra Section D project Queensland Transport had already acquired the land for the corridor and completed the initial design work for four lanes around Gympie.
"I remember being told "no" many times when fighting for the Section D upgrade, but I had the local community and media on side and we campaigned hard and convinced the Government it needed to happen.
"We now know that, if elected, an LNP State Government will provide a four lane plan for the Tiaro Bypass, and then I can do what I did with Section D of the Cooroy to Curra Bruce Highway upgrade and convince the Federal Government it needs to be funded."
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders has previously said if funding was secured from the Federal Government, he would back a four-lane bypass of Tiaro.
LNP candidate for Maryborough Denis Chapman has also backed his party's commitment to a four-lane Bruce Highway.
The State Government has been contacted for comment.