RETURNED FIRE: Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey has said the federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien needed to get his facts right in regards to state government funding of regional highways.
RETURNED FIRE: Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey has said the federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien needed to get his facts right in regards to state government funding of regional highways. Kevin Farmer

Govt call out Wide Bay MP to get his facts right

UPDATE:

 

THE Queensland Government has reinforced its claim it is investing in road upgrades by going on the offensive against Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien.

Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said Mr O'Brien was incorrect.

"The Member for Wide Bay needs to get his facts right. The Palaszczuk Government has put our 20% on the table for the Bruce Highway and Wide Bay Highway intersection," he said.

"We committed $2.8million in the budget as part of the $14-million project to improve safety and efficiency at the intersection.

"This project is part of the Government's record spend on road and transport infrastructure across the state for the second year in a row, with an investment of around $21billion over the next four years."

Mr Bailey said the funding is part of the $8.5-billion 10-year Bruce Highway Upgrade Program funded by the Federal and State governments to improve safety and reduce serious injuries along the whole stretch of the highway from Cairns to Brisbane.

He said the Bruce Highway Upgrade Cooroy to Curra is one of Queensland's highest priority road projects.

"The $50 million detailed design phase is currently underway for Section D: Woondum to Curra.

"The 26km project will incorporate a new four-lane highway to the east of Gympie, and interchanges at Woondum, Penny Road, Gympie Connection Road and Curra."

Mr Bailey said the timing for construction will be subject to competing priorities and available state funds.

"That competition has become more challenging as a consequence of more than $600 million having been cut from transport funding during the term of the previous LNP government, which also spent more than $30 million of the Department of Transport and Main Roads' budget preparing for asset sales and contestability."

Overview of highway upgrades:  

Works between Gympie - Maryborough.

Recently completed works include:

  • The upgrade of four sites between Glenwood and south of Tiaro, including wide centreline treatment. These were completed in December 2016 and had a budget of $9 million.
  • The upgrade of a section of highway between Curra Creek and Curra Creek Overflow, including  shoulder widening works and upgrading of guardrail and embankments. Works were completed in March 2016 and had a budget of $800,000.  

Roadworks currently underway include:

  • The relocation and extension of an existing northbound overtaking lane south of Bauple - to be completed by mid-2017. These works have a budget of $4.2 million.
  • A new interchange at Tinana to improve road safety and efficiency is expected to open to traffic in August, weather permitting. These works have a budget of $38 million.
  • The upgrade of about 6km of highway about 600m north of the Wilsons Road intersection and continuing north recently commenced. Works include wide centreline treatments, overtaking lane improvements and intersection upgrades. These works have a budget of $18.36 million.  

Future roadworks include:

  • The Queensland Government committed $2.8 million in Tuesday's budget to upgrade the Bruce Highway and Wide Bay Highway intersection. The $14 million project will improve safety and efficiency at the intersection. Transport and Main Roads is currently in the process of finalising delivery timeframes.

 

Llew O'Brien Federal Member for Wide Bay at the Gunalda service station near Gympie where there was a recent fatality.
FIGHTING FOR FUNDING: Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien at the Gunalda service station north of Gympie. Renee Albrecht

 

EARLIER:

FEDERAL member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien has called for desperately needed funding for Bruce Hwy upgrades between Gympie and Maryborough.

In a speech to Parliament on Tuesday, Mr O'Brien said the reality was safer roads save lives.

"We only need to look at the difference that the half-finished Cooroy to Curra upgrade has made," he said.

The divided four-lane highway protects motorists from head-on collisions.

 

 

Once the deadliest section of highway, the half-finished upgrade has so far delivered a fatality-free section of new road.

"But the job is only half done," Mr O'Brien said.

"With the RACQ and the Australian Automobile Association, I am continuing to fight for more construction funding to finish section D, which is the largest section of the project.

"Our push for decentralisation needs to be matched with infrastructure that accommodates growth.

"We cannot leave projects half done. The section D project brings Maryborough, Bundaberg and Gladstone closer to Brisbane.

"At the same time, we need to invest in projects to increase safety and build capacity between Gympie and Maryborough."

Mr O'Brien will meet with Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester to discuss funding for the highway upgrade.

"Next Wednesday I am leading a delegation of Wide Bay mayors to meet with Minister Chester.

"We are making a strong case for Section D.

"The government must listen to us."

Throughout his election campaign, he pressed for upgrades to major roads.

He told The Gympie Times he was working to finding funding for the horror stretch of road.

"In that time, work has commenced on new projects including a $4.2 million upgrade between Glenwood and Bauple and $18.36million to improve safety north of Tiaro.

"In the recent Federal Coalition Budget I also secured $11.2 million to fix the intersection of the Wide Bay and Bruce Hwys intersection at Bells Bridge, which the State Labor Government has failed to commit to.

"I have raised the need for construction funding for the Cooroy to Curra Section D project in the media, in the Parliament, in meetings with the AAA and RACQ, and in private meetings with the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.

"Sections A and B have been completed and Section C is well advanced, so the project is only half finished.

" But Section D is the biggest project and we can't leave the job half done, it must be finished.

"In th 2017 Budget the Coalition Government provided an extra $7.8million towards the Section D detailed design study, which is due to be completed early next year, but there is no funding allocated for construction.

"Funding for infrastructure projects is competitive, so I am making the strongest possible case for Section D to be brought forward."