Constituency Statement – Roads and Infrastructure
Mr PITT (Hinkler) (09:45): Well-maintained roads are incredibly important in any community but particularly in regional areas where distances are vast and infrastructure is prone to flooding. They are part of our social fabric. It is the most common method of emergency retrieval. It is how we travel to school, sport and work. Our road network is essential to our economy, enabling farmers and commercial fishermen to get their products to market. That is why I am pleased to see proactive members of my community like Geoff Redpath petitioning the Queensland parliament to upgrade the intersection of Urraween Road and Maryborough Hervey Bay Road.
The intersection is considered by many to be the most dangerous in Hervey Bay. It is used to access four local schools and St Stephen’s Hospital. It is the main heavy vehicle traffic corridor to and from the Dundowran industrial estate and is also heavily used by daily commuters travelling north and south on Maryborough Hervey Bay Road. I am advised that the current traffic count analysis of this intersection shows the practical absorption capacity is exceeded by approximately 25 per cent. At peak times traffic congests in all directions to form long queues. All 4,667 petitioners are requesting state government funding to upgrade the intersection of Urraween Road and Maryborough Hervey Bay Road to an acceptable safety standard. I look forward to seeing the state Labor government’s response. The Urraween Road intersection was, after all, committed for upgrade by the previous state LNP government.
While I am on the topic of roads I am pleased to say I have delivered on each of the election commitments I made relating to road infrastructure before the last election. The upgrade of Old Toogoom Road is now complete with the coalition providing $1 million for the project. I recently inspected progress on the upgrade of River Heads Road, for which I committed $3.75 million in federal funding. The $6.7 billion we are providing to upgrade the Bruce Highway over 10 years includes $7.1 million to improve drainage on a 2.2-kilometre stretch south of Torbanlea, $8 million for three intersections near Childers and $6 million for the overtaking lane north of Howard. The coalition has increased Roads to Recovery funding to Bundaberg Regional Council by about $4.45 million to $12.9 million between 2014-15 and 2018-19. The Bundaberg Regional Council will also receive $563,000 in 2015-16 to upgrade road black spots like the Mittelheusers Road intersection upgrades at Burnett Heads. Fraser Coast Regional Council’s allocation for Roads to Recovery has increased by $5.24 million to $15.2 million between 2014-15 and 2018-19.
I would also like to place on record that I have not promised any Commonwealth funding for prefeasibility studies on the proposed Burrum River bridge either before or since my election. It was a commitment given by my predecessor, Mr Paul Neville, at the 2010 federal election. However, the coalition did not win government in 2010. While I support the project in principle, I believe projects like the Urraween Road intersection are high priority amongst locals.