Opening of the new Bruce highway federal member for Wide Bay  Llew O'Brien .
Opening of the new Bruce highway federal member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien . Renee Albrecht

How Gympie must plan to ease bypass impact

GYMPIE'S bypass might be three years from completion, but one top Australian transport expert has said work to secure the city's future must start now.

Dr Bruno Parolin has made a career out of studying the effects of bypasses around Australia and believes Gympie's future is bright once it weathers the "shockwave" that will run through the city.

"What happens with the bypass is you'll see see a substitute effect," Dr Parolin said.

"More of the local people tend to come back to town.

"The dollars that are lost are eventually clawed back."

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The changes will manifest in three distinct ways, Dr Parolin said: a loss of "stopping traffic" on the highway; a "significant" improvement in the environmental amenity of the highway; and an impact on jobs, salary and wages.

All of these would be mitigated by Gympie Regional Council and the city's business leaders having an effective strategy in place.

That plan was about more than just bringing people in with tourism, though.

Dr Parolin said it was important for industries and businesses to be attracted as well.

"Identify what types of industry (you want) and how to attract them," he said.

Dr Parolin pointed to Kempsey's success in the wake of its bypass opening as an example of what Gympie could achieve.

He said Gympie was unique in that the highway was not its main street and that future beautification work should extend beyond Mary St and include what will become the Old Bruce Highway.

Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Shelley Strachan and Llew O'Brien celebrate $800 million funding for Section D.
Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Shelley Strachan and Llew O'Brien celebrate $800 million funding for Section D. Scott Kovacevic

The $1 billion for the final leg was announced by the Federal Government in April on the back of a joint campaign by The Gympie Times and Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien to secure the funding.

A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure said work is expected to begin next year and to last three years.

"The Australian Government is working closely with the Queensland Government to prioritise the delivery of the Section D project," he said.

"This includes assessment of the business case by Infrastructure Australia as soon as possible.

"The Queensland Government has initiated its business case submission process."

Tenders have not been called for the work yet.