No promises made on Burrum Bridge
Letter sent to the Bundaberg NewsMail and Fraser Coast Chronicle on 11 January 2016:
I am writing in reply to Mary Daniels’ letter about the proposed bridge over the Burrum River (FCC 11/1/16).
Ms Daniels is right about a few things. Firstly, I did mention the Burrum Bridge proposal in my maiden speech in November 2013. Secondly, the bridge would connect two state-owned roads.
However, these two points alone weaken her other arguments.
I am a member of the Federal Government. The Federal Government has no direct control over state-owned roads. It can, however, fund these types of projects upon application by local and state governments.
Given that no such applications have been submitted and projects like the Burrum Bridge typically take years to plan and cost many millions of dollars, I have not promised any federal funding either before or since my election in September 2013.
That’s why, nowhere in her letter, is Ms Daniels able to say exactly what I am allegeded to have promised in relation to the Burrum Bridge.
The exact words I used in my maiden speech, some three months after my election, were limited to one sentence only: “A bridge over the Burrum River would link the Hinkler electorate’s tourism centres and provide an alternate route for critical transport, to take pressure off the Bruce Highway”.
My view hasn’t changed. The project still has my support in principle, but I would like to see the results of a comprehensive feasibility study before committing any federal funds.
The bridge has been talked about for decades. Some in the community want it; others don’t. Most would rather see the precious taxpayers’ dollars invested elsewhere.
If Ms Daniels feels so strongly about the Burrum Bridge, I suggest she write to local MPs Bruce Saunders and Leanne Donaldson to ask the current State Labor Government to prepare a proposal for joining these two state-owned roads.
Let’s not forget, Ms Daniels’ beloved Labor Party had 14 years in State Government and six years in Federal Government to start work on the Burrum Bridge project and did nothing.
Keith Pitt MP
Federal Member for Hinkler