Wide Bay MP accuses State Govt of dragging its feet on hwy
HUNDREDS of millions of dollars are in the pipeline to improve the region's deadliest road - but the State Government needs to take action to make the projects a reality.
That is the view of Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien, who says he is frustrated with the State Government's inaction when it comes to getting projects that will save lives under way.
Mr O'Brien has been named the chair of the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety - a fitting role for the former police officer who has fought for road improvements since he was elected to the Federal seat.
"We've got $800 million on the table for the final stage of the four lane Cooroy to Curra upgrade that will extend the divided highway to north of Gympie," he said.
"I have also announced $11.2 million to fix the intersection of the Bruce and Wide Bay Highways at Bells Bridge, and $13.3 million for new overtaking lanes at Tinana.
"There's also $85.6 million from the Liberal and Nationals Government to improve flood immunity along the highway at Tiaro, and $82.4 million to upgrade the highway north of Maryborough around Saltwater Creek.
"These are projects that have been committed to, the funding is available, we need the Palaszczuk-Trad Labor Government to lift its game and get on with them."
Mr O'Brien said there could be "awful consequences" as a result of delays in delivering the projects.
"The longer Queensland Labor takes with the delivery of the projects already committed to, the longer it will be for new projects to be added to the work program," he said
But Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey accused Mr O'Brien of having a short memory.
"Two weeks ago, the Palaszczuk Labor Government and the Australian Government jointly announced that design is under way for the $103 million Bruce Highway upgrade at Saltwater Creek where he expressed his joy," he said.
"In fact, it's the Palaszczuk Labor Government that has committed a $200 million annual contribution to the $1 billion Bruce Highway Trust program however, it's Mr O'Brien's own LNP Federal Government that is yet to sign up to this increase in funding for Bruce Highway upgrades.
"And if Mr O'Brien read his Federal budget papers or the State budget papers, he would know Federal funds don't flow for the jointly-funded Tiaro upgrade until 2021 when construction will follow the completion of design and community consultation.
"Llew can do better than going after a cheap headline when he knows hundreds of millions of dollars are going into road upgrades in his electorate."